Batman Vs Joker: Story Explained

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Batman Vs Joker: Story Explained

VOICE OVER: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
There's no greater enemies in all of Comic Books! For this video we're taking a look back at the dynamic history between Batman and The Joker.

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Transcript
Batman VS Joker: Complete Story Explained

One stands for justice; the other tried to copyright fish. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we will explore the bloody history between Batman and the Joker.

Batman and Joker are both unique in that neither character traditionally possesses supernatural abilities. Fueled by the senseless murder of his parents during his childhood, Bruce Wayne uses genius level intellect, deduction skills, and martial arts to protect Gotham’s honest citizens from the city’s seedy underbelly.

Trading logic for madness, Joker is Batman's intellectual equal and also has an unbreakable will.

This intense rivalry can be traced back to the 1940s, with the Joker debuting directly after Bruce Wayne's origin story was established. Announcing his targets ahead of time before successfully executing four murders, the Joker burst onto the scene as a vicious serial killer and the first criminal capable of challenging the Dark Knight, although that did not stop Batman from putting the villain behind bars.

Of course, later in that same issue, the Joker made his first of many escapes from captivity, leading to another confrontation with Batman. Unfortunately for the Clown Prince, he ended up stabbing himself with a dagger in the scuffle. However, this death was, in fact, a fakeout, and the Joker would return soon after.

1951's "The Man Behind the Red Hood!" presented the first of many origin stories for the Joker, and Batman played a part in creating the crazy criminal. Once upon a time, a thief called Red Hood planned to steal a million dollars from his employer, Ace Chemicals. In an attempt to avoid Batman and Robin, Red Hood jumped into a vat of chemicals and ended up transforming into the Joker.

In the 50s and 60s, Batman and Joker’s encounters gradually grew less frequent while assuming a more comedic tone, with their story-lines revolving around anti-gravity guns, and boners.

But everything changed in 1973’s Batman #251, thanks to the iconic Batman creative team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. In this story, the Joker broke out of the yet-to-be-officially-named Arkham Asylum to butcher the gang members who ratted him out. From this point on, the relationship between Batman and the Joker would be forever defined by violence, death, and duality.

15 years of grueling battles culminated in Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke,” arguably the definitive Batman and Joker story, despite the fact that it occurs outside of continuity. The 1988 graphic novel revises the Joker’s origin to mirror that of Bruce Wayne’s, with both losing everything in a single day.

The Joker was a married engineer turned failed stand-up comedian who agreed to help a group of criminals in order to support his pregnant wife. In a single day; the Joker’s wife dies, he is forced to take part in a crime that quickly turns fatal, and ends up taking a swim in toxic waste to escape a seemingly insane man in a bat suit. While the chemicals disfigure the Joker’s appearance, these chain of events breaks his sanity.

An argument can be made that Bruce Wayne is just as broken as the Joker, but one embraced the madness while the other chose to fight it. After paralyzing Barbara and torturing Commissioner Gordon, Joker finally pushes Batman to the brink of no return, with the vigilante seemingly snapping his rival’s neck off-panel. “The Killing Joke” takes Joker and Batman’s story to its natural conclusion.

Towards the end of the same year and as part of DC's official timeline, Joker brutally kills Robin before getting off mostly unpunished, as a mentally exhausted Batman remarks that their battles always end unresolved.

Batman and Joker’s first encounter was once-again revised in a 2005 one-shot that combined 1940’s “Batman #1” with the Red Hood backstory. Although many things are similar, this time, Bruce Wayne ingests some of the Joker’s Venom and goes on a hallucinatory trip that provides some insight into the villain’s motives; mainly, the Joker hates Gotham for not preventing the toxic chemicals from creating him.

In 2011, DC rebooted the entire universe with “The New 52,” which led to an interesting amendment to this tragic story. This time, Joker – under the pseudonym of the Red Hooded One – nearly kills a pre-Batman Bruce Wayne, an act that helps the billionaire find the resolve to become the Caped Crusader.

1994’s “Going Sane” had Joker deciding to go straight after seemingly killing the Dark Knight, while “The New 52” saw both characters leading normal lives after losing their memories. Once Bruce Wayne learns the truth, Joker’s memories suddenly come flooding back to ensure Batman is never without his archenemy.

1986’s “The Dark Knight Returns” echoes a similar sentiment, with an elderly Joker snapping out of a catatonic state after learning about Batman’s comeback.

Considering the rivalry’s popularity across mediums, Batman and Joker’s story will likely never truly conclude and that is presumably fine for most DC fans. This battle only ends when one kills the other, an act that may as well be suicide for the survivor.
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