Today we get to look at one of our all-time favorite villains, the Joker! And not just take a look at him we are going to probe and ponder some of the reasons one could consider him better than the Bats. Who do you like better Batman or Joker?
Before we get started, let’s also acknowledge how awesome the Joker’s look is. His suit is almost as iconic as Batman’s suit, maybe even more iconic. We could do a top 10 list just on the different suits he wears. And even if you disagree and think Batman is better than this villain, hopefully, our list will get you a little closer to at least see them as equals.
Some argue that Harley would not even be as awesome as she is today if not for Joker. Because I think since she left the Joker she has been even more awesome and I super ship her with Poison Ivy but I will say if it weren’t for the Joker, Harley would not exist in terms of the comics.
She was introduced in the Batman animated series before she even made her way into the comics as Joker’s sort of obsessed girlfriend and she was so popular that she became part of the comics and got to have her own story told. We wouldn’t have Harley without the Joker cause her character was kind of based around him.
Batman doesn’t really have a character like that a female sidekick that is quite so iconic. Sure there is Batgirl and Catwoman but really can either of them beat the awesomeness that is Harley Quinn? Who do you think would in a fight? Or even in a popularity contest?
While Batman is often distracted from his main objective of keeping Gotham safe, Joker is never distracted. Joker is an insane criminal mastermind who is always able to keep his eye on the prize. While it may seem like some of his plots distract him, they always seem to come back to the Batman, even when you think Joker may have forgotten about him.
Joker can never forget the Bat. Even if he wanted to. Which he doesn’t. He puts his goal of destroying Batman above everything else in his life. Ergo when it comes to the commitment he is leagues ahead of Batman who is constantly distracted by women, his Bat-family and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne.
You may think the Dark Knight who slinks in the shadow is one of the most mysterious figures of comic book history, but you’d be wrong. No one in the comics is more shrouded in mystery than the Joker. We don’t even know where the Joker is from. We don’t know who he is or why he does what he does.
He has had more different backstories explored than any other character I can think of in comics. And what’s more all of them seem valid and enjoyable. And DC will not tell us which one is the real one. They just keep changing his story. At this point, I wonder if Joker even knows his own backstory. Probably not. This mystery keeps us coming back. We want to know more. The Joker is even more enigma than Edward Nigma, the Riddler himself.
White Knight Series
This series sees us explore a slightly different version of the Batman vs Joker storyline. Although this series is not considered to be canon within the main continuity of DC, the characters of the Joker and Batman from within the series are quite similar to their main continuity counterparts. In this story, the Joker is named Jack Napier, a reference to Jack Nicholson’s Joker who also was revealed to have the same name.
How many different true identities has the Joker had in the comics throughout the years? In this story, Joker is able to regain his sanity after being badly beaten by Batman and sees that Batman is obsessive and needs to be stopped. Not far off from the main continuity Joker who believes that Batman is blinded by his beliefs as to the reality and they are both similar.
We see Jack Napier go up against the new Neo Joker while trying to catch and convict Batman. He also confesses his true love for Harley Quinn and the two get married while he is sane. Seeing this parallel version of himself do so much good, gives me hope that Joker really could have it within him to be an even better superhero than Batman.
Better Sense of Humour
Where Batman is always scowling and brooding, Joker is always laughing and jovial. He truly enjoys his twisted criminal work and even when he loses cannot help but crack jokes and laugh. This makes him an entertaining and compelling villain.
After all the whining and moaning and groaning of Batman, who often seems to trade in proper therapy for just being a vigilante, taking out his problems on Gotham’s criminals, it is nice to get to wind up running into Joker at the end of the story. When the two cross paths you can tell that Joker also just enjoys running into Batman, as though he were a lost friend or old lover. Granted Joker is usually most excited to torment him but still.
Dark Knight & Heath Ledger
In the 2008 film Dark Knight, we see Batman struggle to rise up as vigilante in a world riddled by criminal injustice and filled with crime. But is it really? The Joker is presented as the antagonist. But is HE really? It seems like he is more successful of ridding Gotham of crime than even Batman himself. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some pieces of evidence.
In the film, we see Joker, rob a bank but this ain’t any old bank it’s a criminal bank. That’s right, Joker is robbing the mob. The same mob that Batman has been struggling to defeat. During this scene he also manages to eliminate a ton of other criminals by pitting them against one another, riding Gotham of yet more causes of crime. Sure, these criminals die, you might be thinking.
So doesn’t that make the Joker bad. And of course, while I agree with you, killing is never a good idea. In this film, we also see that those in power, especially in the justice system are corrupt. Save for a few people, namely Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent. So yeah, is he that bad? Or is he just ultimately committing good deeds in a more anarchistic and violent way?
There’s also the fact of the actors portraying the roles in the film and I think we can all agree as awesome as Christian Bale is as Batman, he cannot beat Heath Ledger’s Joker in terms of which is performance is better and more interesting.
The Joker is unafraid. At least when it comes to dying. The only fears he is forced to deal with is losing Batman. But he doesn’t seem to have any past or any people in his life that he holds onto. This gives him fewer weaknesses when compared to Batman as someone who is emotionally attached to quite a few people.
Joker obviously often finds this out and preys upon Batman’s weaknesses and attachments. The Joker’s insanity and relationship with chaos and also act as armor for him. He’s not afraid of violence, he’s not afraid of death, he’s not even afraid of losing. Therefore it’s also almost impossible to intimidate him.
In the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film, Bruce Wayne try to out-crazy the Joker, smashing a vase with poker and asking, “You wanna get nuts!?” Nicholson’s Joker doesn’t even flinch. He simply cocks a gun at Wayne and responds with “You ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight?” Which of course just leaves Bruce looking baffled, replying with “Wha?” He can’t intimidate him because he can’t out-crazy him.
If Joker was an RPG character, his alignment would most likely be chaotic evil. Does that make him better than Batman? Sort of. I would argue that the Joker is actually more in tune with the chaotic nature of the universe. Sure, he sees it in a more pessimistic and villainous light, but to get dark here for a minute, he is kind of right.
The world is a dark and dangerous place. And this outlook on life, allows him to know what’s important and what’s not. Spoiler alert to the Joker, not much is important. But ultimately that is what life is about, a series of events that don’t really matter. His beliefs surrounding his outlook on the world, making him a stronger character in my mind because ultimately he is right. A lot of people wrestle with existential beliefs and nihilism for a reason.
While some may argue that Joker’s plans are too impulsive to be considered well thought through or even to be considered at times logical, the Joker has also demonstrated a pretty good aptitude for human psychology across all forms of media. Not to mention he has also demonstrated a working knowledge of chemistry, robotics, programming and escape artistry when it comes to his plots. But it is really his knowledge of the human brain that makes him so terrifying.
He always seems to know how to push Batman’s buttons. And oftentimes his cockamimi schemes could actually be interpreted as misdirection. Some have even suggested that the Joker plays up his insanity just throw people off. Even when his plan involved patenting mutated Joker-Fish, he still managed to trap Batman, without even seemingly meaning to.
He got his in the end. But still, this crazy scheme got him farther than I would have thought. Points for creativity as well as ingenuity to the Joker.
Either Way He Wins
Joker is a unique character. His motives seem are a nihilist. He’s skeptical of the world with good reason and is so removed from it within his madness. He isn’t attached either. His world mostly revolves around Batman. And even that isn’t the be-all-end-all for him in the same way that other villains view their opponents.
Most supervillains look at their rivals and think, I’d like to end them. I want to stop them. They deserve to be knocked down. Joker doesn’t even want just that. He sees himself and the Batman as equals and although he does try to kill him pretty often, he almost as often tries to drive him mad.
What he really wants to prove is that they are equals, two sides of the same coin. Although Batman never kills as a matter of morals, which he believes holds him above the Joker. Does it?
By never killing he can also never rid himself of the Joker. But that is a lose-lose because even if he kills the Joker, the Joker proves his point and still wins. Just look at what even the thought of dead Joker did to Batman in the DC series Batman: Damned.