I’ve been wanting to ask this question for a while now, but I didn’t want to throw too many spoilers into an ongoing storyline, but with the last issue of ‘Endgame’ pending, I think we’re spoiler-safe enough to get into it.  Recent issues of Scott Snyder’s Batman have found The Joker making certain… pronouncements about his origin, claiming to be immortal and regenerative.  To their credit, the creative team have kept it just ambiguous enough that readers can make their own decisions/worry their own worries about whether or not he’s once again talking through his big purple hat.  One the one hand, if it IS true, it fills in a lot of blanks about Joker’s origins, abilities and multiple escapes from certain death.  On the other, it is an idea just outrageous enough to be a deal-breaker for the Clown Prince of Crime as a character, which leads us to today’s mad, mad, mad, mad query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is really torn on this one, seeing both sides of this issue as equally valid, asking: Assuming Joker’s claims of immortality are true, does it make the character cooler or ruin him in your eyes?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. March 15, 2015 at 11:34 am — Reply

    I feel like… if he IS an immortal anthropomorphication of Gotham’s inherent evil and madness it… changes the kind of stories you can have with him. You can no longer really have a story about Batman vs. a themed sadistic clown mobster, no, every Joker story you have HAS to by mythic. You then HAVE to have the Joker be larger than life, you have to have every single Joker-centric story be about how he’s the ultimate nightmare and that… takes a lot out of the street-level-ness of Batman’s stories.
    I’m not entirely sure how I’d feel about that, given that you can have a good Batman story(or a terrible one) no matter WHAT kind of story you put him in.
    I kinda thing I’d enjoy a definitive Joker story more if it was more.. grounded. Less mythic. If you could see the madness of a man, rather than seeing a man of Madness Itself. I think the former’s scarier.

  2. Alisha
    March 15, 2015 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    Doesn’t really change anything to me, particularly since it was kept ambiguous. He’s had other forms of immortality in the past, such as in the “Batman Beyond” movie where he altered Tim Drake’s DNA so that Drake would become The Joker. He’s insane enough that me might have something like this in place in the DCU and believes it makes him truly immortal. Plus, making that kind of declaration could just be to unsettle his enemies.

    Unless DC comes right out and states “The Joker is an immortal metahuman/demon/personification of evil/etc”, then it doesn’t matter to me.

    • March 15, 2015 at 12:40 pm — Reply

      Yep, stupidest thing DC could do is to make some outright statement about The Joker. Thus far, all the things regarding Jokers past, or true identity have not been that hot. I think character has grown too large for anyone to be capable of doing that anymore.

      Look at what happens when they try to change something fundamental about Superman or Batman: They fail miserably for two reasons, first is that they are now too much a part of modern pop culture and mythos, too large to touch and second is that it will almost without exception be a gimmick that everyone sees through. The Joker is in that same club.

  3. Mauther
    March 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm — Reply

    I’m not a huge fan of Batman’s supernatural story so I’m not a huge fan of this. But its not like this makes him much different than some of the other big villians in Batman’s rogues gallery. Ra’s al Ghul, Solomon Grundy, Deathstroke to name a few. I agree its best if its just left open ended as to whether he is or if its just another of his delusions.

  4. Frank
    March 16, 2015 at 9:05 am — Reply

    Until the Killing Joke, the Joker’s origin has always been a bit nebulous. It seemed he never quite remembered, or lied about his past. That worked for me. A “spirit of madness”, like the Specter’s “Spirit of Redemption” or “Spirit of Vengeance” seems forced.
    It doesn’t sit well with me. I prefer the original ‘crazy’ version.

  5. Nic
    March 16, 2015 at 10:51 am — Reply

    If the Joker is a supernatural entity rather than human, then for me the question is, what stops Batman from finding some way to put and end to him once and for all? Or at least find a safer way of containing him than subjecting the residents and staff of Arkham to his influence?

    Has Batman killed demons or vampires? And if he has, does an immortal spirit of madness/evil fall into the same category?

    • Alisha
      March 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm — Reply

      I honestly can’t remember if Batman has killed demons or vampires within the core DCU (be it the old one or New 52 DCU), but I know that he has in a few Elseworlds series that were otherwise fairly close duplicates of the main DCU (such as “Batman & Dracula: Red Rain” where he killed multiple vampires and also became a vampire himself).

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