Top 10 Joker Kills

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Top 10 Joker Kills

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: David Foster
The Clown Prince of Crime has never shied away from violence. For this list, we'll be looking at all those killer moments from the Joker's history across all mediums–specifically moments when he is–well, a killer. Our countdown includes "The Dark Knight", "Batman", "Joker", and more!
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Top 10 Joker Kills


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Joker Kills.

For this list, we’ll be looking at all those killer moments from the Joker’s history across all mediums–specifically moments when he is–well, a killer. Though murder is never right, there are times when the Clown Prince of Crime’s seemingly random acts of violence means much more than they initially appear, or has lasting effects, like one bad day or a good joke…

Are our picks a mere Joker kill or a killing joke? Sound off in the comments, below.

#10: "Why So Serious"

"The Dark Knight" (2008)

Never let Heath Ledger’s Joker tell you how he got his scars… on the three occasions the Clown Prince of Crime invites an enemy to listen to his ever-changing story, it does not go well for them. With Rachel Dawes, the effect was delayed but ultimately he caught up with her in a twisted game of switcheroo. This entry’s focus is on his first trip down false memory lane, with Michael Jai White’s mob boss Gambol. Recounting how his father was a drinker and a fiend, Joker re-enacts the story by sticking a bladed weapon to Gambol before finishing with his now iconic line. The moment quickly establishes Ledger’s usually manic Joker as cold and calm–and ultimately–frightening.

#9: The First - Henry Claridge

“Batman” #1 (1940)

We’re sure Joker will never forget his first. Victim, that is. Henry Claridge was probably far from being the Joker’s first canonical kill, but he has earned his place in DC Comics’ history by becoming the first to fall to Mr. J on the page. Whilst Claridge Sr. appears on all but a few pages of “Batman” #1, as the owner of a diamond that the Joker announces his intention to steal, the image of Henry’s rictus grin would also be the first look at the Joker’s modus operandi–his deadly Joker venom.

#8: Sal’s Nice Big Smile

“Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” (1993)

For much of 1993’s criminally under-rated but cult-classic “Batman: Mask of The Phantasm,” the Clown Prince of Crime isn’t even mentioned. In fact, viewers would be forgiven for not even realising he is in the film, as much of the plot revolves around old-school villains being whacked by a new, more theatrical, vigilante. But when Joker shows up, he does so in a big way. Hanging out sans Harley Quinn at an abandoned theme park, with robots and roller coasters as his only company, he hosts aging gangster Salvator Valestra. Though a frightened Sal is there asking his old employee for help, Joker ensures he leaves with a smile. No heartbeat, but a smile nonetheless…

#7: A Glass of Water

"Batman: Under the Red Hood" (2010)

It took all of five seconds for 2010’s “Batman: Under The Red Hood” to firmly establish just how terrifyingly dangerous the Joker truly is. Surrounded, unarmed, in a padded room with mob boss Black Mask and five of his pistol-carrying henchmen, the odds are really not in Mr. J’s favour. And yet, all he needed to do was ask for a glass of water to wash down his chips. He smashes the glass, subduing and de-gunning the first henchman before shooting the rest. The most significant part of this moment is how unnecessary it was. After killing five of the eight people in the room, he sits back down–clearly staging the violence to show Roman Sionis who was really in charge.

#6: An Electric Handshake

"Batman" (1989)

When Batman’s first real big screen bout came to fruition, a darker and colder Gotham was presented. Gone were colourful costumes and the persistent puns… kinda. The campy and cliched prankster of Joker of old was no more. Jack Nicholson and Tim Burton made sure to replace him with a fierce villain that certainly looked like the Jerry Robinson OG design, but had the Denny O’Neal inspired sadistic streak. His tools remained mostly unchanged, but the effects were dialed all the way up. Joker Toxin, Acid Flower and a concealed Joker Joy-buzzer, which, unlike the 1966 incarnation’s–delivers more than a little shock. Poor Antoine found out that a handshake from Joker would fry you on the spot.

#5: Emperor Joker Repeatedly Kills Batman

“Superman: Emperor Joker” (2000)

The 2000 story arc of “Emperor Joker” was a little out-there when it came to a comic book narrative. The pendulum swung quite hard between the macabre and the mad–one moment showed Joker, who had been imbued with 99.9% of Mxyzptlk’s magic powers eating the entire country of China and its inhabitants. On the other hand, Joker subjected Batman to a multitude of deaths–an event so traumatic that the Caped Crusader needed his memory of them wiped. However, because Joker needs Batman, none of the deaths stick.

#4: Lois Lane (via Superman)

"Injustice: Gods Among Us" (2013)

Bizarrely, this event was a set up for a beat-em-up video game and yet the effects of this kill would have lasting implications across the whole DC Universe. 2013’s “Injustice: God’s Among Us” opening gambit was simple–Joker manipulated Superman into killing (a pregnant) Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis. This would justify why these popular Justice League members turn on each other (and you could have them fight.) However, its execution (pun intended) was so clever that it made for a brilliant story and very much in-keeping with its characters. Though Joker didn’t directly kill anyone here–the number of deaths through his actions are astronomical.

#3: The Pencil Trick

"The Dark Knight" (2008)

Up until the moment that The Joker announced his presence in a room full of mob bosses, audiences hadn’t really gotten to see the Clown Prince of Crime do a great deal of anything… well–Jokerish. He’d killed his fellow robbers, but that seemed to be more calculated than clownish. His face was justified as an attempt to scare people. What really showed that this Joker was unique was in how non-typical he was. Even as he strided into the meeting, he was faux-laughing. The pencil-disappearing trick was violent, and–strangely funny–but also performed without a hint of madness. Yet it managed to encapsulate just how scarily dangerous and unpredictable Heath Ledger’s Joker was. As well as how resourceful he was at turning his environment dangerous.

#2: Murray Franklin

"Joker" (2019)

Arthur Fleck spent his days fantasizing that someday he would meet his idol–comedian Murray Franklin–and embrace him as the father figure he never had. However, when Murray became aware of Arthur and had actually used his show to mock him, someone else started to emerge behind Fleck’s eyes. By the time they got to meet, the man everyone had known as Arthur was disappearing. Ultimately, whilst Fleck would appear to shoot Murray Franklin on live T.V., it was The Joker who took his life–confirming that Arthur was no more. One gunshot, two lives. For this entry, we'll count this as Joker's first kill as it was Arthur in control up until, and including, his purging matricide.

#1: Jason Todd

"Batman: A Death in the Family" (1988)

For those who became fans of the Batman mythos from the 1980s, you wouldn’t know that the Dark Knight wasn’t quite as dark. Sure, there were more mature stories, but it was tough for the DC Comics stalwarts to shake the Golden Age influence. That all changed in 1988 with the in-story actions of Joker. “The Killing Joke” saw Joker end Batgirl’s crime fighting with a paralysing gun-shot. That same year, Joker undertook an unprecedented event and killed the second Robin, by violently bludgeoning him to death and blowing him up. The moment filled Batman with rage, whilst this one act of murder has gone on to influence storylines on each medium ever since. Though Jason Todd would return, things would never be the same.
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