|First Appearance:||Batman: Arkham Asylum (Batman #1 Spring 1940)|
|Created by:|| Jerry Robinson (concept)|
|Affiliations:|| Harley Quinn|
Talia al Ghul
|Abilities:|| High intelligence|
Experience in hand to hand combat
|Portrayed by:|| Mark Hamill (voice)|
Troy Baker (voice)
- "Take a hint old boy, we may have had our differences, but you and me, we're made for each other."
- ―The Joker's views on his relationship with Batman[src]
An insanely homicidal super-villain with no known name or past, The Joker's white skin, green hair, ruby-red lips, and purple suit belied the chaotic nature that was underlying his colorful appearance. With no super-powers beyond his capacity for incredible violence and destruction, the Joker prided himself on being the one villain in Batman's extensive Rogues' Gallery who shared a unique connection to the hero, and disturbingly viewed the Dark Knight as not only his greatest enemy, but best friend as well. As intelligent as he was violent, the Joker formulated countless plans to destroy Gotham City, which led to the brutal deaths of thousands of men, women, and children over the years, simply for his own sick amusement.
One of Batman's oldest enemies and his main nemesis with a tendency to cheat death on countless occasions, the Joker haunted Batman's life for years, and was often responsible for some of the most horrendous and tragic moments of his life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon, the abduction, torture, and murder of Jason Todd, and the death of Talia al Ghul. Seeking to break Batman's moral code and create as much destruction and chaos as possible, Joker's unpredictable nature made his plans to destroy Gotham complex and difficult to thwart.
Since his emergence within Gotham on Christmas Eve, the Joker seized complete control of the city's criminal underworld, gained thousands of followers in the process, oversaw a majority of its crimes and operations, and quickly became the city's most infamous criminal. With his murderous and chaotic actions serving as the catalyst for massive plans that constantly targeted Batman, Gotham City, and the world itself, the Joker always plotted and contrived situations that put the Dark Knight in a position that threatened his moral code of never taking a life, no matter how evil.
The self-styled Clown Prince of Crime had no superpowers, beyond a capacity for incredible violence and a skill at creating deadly mayhem. Joker frequently concocted elaborate schemes to entrap his arch nemesis, Batman.
Forgotten Past and Mind of Madness
- "Have you ever had a really bad day?"
- ―The Joker to Harleen Quinzel[src]
Allegedly, the man who became the Joker had gotten his start at a comedy club as a stand-up comedian. However, when he attempted to recite a joke, he ended up heckled by the displeased audience. Pushed to his limit, he ended up attacking his audience in both rage and terror, and ruthlessly beat them unconscious. The man's troubles did not end there, however, as he was ambushed shortly thereafter by several gangsters under the command of the Falcone Crime Family, and was strong-armed into becoming the criminal mastermind, the Red Hood, which forced him into committing a heist at the ACE Chemicals Plant.
However, he ended up ambushed by Batman (who, at the time, underwent his first year of crime-fighting), and was dunked into experimental chemicals. That, alongside the overall events of the "really bad day," caused the man, who renamed himself The Joker, to desire revenge against Batman. Whether the story was completely true or not was unknown, as the Joker himself had admitted that the encounter with Batman may have done permanent damage to his sanity and mind. Sometime after that, the Red Hood went missing, and Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb declared that the criminal had been "run out of the city", while his case still remained active in Batman's personal files due to his identity remaining a mystery and his status was unknown.
It should be noted however, that the Joker would later become notorious for telling dozens of long and frequently fantastical tales of his past over the years, all significantly different in every detail except for one: Batman. That made anything that the Joker said or remembered with regards to his past highly questionable as he himself may not have been able to remember and simply made up details as he went along. Due to that, Joker truly had no known name or backstory, which ranged from him being a broken family man to a sadistic criminal and hit-man, with the only clue closest to being true was that he suffered one, "bad day".
Additionally, it remained inconclusive to many psychiatrists if the Joker was indeed insane or purely an evil individual who hid behind a mask of insanity to serve his own purposes and avoid the death penalty. Regardless, the Joker clearly demonstrated on numerous occasions to be highly calculating and intelligent, bordering on a genius-level, and fully acknowledged the brutality and inhumanity of his crimes, knew that they were evil in nature, and simply committed them for enjoyment. That self-awareness implied that Joker might not truly be insane and was simply evil, but due to his often erratic behavior during his various therapy sessions and crimes, complete lack of empathy for any of his victims and associates, and disregard for even his own life, Gotham's legal system remained hesitant to deem him a sane individual.
The Joker's love of inhumane violence and torture were indicative on how he viewed the world; a sick joke with human atrocities that showcased what the core essence was of every person. Believing that there was no such thing as a truly pure person and people were only as good as society dictated or before they were broken from tragedy, Joker often sought to create a world of anarchy and chaos to show the world what truly comprised humanity. His laughs towards random and pointless acts of crime, war, and violence, including Arkham City, were a further indication of those nihilistic views, with his own immense carnage becoming his way of indulging in what he believed was the true nature of humanity if pushed into madness from enough bad days or tempting incentives.
Through those acts, Joker's only motive for creating deadly violence was simply for the sake of it, his own enjoyment, and becoming infamous to the world through doing so. Joker did not value money or absolute power, though he did make use of such aspects throughout his plans and relished in the level of control he had over people and the city, but creating a world of destruction, starting with Gotham, and carving a legacy for himself, a legacy that would never be forgotten or pushed to the side, as he himself was so often in his early life. To Joker, Gotham was his stage and the people of Gotham, his victims, were his audience to watch and become engulfed in his sadistic showmanship to feed his insatiable lust for attention and never being forgotten, his only true fear.
When Batman proved himself to be his worthy rival and nemesis for years to come, the villain became obsessed with occupying the hero's thoughts and proving to him first and foremost what he wanted to prove to the world: everyone was corruptible.
- "Tonight, we're making some changes! Some big changes."
- ―The Joker while impersonating Black Mask[src]
Seeking to establish himself as one of Gotham's most iconic figures and carve a name for himself in the Gotham criminal underworld, the Joker began to target Roman Sionis, also known as Black Mask, the city's most powerful and sadistic crime lord. With Black Mask having unlimited wealth, resources, men, power, and complete control over the criminal underworld as he consolidated his power and eliminated his opposition, Joker saw Black Mask's criminal empire as the perfect means to gain control of the city and form his own gang for his agenda of chaos. Initially performing small time, but extremely violent crimes, heists, and spree murders in order to introduce his image into the criminal underworld, including blowing up a senior health care residence, the Joker eventually gathered and consolidated a small gang of his own.
With some loyal followers under his control, the new criminal mastermind began his grander plans by stealing chemicals from Sionis' Steel Mill, a front that was used to create chemicals and drugs, to manufacture explosives, which enticed Black Mask to have the Joker followed and monitored in order to learn more on what he planned. The Joker was already one step ahead, however, and began to stalk Roman's girlfriend, Tiffany Ambrose, as he kept tabs over her boyfriend's criminal activities. That understandably spooked Tiffany, who was placed within a safe house at Lacey Towers by Roman, until he could track the Joker down and neutralize him. Unfortunately for Black Mask and his girlfriend, the Joker used his own connections in the underworld to learn of Tiffany's whereabouts, broke into the safe house, and waited for her to come home.
When Tiffany did so after holiday shopping, Joker violently smashed her head into the counter, which knocked her out, and tied the defenseless woman up to the chandelier in the living room. Black Mask soon began to suspect that something was wrong and has one of his men disguised as himself enter the safe house as a diversion while he sneaked in the back to gain the upper hand on the Joker. When the decoy arrived through the front door, Joker gleefully waited in a chair and immediately shot the man through the chest, which instantly killed him, and knew that he was not his true target. The real Black Mask then sneaked up behind Joker and attacked him, but Joker proved to be an exceptionally competent fighter and overpowered and beat Black Mask, and tied up his hands in the process.
To eliminate any evidence of him being at the safe house, Joker used a cocktail incendiary device to set the room ablaze. As Tiffany struggled from the heat of the fire below her, Joker then cruelly and sadistically made Roman hold his gun and shoot Tiffany through the heart in a game of Russian Roulette, which immediately killed her, as Joker dragged the struggling Roman out with him. Joker held Black Mask captive at a hidden location, tortured him over the course of several days, and forced him to reveal every detail about himself and his operations. Using those details to his advantage, Joker took Roman's mask and white suit, disguised himself as the crime lord, and took complete control of his gang, resources, and power. Joker then plotted to first destroy all of Black Mask's power and standing in the city, take his place, and institute his own brand of anarchy and social disorder.
With Black Mask's connections his own, Joker had access to nearly every level of Gotham's infrastructure through his inside agents, as well as had the entire Gotham City Police Department under his complete control to do his bidding as a secondary gang. Joker's ultimate desire was to make Gotham his own by sunrise and leave the city in a state of ruin for his own personal amusement. After he knew that Batman was the only one who could stop his plans, as well as having a hunger for revenge against the hero, Joker placed a $50 million bounty on the Dark Knight's head and hired eight of the world's most deadliest assassins to take him down. The Joker also managed to take over an old fun fair on the outskirts of the city, murdered the owner in the process, stole a massive amount of carnival equipment, and began to manufacture excessive amounts of a poisonous gas that was known as Joker Toxin, which left victims violently laughing themselves to death, in preparation for his schemes that took further root later that night.
As the assassins arrived in Gotham, including Bane, Deathstroke, Deadshot, Copperhead, Killer Croc, Firefly, Shiva, and the Electrocutioner, with their respective gangs and many of them who were armed with weaponry that was provided by the Joker's agents or The Penguin, the city's body count and crime rate skyrocketed as the assassins created wanton destruction throughout Old and New Gotham to lure Batman into their crossfires. However, Joker initially kept it a secret to each of the assassins that he had hired other killers to embark on the same bounty.
To that end, while still disguised as Black Mask, Joker began to lure Batman into the crossfires of his sadistic game by having Deathstroke arrange for a tip that related relating to a briefcase serve as a trap for the latter to attack him. However, despite a grueling fight with Deathstroke nearly winning, Batman managed to escape, largely due to Deadshot's interference (who had himself been hired for the same hit). Joker was later confronted by Deathstroke about his hiring of at least one other assassin besides himself, but Joker dismissed him, said that he had his chance and that the night was still young. After he noticed one of his henchmen begging for help due to being severely wounded from the blast, Joker then proceeded to approach the hapless henchman, grabbed a burning piece of rubble that was filled with nails, and brutally beat the man to death with it.
With the assassins arriving in Gotham and already laying out the foundations for their traps for the Dark Knight, Joker proceeded to institute the next steps of his operations to throw Gotham into anarchy by targeting the forces of the GCPD. After he knew that Commissioner Loeb, the corrupt leader of the police force, was planning a press conference at Blackgate Prison and would also needed to be taken care of if the police force would take his more chaotic orders, Joker then handed down the order to Black Mask's Henchmen to abduct Warden Martin Joseph from Blackgate and brought him to "My Alibi", a night club that served as a meeting ground for the criminal underworld and was previously under the control of Black Mask. When Joseph was brought to Joker at the club, the villain tortured him with a lit cigarette, burned out his left eye, and threatened to slaughter his entire family if he did not lower his security at Blackgate.
Joseph reluctantly agreed and had the security for a portion of Blackgate become more lax in an effort to protect his family. With the security lowered at the prison and Loeb perfectly in the line of fire, Joker then staged an attack on Blackgate disguised as Black Mask, with several dozen of his men and one of his assassins, Killer Croc, a cannibalistic killer with a rare condition that made him appear more and more reptilian as the years passed by. After he murdered dozens of guards and left a path of bloodshed and destruction behind him, the Joker took Commissioner Loeb hostage; the Commissioner was present at the prison to oversee the execution of Julian Day, also known as Calendar Man, to gather massive support from Gotham's citizens and City Hall.
Joker had Calendar Man released from the Execution Chamber, set him loose, and believed that his love for torture and murder on the holidays was the perfect setup for Christmas Eve, which eventually lead to several deaths at Day's hands later that night. Joker then had Loeb forcibly placed within the Gas Chamber under the pretense that the Commissioner no longer served his best interests with so many of his men imprisoned and wanted to start off with "a clean slate". The reality of the situation was, however, that Joker sought to take complete control of Black Mask's criminal activities and eliminate anything that could be used as a benefit for the fallen crime lord. Loeb's murder also prompted chaos throughout the criminal underworld and instituted a power vacuum throughout the GCPD; chaos that fed the Joker's love for anarchy.
Loeb was then gassed in the Gas Chamber and died in mere seconds as Joker continued through the prison with Black Mask's Henchmen and Croc, and killed all who stood in his way. While in route to the roof, Joker discovered that he was being monitored by one of the Penguin's Drones and ordered Croc to destroy it and grab the memory card. Though Croc merely smashed the device to the ground without obtaining the memory card, much to Joker's anger, Croc assured him that it was completely destroyed as well. Batman, however, who arrived at the prison just minutes prior, obtained the memory card from the remains of the device that was analyzed later at the Batcave.
Arriving on the roof to find a set of helicopters ready to make a quick escape, Joker left Croc to deal with Batman as he boarded one of the copters with several of his men and escaped arrest. While Croc was aided by some of Black Mask's Henchmen, Batman was ultimately able to defeat them all and learned from Croc about the enlistment of seven other assassins. Batman subdued Croc, made a quick getaway himself in the Batwing, and left the cannibal killer for Captain James Gordon and the GCPD.
Shortly thereafter, Joker was informed by one of Black Mask's corrupt cops that the Penguin was invading the Falcone's territory regarding the weapons business, but the Joker dismissed the event, as he didn't care about balance and in fact hated it because it was boring and "boring is a four-letter word in [the Joker's] book." As Joker consolidated several of the escaped convicts into his expanding gang, much of the honest, straight portion of the police force contained the situation at Blackgate, and served as the perfect diversion to keep the rest of Gotham under even more lax security than usual. Gotham itself began to descend into further chaos as Joker continued to control Black Mask's operations, including drug trafficking, sending out hundreds of his men to murder, steal, and wipe out all opposition, strike deals with corrupt Gotham police officers, particularly SWAT Team Leader Howard Branden and his squadron, obtain weapons and equipment from the GCPD Evidence Lockup and promised them all of the $50 million bounty if they succeeded in subduing Batman.
With Branden instructing his squad to neglect their other responsibilities in light of collecting the bounty, that also ensured that a majority of the police department would be too distracted with finding and killing Batman to prevent any of Joker's plans from coming to fruition. That enabled Joker's Henchmen to commit a wide variety of crimes and heists throughout the night, including stealing countless equipment, weaponry, and trucks from AmerTek, a military industrial corporation who specialized in the construction of steel for weapons manufacturing. Meanwhile, the murder of Commissioner Loeb also prompted the hand of many second-rate gangs and mobs to overtake territory and begin wars with the other fractions for ultimate control while other gangs broke off their previous deals with the corrupt police force, and no longer trusted them with Loeb gone, and retaliated against their efforts to resume their deals. Additionally, more outlandish criminals began to surface and took advantage of the rising destruction to further their own designs, and caused chaos throughout all of Gotham just as the Joker had planned.
Joker also hired the services of Edward Nashton, a master hacker with plans of his own for the city, and had him ideally situated within the Gotham City Police Department thanks to his newly acquired connections throughout Gotham's infrastructure to work as the head of the department's Cyber Crime Division. Within his new position of power as an additional inside agent, Enigma used his resources and access privileges to take complete control of all the GCR Towers throughout Gotham in order to block Batman's auto-navigation trackers that were used for the Batwing and kept watch over the entire city. Enigma further added to the chaos by using his surveillance over the city to collect incriminating information on countless political individuals in Gotham, placed them all within extortion files that were hidden around the city, and blackmailed the individuals for money and power.
Regardless of their actions however, Enigma intended to release the data to the press, which resulted in resignations, murders, and utter chaos throughout the streets as he worked on his plans to eliminate all the corrupt and the unintelligent. To further aid in his mission and plans, Enigma used the extensive funding coming from Joker, hired a wide variety of street thugs, muggers, and killers to collect information, store them in extortion files, hide the files for eventual pickup, and guard the GCR Towers. Enigma also set up close to a hundred relays throughout Gotham to prevent his own network from being hacked and kept tabs over all of Gotham, while also rigging the security controls of GCR Towers to blow if anyone tried to interfere, which leading to the death of David Shannon. Those modifications were done with the help of a third party, a low level thug named John F. Baker, who was hired by Enigma, and who was later killed by Enigma to further cover up his tracks.
As Batman was hunted down from all fronts and continued to fight against the assassins, he learned of the Joker's existence when he investigated what police believed to be Black Mask and Tiffany's murders at Lacey Towers. The hero concluded however that it was not Black Mask, but was simply a decoy; he broke into the GCPD Building in order to gain access to the National Criminal Database in order to learn more about the crime scene. At the same time, Joker sent scores of Black Mask's Henchmen to infiltrate and take control of the sewer systems through a secret passageway from the Steel Mill. Once there, Joker's Henchmen set up shop and placed hundreds of demolition explosives underneath the foundations countless buildings, including the Gotham Fire Station, the Train Station, the GCPD, and many others to leave Gotham in a state of ruin by sunrise. While Batman was able to subdue Joker's men, prevented them from putting automatic timers on the explosives, and gained access to the National Criminal Database, he was ultimately unable to deactivate the bombs as they were also remotely controlled and were too sensitive and elaborate to disarm himself.
- "What kind of monster forces a man to kill the ones he loves?"
True to Batman's detective work, the Joker explosively arrived at the bank in a stolen ambulance, murdered over two dozen of the bank's employees, sadistically tortured and slaughtered many of them with the use of the bank's Christmas decorations and shoved several of their heads into television sets in what was a precursor to his eventual mannequin TVs. Joker then took the female Bank Manager hostage and forced her and Sionis to open up the vault that contained much of Roman's laundered money. Joker then had his men steal billions of dollars and load it up onto the ambulance while Roman was tied and gagged as Joker injected the Bank Manager with a lethal dose of his newly created Joker Toxin, and caused her to gradually laugh more and more uncontrollably. When Batman arrived on the scene by crashing through the roof, the Joker finally revealed himself to be the impostor Black Mask after he viciously beat and kicked Roman into unconsciousness for not 'playing along'.
- "Can't... you just... play... along!?!"
- ―The Joker while violently beating Sionis unconscious[src]
As Joker revealed that most of Black Mask's men were loyally working for him due to the benefits that they reaped, and expanded his gang into over a thousand followers as a result, his men donned new Joker masks as the villain informed the Dark Knight that his attempts at assassinating him were simply part of a much larger plan. After he threw the laughing Bank Manager at Batman, Joker detonated the bombs that were rigged in the vault, before he drove away with both the money and Roman in the stolen ambulance, laughing insanely and left two of his own men behind to perish in the blaze. Batman grabbed the Bank Manager and barely managed to lunge away from the massive explosion, but the Bank Manager unfortunately succumbed to Joker's toxin and died with a smile on her face. Anticipating that Batman may still be alive, Joker sent in a handful of his men to check the bank, which lead to confirmation that Batman was indeed still alive.
Amazed that Batman could survive both his gunshot wounds and the explosion, Joker nevertheless remained in cheerful spirits as he embarked on the next phase of his plans. Batman subdued all of Joker's men, and left one for interrogation, who informed the Dark Knight that Joker had murdered over a quarter of Black Mask's men who would not turn and had taken complete control of all of Roman's operations at the Steel Mill. The Steel Mill contained a secret entrance to a massive drug manufacturing facility, where Black Mask received shipments of materials and chemicals to be constructed into drugs and then sold onto the streets, as well as a torture chamber to contain his enemies for slow, agonizing deaths.
After he arrived at the Steel Mill, Batman learned that Joker had been using the Steel Mill to manufacture explosive chemicals and had his men take Sionis down to his old torture chamber to brutalize and interrogate him for any remaining secrets on his operations and then murder him. At the same time, Joker's men used the facility to continue manufacturing and sending out shipments of chemicals and drugs to add to Gotham's descent into anarchy. Batman was able to subdue Joker's men and rescued Sionis, who had nothing but raw hatred for both Batman and Joker, and intended to kill them both. Batman began to brutally interrogate Roman for Joker's location until Copperhead arrived, intending to collect Joker's bounty, poisoned Batman, and allowed Roman to escape at the same time. As Batman began to hallucinate and saw his worst fears come to life, he scanned the poison and sent an analysis of it to Alfred in order to manufacture a cure and drop it off to him.
As Batman arrived at ground level, he was forced to fight Copperhead until Alfred sent him the cure via the Batwing, which restored him back to health and allowed him to finally subdue Copperhead. After he locked up the assassin in the back of one of Sionis's trucks, Batman learned that Joker had called a meeting with the remaining assassins. Tracking down the electronic signals from one of the assassins, the Electrocutioner, Batman learned that Joker had taken control of the Gotham Royal Hotel, murdered over a hundred of its employees, taken the guests hostage, began to reconstruct the hotel into a hellish funhouse with stolen carnival items to torture and slaughter the guests, and rigged the foundations of the hotel with explosives and laughing gas.
Joker also continued to send out his men to commit crimes, wipe out the last pockets of oppositions, and allowed them to keep all the ill-gotten gains, much to their delight, as long as they created chaos and destruction. As his men take complete control of Old Gotham, Joker converted the Royal Hotel's Penthouse into his secondary base of operations and, still disguised as Black Mask, had Branden and his SWAT team form a perimeter around the hotel to look out for Batman and keep Gordon and the media away. As Gordon was kept busy with the murder of a amusement park worker, most likely the same one that Joker had killed for the stolen carnival items, Batman infiltrated the Royal Hotel after he fought past scores of Joker's men and Braden's SWAT team. Inside, Batman navigated through a river of mutilated corpses, makeshift carnival attractions, several traps and explosives, and scores of Joker's men.
At the same time, Joker, while humorously holding the gathering in a similar manner to a business financials review meeting, revealed himself to all of the remaining assassins, including Bane, Firefly, Deadshot, Shiva, and Electrocutioner (Deathstroke and Copperhead were defeated and captured by Batman earlier). Disappointed and annoyed in particular at Electrocutioner's attitude and inability to kill Batman (having been knocked out cold by a single kick from Batman several hours earlier), Joker kicked the assassin and his swivel-chair from the Penthouse and to his death. Joker instructed the rest of the assassins to go out and find Batman while Bane stayed, the latter of whom knew that the hero was undoubtedly coming for the Joker. Batman was able to take the Electrocutioner's Shock Gloves from his corpse and made his way further up the Royal Hotel.
As Batman continued through Joker's sadistic traps and Bane's mercenaries, he grew increasingly disturbed at the psychotic nature of the Joker as he saw more and more corpses, some of them were Joker's own men, who were attached to decorations and crude carnival games. After Batman managed to get through the rigged, newly developed amusement park traps and exit, Joker ended up taking his fury out by executing the chief architect for incompetence regarding Batman being able to escape the otherwise inescapable death trap alive.
Batman uncovered a plot by the Joker to detonate a large part of the Gotham Royal Hotel at midnight on December 31st, and attempted to disarm the "Snowman Bombs" with his Cryptographic Sequencer. However, Batman, to Joker's amusement, was unable to disarm the bombs and instead only succeeded in significantly reducing the time of detonation to within a few seconds, which forced the Dark Knight to bail from a nearby window and grapple onto a news chopper to get to the roof before the bombs exploded.
When Batman finally arrived at the Penthouse, Bane brutally grabbed him, threw him around the hallway, and finally threw him into Joker's quarters. As Bane attempted to kill the hero, Joker forced Bane to leave under the threat of blowing up both the Royal Hotel and themselves. As Bane reluctantly left, and gave him one minute, Joker, while claiming that his family had let him open "one present each Christmas Eve", revealed that he had placed a series of explosives all throughout Gotham, detonated one, which caused the entire top portion of the Ellsworth Building directly in front of the Royal Hotel to explode, and also caused the Joker to laugh maniacally at the destruction.
Batman grabbed the Joker, infuriated, and asked him how many people he had just murdered. Joker, after denying that there were any people in the building (at least, none that he was aware of), gleefully revealed that the building was merely a construction site, a demonstration of the real carnage soon to descend onto Gotham. Batman slammed his laughing enemy into the adjacent table and flung him across it as several of the detonation devices fell on the floor next to Joker. Grabbing one of the devices, Joker revealed that the detonation device that he held would not be as friendly, and laughed sadistically.Having been pushed to his limit, Batman grabbed the device, broke it, and smashed it into Joker's face. As Batman punched him, Joker simply laughed as Bane reappeared and punched Batman off his new nemesis. Bane grabbed Batman's face, intended to kill him to achieve his peace of mind through dominance of the hero and his city, and flung him through the window. After he fell through a ceiling window into the Penthouse Library, Batman prepared himself for a brutal battle with Bane as Joker gleefully watched.
While Batman was able to hold his own during the fight, Bane revealed his trump card: a storage tank that was attached to his body that pumped a deadly chemical known as Venom through his body, and gave him enhanced strength and adrenaline. The brutal fight then continued on the snowy balcony that overlooked the destroyed construction building with Joker commentating from above (including urging Bane to quickly finish Batman as he wanted to get back to blowing up the explosive-laced buildings) as Alfred called the GCPD in an effort to save his adoptive son. However, Batman was able to fight off Bane long enough for the police helicopters to arrive on the scene. Unshaken by that, Joker, laughing and calling it a "party," took out a machine gun and began to fire wildly at the choppers, and ordered his men to do the same.
The police retaliated and opened fire on the Joker's crew, and killed them all, while Bane was merely grazed. After he realized that the tides had turned, Bane decided to make an escape as his men in their own stolen choppers arrived and fire at the police choppers, which caused them to both collide and explode upon impact, and killed all passengers. As Bane jumped into one of his choppers, Batman threw a tracking device on him to locate him later. Joker was annoyed that Bane was attempting to escape rather than finish the job and began firing on him as well. Bane responded with a rocket from a launcher, which missed the Joker, who remained completely unshaken, continued smiling, and spread his arms wide as the explosion from behind him flung him off the balcony.
As the Joker laughed insanely towards his impending death, Batman jumped to save the mass murdering psychopath, who began to fight him as Batman tried to rescue him, due to believing that Batman was "coming back for more." Batman attempted to grapple them both to safety, but the amount of debris falling from the explosion caused the line to break, and resulted in the pair falling through the glass ceiling of the Hotel Lobby. Violently crashing down onto the floor, Batman was surrounded by two of Joker's men as the Joker composed himself and aimed his gun at Batman. Joker was shocked that Batman would actually risk his own life to save his, even after he killed so many people in just one night, as well as attempted to have him killed.
- "Now...Why? Why? Why would you do that? Newsflash: I'm the one who's trying to kill you!"
- ―The Joker[src]
Joker was sent to Blackgate Prison, where he underwent a psychological examination by the intern of Professor Hugo Strange, Harleen Quinzel. Having sympathy for the Joker, Harleen allowed him tell her his view on the world and how the brutality of life had made him who he was. At the same time, Joker remembered portions of his past (at least how he remembered it at the current moment) as a failed stand-up comedian and being strong-armed into becoming a criminal known as the Red Hood, as well as his first encounter with Batman at the ACE Chemicals Plant, which led to him falling into a tank of experimental chemicals, and revealed the reason for his initial hatred of the hero. However, Joker saw a new purpose in life with the emergence of the Dark Knight, whom he had met through what he believed was fate, after he saved his life and proved to be much more complex and interesting than initially perceived.
After he saw Batman as a monster like himself, who was created from a very bad day, Joker felt that Batman was finally someone that he could rely on to play his sadistic games. Excited at the prospect of such a person bringing new meaning to his life, Joker made Harleen believe that he was talking about her while he was, in reality, referring to Batman. Harleen was taken in by the Joker's false charms and was essentially seduced by the psychopath in a matter of mere minutes, and gently touched his hand. Joker smiled as he had crafted the perfect pawn to manipulate from within the prison.
Batman, in the meantime, was still incredibly disturbed at the Joker's nature, and believed him to be the worst kind of criminal and evil; random, relentless, and unpredictable, the same type of criminality that took the lives of his own parents. Batman used his tracker to locate Bane's base of operations while Bane's mercenaries seized control over parts of Old Gotham and smuggled in shipments of drugs that were used in the construction of Venom courtesy of Bird, Bane's right-hand man who had connections all over the criminal element in Gotham.
After he took out Bane's mercenaries as they attempted to take over areas of the criminal underworld, including My Alibi, Batman entered Bane's hideout within the sewers that ran underneath Old Gotham to find an experimental and research chamber, along with chemical and weaponry storage and a makeshift gym. Batman learned that not only had Bane been selling Venom as a drug on the streets to find suitable followers, but he had also been experimenting with the compound to create an even more potent variation of Venom known as TN-1, which would eliminate the need of a storage tank. Having tested it out on numerous followers, many of which horrifically mutated and perished, Bane learned that one of the side effects was severe memory loss.
Despite having made great progress with his research, and allowing his followers to assimilate the drug into their body without harmful physical effects, Bane had yet to find a solution to overcome that severe memory loss. Searching his base further, Batman found a research facility that was dedicated to himself with various pictures and newspaper clippings of the hero along with a series of complex computers which revealed something horrifying to Batman: Bane had deduced that Bruce Wayne and Batman were one and the same. Horrified and infuriated, Batman destroyed the computers, blew the base up, and warned Alfred to remain hidden in the Batcave until he could get there.
Before Batman could, however, the destruction occurring in the city reached a peak again as the remaining assassins were still after the bounty that was promised to them by Joker with Deadshot destroying a police chopper and holding a civilian hostage at the Gotham Merchants Bank to lure Batman out in the open, Shiva and her ninja forces murdering bent cops and criminals as part of their own grand designs, and Firefly destroying portions of the Gotham Pioneers Bridge, rigging it to blow, and placing several bombs that were constructed from materials that were stolen from GothCorp in critical locations throughout the bridge, with the aid of his hired forces. With Joker still destroying Gotham from inside Blackgate with his bounty, Batman had no choice but to take out his remaining assassins before he ensured Alfred's safety from Bane.
Batman was able to subdue Deadshot and his forces at the bank and rescue the hostage and defeat Shiva, who was in Gotham as a part of a much larger scheme at the behest of her master, though she was able to ultimately escape and flee from Gotham; all that was left was Firefly and Bane. Arriving at the Pioneers Bridge, Batman witnessed Firefly set half the bridge on fire as he commanded his forces to set the timers on the bombs, and detonate them if the police attempt the breech the area. Unknown to even Firefly's forces, the villain intended to detonate the bombs and completely destroy the bridge along with his own men as soon as Batman is killed, so that he could collect the bounty for himself.
With Firefly's men armed with military grade weaponry provided to them through various purchases from the Penguin's arm caches, the police were helpless to effectively infiltrate the bridge without detection. Batman used his Batwing to distract Firefly and snuck past the police blockade, attempting to reason with Gordon in the process. Gordon still blamed Batman for all the criminal escalation throughout the brutal night however, forcing Batman to continue working alone, just as officer Branden and his SWAT team were captured by Firefly and his men. Batman was able to save hostages taken by Firefly's men and disarm three of the bombs, while Gordon and his team disarmed the last one. After saving and then subduing Branden and the last of his corrupt SWAT team, Batman arrived on top of the bridge just in time to see Firefly blowing up a police chopper, causing it to violently collide into the top portion of a central pillar, and killing everyone within it.
Infuriated, Batman fought past the last of the pyromaniac's forces and faced off against the villain in a final showdown. While the battle destroyed most of the bridge and the vehicles on it, Batman destroyed Firefly's jetpack and subdued him after the villain realized that his detonator did not work, due to the bombs being disarmed. Leaving the assassin for the police, Gordon finally began to trust Batman, who told the police captain that he should listen to him more if they are to truly help Gotham. Gordon agreed and believed that he and Batman made a good team during the situation as Batman leaves.
Contacting Alfred while in route to the Batcave to ensure his safety, Batman was shocked to hear Bane, having infiltrated both Wayne Manor and the Batcave and leaving a path of destruction in his wake. Revealing that he has attacked Alfred and left him at death's door just long enough for a few final words, Bane voiced his plans to have Batman become molded into a true rival in battle though his hatred, anger, and sadness over the loss of his most trusted ally; the perfect opponent he needed to defeat in order to finally achieve his desires.
Batman arrived at the destroyed Batcave and found Alfred barely clinging to life, telling Bruce to not add his death to the burden he carried. Alfred then seemingly died, leaving Bruce to believe that he was truly and completely alone, until he realized that he can use Electrocutioner's gloves to resuscitate him. Batman was able to succeed and saved Alfred's life, with Alfred finally realizing that a figure such as "Batman" was indeed a necessary one, as even if Bruce had taken his advice and gave up on his mantle, their lives would've still been violently thrown into the conflict. The circumstances also shake Bruce so much that he finally realized just how much Alfred meant to him as the closest person he had to a father in his life and how he had been taking him for granted. However, Batman lost hope of protecting his city when seeing just what his very presence had caused to happen in a single night, with his own home and family being targeted and attacked.
Alfred told his adoptive son that the city always needed a hero like Batman and that the villains and criminals he faced would've always been out there in some shape or form, even if he wasn't in Gotham. Alfred goes on to state that even with all his brawn and gadgets, Bruce must realize that he was still just a man, vulnerable and mortal, and must rely on allies from time to time to protect Gotham City. Turning on the police radio, Batman and Alfred heard that Joker had escaped Blackgate (it is heavily implied that he escaped with the use of security codes given to him from Harleen) and was leading riots that have completely destroyed the prison and killed hundreds.
Batman realized that Alfred spoke the truth and prepared himself to finally put an end to the Joker's night of destruction once and for all. Arriving to see the prison completely engulfed in flames and destruction, Batman fought through scores of escaped convicts and Bane and Joker's forces. Making his way to the center of the prison, Batman found Joker holding the warden hostage with Bane at his side. Joker revealed that he understood Batman and his code of ethics, making it his new mission in life to induce the hero give up his one rule by forcing him to take a life and cement their similarities as corrupt monsters of a broken society. He then declared that Batman will soon wish he had let him die earlier, citing with sadistic amusement that he killed hundreds of people, brought Gotham to its knees and crippled the GCPD, all long before it was even time to open presents for Christmas Day as Bane arrives.
Revealing that Bane holds a heart monitor that will charge up an electric chair, Joker sat in the chair and told Batman that either he kills Bane to stop his heart from charging up the monitor and the chair or either Batman dies and Joker would be electrified to death; either way, Batman would be responsible for someone's death. Bane put on the monitor, telling Batman to use all his hatred and anger from the loss of his ally in battle, unaware that Alfred was actually still alive, as Joker's men strapped him to the chair. To ensure that Batman and Bane do indeed battle, Joker revealed that he had placed a bomb within the facility, which would detonate and slaughter everyone if the heart monitor was removed from Bane. As Batman and Bane battle, Gordon arrived and shot Joker's men non-fatally, who were holding Warden Joseph, in order to incapacitate them.
As Joseph and Gordon attempted to get Joker out of the chair, Joker elbowed both men, knocking out Joseph and holding Gordon at gunpoint with his own gun, putting the headpiece of the electric chair on Gordon, raising the stakes even higher for Batman. Coming up with the plan to send Bane's heart into temporary cardiac arrest, Batman used his electric gloves to defeat Bane and stop his heart, making the Joker gleefully laugh as the last barrier and difference between him and Batman had now been seemingly torn down. Joker then attempted to shoot Joseph dead when he awakened and stood up to the mass murderer, but Gordon jumped in front of him and took the bullet instead. Joker continued to laugh and left the room to escape from the prison and continue his reign of terror and detonate the bombs he placed across Gotham with the aid of his forces and the escaping convicts.
Batman revealed to Gordon, who was not severely injured due to his bulletproof vest, that Bane could still be revived and told him and the Warden to arrest the Joker before he could escape. As they do so, Batman revived Bane, who was more infuriated than ever at Batman's victory, deception, and merciful nature in battle and resorted to drastic measures; using a sample of TN-1 on himself to become even more powerful. As Bane does so, he became a hulking mass of muscle with an uncontrollable urge to kill Batman. Batman sprayed a string of explosive gel in a circle around Bane and detonated it, destroying the floor beneath them and and dropping them into one of the prison corridors. Meanwhile, Joker was tracked down to Death Row by Gordon and Joseph, with virtually all exits sealed. Unfortunately, Joker anticipated their pursuit, and had pinned them down at Death Row.
After one final, grueling battle, Batman was able to finally subdue Bane after strapping him to a pair of electrified pacification devices with his remote batclaw. Batman also realized that Bane's memory has been left damaged by the extensive use of TN-1 one, securing his identity once again. However, Joker remained on the loose, having shot Warden Joseph via a placed sniper and is nearly out of the prison. Batman and Gordon protected Joseph from Joker's gang, leaving Gordon to watch over the warden until medical units can arrive at the prison as Batman faced off against the Joker in the prison's chapel.
- "You just can't get it through your thick skull! We both exist because of them!"
- ―The Joker[src]
Inside the chapel, Batman found Joker laying at the front of the altar, exhausted, but laughing hysterically at all the brutal events throughout the night. Driven by immense hatred and anger towards the Joker for nearly destroying everything he cares and fights for, Batman grabbed the villain, who was thirsty for Batman to take yet another life, but, much to his displeasure, Batman revealed that Bane was still alive. After verifying Batman's claim by looking at the heart monitor, Joker then decried his action being "not funny", and eventually, in a fit of both hysteria and rage, revealed Gordon's gun with the intention of using it on Batman, only for Batman to drop him. After socking the Dark Knight in the face, Joker then held his gun to Batman's head, telling the hero that both he and himself are the same, born from very bad days, and exist because of a broken society and corrupt law system. Batman refused to believe in the Joker's words and kicked him across the room and into several pews. Joker continued to goad Batman into killing him, telling him that there is no hope for him.
Batman threw Joker into one of the windows, at which point Joker took shards of the broken glass and attempted to slit Batman's throat. Batman knocked the pieces of glass off of him and punched Joker dozens of times before smashing him onto the ground. Batman began to strangle Joker, who continued shouting to kill him in between his laughter and grunts (and also proceeds to hallucinate Batman as being a demonic creature not unlike what he saw Batman as a year prior at ACE Chemicals), but the hero resisted the urge and knocked out the villain once and for all instead. Gordon arrived on the scene and expressed his respect for Batman for not killing the Joker before stating that he still had to take him in. However, as Gordon informed Bullock that the Joker was neutralized, Batman disappeared, an action that Gordon later admitted to his daughter he partially allowed to happen due to his new-found friendship with the Dark Knight.
As the police retook control of the prison, Gordon told his daughter, Barbara, how she was right to think of Batman as a hero and believed that he could indeed be a symbol of hope for the people of Gotham. Back inside the prison, police rounded up the last of Joker's men and convicts and found Bane strung up and still incapacitated, while the Joker was left being escorted back to his cell, ultimately accepting his defeat for the time being, but also laughing at Batman's deception. As Harleen smiled at him, Joker stated his belief that his future battles with Batman will indeed be "fun".
Ultimately by the end of the long and brutal night, the Joker was successful in building up a criminal empire of his own with thousands of followers, billions of dollars worth of revenue and resources, and carved a legacy for himself in Gotham's criminal underworld as its most notorious criminal, finding a new purpose in his own life through mindless chaos and Batman, the hero who will feel the blunt of the villain's schemes and 'punchlines' for many years to come as his dedicated nemesis.
Joker was last heard during the night singing an altered version of the song, 'Cold, Cold Heart', as he was being escorted by guards through various security measures before being ultimately locked up in a cell. Later that evening, Quincy Sharp, a political activist, revealed his intentions to reopen Arkham Asylum, partially due to the manipulation of Shiva under Ra's al Ghul's orders, in light of the night's events in an effort to create a more secure facility for Gotham's more dangerous criminals.
This essentially revealed that Joker's actions led to the reopening of Arkham Asylum and, thus, started the chain of events that make up the entire Arkham Series. In addition, Joker's earlier riot resulted in 21 Blackgate prisoners escaping into Gotham City, necessitating Batman in rounding them up as part of a favor for Gordon, which cemented the newfound trust the police captain has found and formed with Gotham's Dark Knight.
While the Joker's plans were ultimately ruined, the effects of his presence in Gotham are still felt even after the villain was neutralized and locked up in Blackgate. His actions on Christmas Eve, particularly the murder of Commissioner Loeb, unveiled the massive amount of corruption and conspiracy within Gotham's Police Department, leading to riots throughout North Gotham in anger to Loeb's influence on the criminal underworld, while Anarky's remaining followers resumed their operations in South Gotham in response to the breaking news.
Other criminals, particularly the Penguin, would also escalate their own criminal activities in order to ensure that they can withstand the massive amount of power and influence the Joker had accumulated when he took control over Black Mask's criminal empire and operations. The Joker's earlier hiring of the eight assassins is also briefly referenced by the Penguin while trapped in ice, citing Batman's surviving them being "like a bad joke."
Additionally, Joker's previous associate, Enigma, further adds to the chaos by subtly revealing to major media organizations throughout the city about the corrupt nature of potential new Commissioner, Peter Grogan, and his ties to the criminal underworld. In the end however, the protests end on a peaceful and celebratory resolution with the resignation of corrupt Mayor, Hamilton Hill, and the rise of Captain James Gordon to the rank of Commissioner.
Despite Joker's chaotic influence, which led to nearly a thousand deaths since his emergence, the ramifications of his sick and deadly plans ironically and unintentionally had at least some positive influence as it enabled Batman and Gotham citizens to finally rid their city of some of their most corrupt political leaders and ensure that much more noble and ethical individuals took their place.
Over the next few months at Blackgate, Joker began to see the prison as the perfect fortress to serve as his base of operations and lusts to slaughter the rest of the prison staff and population to acquire Blackgate for his own purposes. Having frequent therapy sessions with Harleen Quinzel at her insistence towards her superiors, Joker was able to further seduce the young therapist to the point that she was under his complete, psychological control. Harleen would soon become so obsessed with the villain, that she would go on to call him 'Mr. J' and even kept a detailed journal of her infatuation with him.
With Harleen in love with him, Joker was able to easily persuade her to smuggle in several spray cans of food from the cafeteria during work hours. Using a unique filtering device he fashioned out of old pipes and pieces of cloth from his own clothing, Joker was able to isolate specific particles within the spray cans that are instrumental to creating his laughing toxin. Studying the blueprints for the entire prison, as well as the ventilation system, also smuggled into his cell by Harleen, Joker planned to take over the entire facility and pump his deadly toxin through the air ducts to slaughter nearly everyone, leaving him and his gang as the ruling elites.
Three months after having been captured by Batman, Joker, along with Penguin and Black Mask, took over Blackgate Prison, following a massive explosion engineered by Amanda Waller to find suitable recruits for her Suicide Squad, with each of them controlling a section of the facility. Having now perfected his Joker toxin and mass produced large quantities of the poison, Joker unleashed it throughout the facility and left countless dead guards in his wake, all strung up and horrifically grinning with a dead smile from the toxin or had a Glasgow smile carved into their faces, while keeping him and his gang safe with gas masks stolen from the facility.
Joker then took complete control of the administration building and redecorated it into his own image and targeted the assistant warden. Forcing the unfortunate man to draw an elaborate map of the administrative ward, particularly the layouts around Warden Joseph's office, Joker learned of an emergency hatch that was built into the sewer network below the prison and connected to a secret passageway to the warden's office. After taking the completed map and tearing the portion most useful to him, Joker then cruelly forced the man to get on his knees and beg for mercy, at which point the villain shot him execution style through the head.
Using the map drawn by his latest victim, the Clown Prince of Crime abducted Warden Joseph again by sneaking into his office through a sewer network connected to his emergency escape hatch. After a brutal fist fight, resulting in the warden losing his glass eye, Joker had Joseph tied to a series of explosives that had been rigged in with the prison's security control box wiring systems, leaving the bombs in a fragile condition if tampered with incorrectly. Joker then rallied dozens of the prisoners to become part of his expanding army and consolidated his hold over the administrative section of the prison, setting up shop in the warden's office and obtained all the riot control gas held within the facility and began altering it to transform it into laughing toxin.
Knowing that Batman will interfere with his plans once again, much to the villain's delight, and eager to resume his cat and mouse game with the hero, Joker also rehired the help of Deadshot (through a crudely written contract in his recent victims' blood). However, Deadshot was also secretly lending his abilities to the other crime lords within the prison to collect triple the amount of money through killing Batman, as well as move through all three sections of the facility freely, but promised to ensure that the Dark Knight was slowed down before dwelling too far into the administration building. In the meantime, Joker had his men patrol the corridors and hold several staff members hostage to use as collateral and further slow down Batman.
When Batman met his nemesis once again, Joker set off a series of bombs that destroyed a large portion of the building, as well as releasing gas when Batman attempted to pursue and rescue the prisoners in the library, as Deadshot targeted Batman when the hero navigated outside to reach and confront the Joker in the warden's office. After defeating Deadshot, rescuing the Warden and the surviving staff, and reaching the Joker in Joseph's office, the psychopath revealed his plans to release his laughing toxin into the air conditioning ducts and poison the entire facility.
Implementing an automatic timer to run the ventilation system and release his laughing toxin, the villain then gleefully engaged his rival in a brutal fight, as his men cheered from above and threw grenades at Batman. In the end, he was defeated by Batman, who then proceeded to stop the timer and the rest Joker's operations within the prison. However, Batman also discovered that despite what Catwoman told him, Joker never actually interrupted the airflow to the Arkham Wing, causing Batman to become suspicious of Catwoman.
However, as a fail-safe, Joker made a deal with Catwoman (this plot point varies from game to game and the villain that Catwoman strikes a deal with was determined by which boss the player defeats last), who was also in the prison as part of her own designs, and gave her his explosives wrapped up as presents to be placed all throughout the prison. While Catwoman had no intentions of the explosives going off and simply used them as a diversion to keep Batman busy while she smuggles Bane, her true objective, out of the prison at the behest of Waller, Batman was forced to disarm them all to save the prison.
After stopping all of Joker's explosives, Batman would ensure that both Catwoman and Bane were put back into custody, ending both Joker and Catwoman's plans once and for all. However, before Joker could be put back into his cell, he manageed to murder two riot officers when they arrive to arrest him and disguises himself as one of them, using the disguise to escape from the prison to wreak further havoc on Gotham.
Before Assault on Arkham
As the years went on, Joker's violence and influence over the criminal underworld, Batman, and Gotham itself would only continue to grow. Joker's presence within Gotham led to a massive escalation in crime within the city as more and more unique criminals, eventually branded, "super-villains", began to appear to counter Batman's methods. Joker rose to the top of the criminal underworld and began to control a great deal of its operations, becoming responsible for a majority of the crimes being committed throughout the state. With inhumane experiments conducted on random victims to perfect his laughing toxin, the villain used this weaponized gas to a much more frequent degree during many of his crimes, leaving dozens of people literally laughing themselves to death, complete with a dead smile on their face. While both Batman and the people of Gotham had hoped that the recent reopening of Arkham Asylum would ensure that Joker would remain behind bars, the facility actually did little more than aid the Clown Prince of Crime.
Becoming one of the first new inmates of the reopened asylum after Batman recaptured him following his escape from Blackgate and using his apparent insanity as a shield from the death penalty, though some psychiatrists believed his insanity to simply be an act, Joker formed connections with other villains and criminals within the asylum, including Scarecrow, Victor Zsasz, and Clayface, and even managed to bribe several guards with his ill-gotten fortune, converting them into inside agents. Due to this, Joker saw Arkham as simply another staging ground to perform his various plans and even appeared to have the option to escape at will, even if that meant the staff never noticing.Batman himself became aware of this when the brutal murders of three children displayed all the signs of the Joker. As a result, Batman visited Joker in his cell for the first time, beating him and demanding to know how he got in and out of the asylum. Both shocked at Batman's sudden rage, Joker simply laughed at the Dark Knight and reveled in his anguish, denying any involvement in the deaths of the children, causing Batman to leave in disgust at both the villain and his own sudden anger and violence. After Batman left, Joker gleefully whispered to Quincy Sharp, now warden of the asylum after returning it to full operations, that he was in Batman's head. It was clear that Joker's influence over Batman was becoming stronger than ever, with the Clown Prince of Crime's unique sadism and disturbing nature haunting the hero's very thoughts.
Even the orderlies and psychiatrists were not immune to Joker's manipulation, as his sense of others was extraordinarily well developed and often influenced them to serve his own purposes. With his strong influence over both the inmate population and the staff, Joker often led riots and breakouts throughout and from the asylum, leading to city wide panics, trails of destruction, and numerous deaths. However, Joker's ultimate inside agent came in the form of the simple minded and easily impressionable psychiatrist, Harleen Quinzel, who had come to the asylum to continue studying Joker after being transferred from Blackgate Prison. Continuing his manipulation of the young woman during their therapy sessions, Joker easily seduced Harleen and convinced her to set him free on several occasions, all the while brainwashing her into believing he loved her and Batman was the true villain.
Eventually, Harleen's mind completely snapped when Batman returned a bruised and battered Joker back to the Asylum after one of his violent breakouts and crime sprees. The young psychiatrist assumed the alias of Harley Quinn, indicative of the court jester, Harlequin, broke Joker free from the Asylum, leading to the deaths of many security personnel and fellow employees alike, and became Joker's trusted sidekick, plaything, and sometimes girlfriend. From this point forward, Quinn's reputation was forever tarnished by her diluted love for the Joker, making it her sole motivation in life to earn his approval and would often end up locked up in the Asylum as well. Tragically for Harley, Joker simply used her to perform his plans, engage in sexual activities if the mood suited him, and abused and beat her, sometimes within an inch of her life, to feed his sadistic appetites.
Having firmly etched his authority over the criminal underworld, Joker's sadism and megalomania would also put him into conflict with other villains, leading to brutal gangs wars with the likes of Bane and the remains of his forces, with Joker possessing an underlying contempt for other super-criminals, believing that they were not of his stature. This became especially true with regards to the Penguin, who deeply respected Joker initially for conquering Black Mask's criminal empire, and invited him and Harley to his newly constructed and opened front and base of operations, the Iceberg Lounge, for a formal party amongst Gotham's elite and criminal underworld.
While Penguin was initially hoping to form an alliance with Joker and share in the massive amounts of power and influence he held, Penguin came to despise the villain after Joker proceeded to murder one of his waitresses with his acid spray for spilling wine on him and shooting and killing his doorman on a return trip, causing massive, negative publicity for his restaurant. As a result, Penguin forbade Joker and anyone affiliated with the villain from ever entering his establishment. This ultimately caused a destructive and bitter rivalry between the two gang leaders, with both seeking to destroy the other and take control of the power base left in the wake.
As he made enemies with other villains and gained more followers, Joker eventually heard tales of a brutal pair of Russian twin brothers, conjoined since birth, known as the Abramovici Twins. After their mother tragically passed away giving birth to them, the twins' guilt-stricken and grieving father reluctantly abandoned them to the care of a traveling circus and freak-show, seeing them as reminders of his wife's death. Known for their brutality within their performances, Joker sent Harley to negotiate with the circus owner to acquire the twins, now known as Mr. Hammer and Sickle, and their natural violence for his own purposes. Refusing to give up his prized performers, the owner eventually met with a grim fate three months later when Joker brutally murdered him with a knife and carved a smile into his face, hiring the twins to become a part of his criminal empire.
While the twins proved to be an invaluable asset to the criminal mastermind, Joker eventually realized that their large stature from their conjoint state and brotherly rivalry makes them less effective than they would be if they were separate and alone. With the help of Dr. Thomas Elliot, a world-renowned surgeon who often offered his skills to the criminal underworld and black market as he made his own plans for revenge on Bruce Wayne, Joker was able to separate the twins. Keeping the right-armed one for himself (the joke being that he created a literal right-hand man), Mr. Hammer, the Clown Prince of Crime abandoned Sickle to the brutal and violent streets of Gotham. Infuriated that he has been abandoned yet again, Sickle took up employment from the Penguin, believing that his brother had betrayed him, and made it his mission to prove himself to be the more worthy twin.
As he consolidated his numbers with Abramovici now as his literal right-hand man, Joker often used fear and torture to exert his control over his gang and satisfy his lust for violence. While many men were tortured and murdered by Joker on a whim, either because of failure, disloyalty, or simply for pure enjoyment, most of Joker's gang served him loyally due to their boss's inclination to allow them to keep most of the spoils from their various heists and exploits, having no concern for money outside of what was necessary for his operations, and simply wished to create chaos to lure Batman into the crossfires. Others were often forced to perform acts of random and pointless violence, including one thug being ordered to murder his own sister, simply for a laugh and serve as a test of loyalty.
Joker's deadly plans themselves ranged from small-time schemes meant to target Batman specifically to large-scale operations that threatened the entire city, country, and even the world itself on several occasions. Some were silly in nature, such as poisoning Gotham's waters to create 'Joker Fish' and copyright them even as they were a natural resource, to inhumanly brutal crimes, including a city wide massacre on the fourth of July that took the lives of thousands of men, women, and children through toxin induced fireworks derived from his laughing gas. His crimes were both inhumanly brutal and bizarre, from unlicensed taxidermy and corpse desecration to cannibalism and even attempted omnicide, in his thirst for anarchy and carving a legacy for himself that would never be forgotten.
In addition to his more elaborate plans to employ physical and psychological games on Batman and attack Gotham, Joker also relished in exploits that were purely random acts of barbarism meant to accomplish nothing beyond satisfying his love of sadistic torture and violence. Such acts included replacing holy water with hydrochloric acid during a baptism at Gotham Church, that presumably resulted in the horrific death of at least one child going through baptism (which Joker would later recall as being "one Hell of a baptism!"), and killing a soprano by tearing out her vocal chords and keeping them as sadistic souvenir. Joker even managed to somehow get himself onto an election ballot and attempt to run for President of the United States, even going as far as to release political ads promoting himself to get into the presidency for the occasion.
With thousands of victims being claimed by his sick designs, Joker's presence within Gotham was a constant reminder to Batman of the true evil that can lurk within a human being and how easily it can be for the hero to lose sight of his moral compass as his battles with Joker continued to pile up. Joker himself hoped to push the Dark Knight into committing his first murder with his own death, believing that everyone is corruptible and a monster on the inside, especially Batman. This intent was layered within the foundations of nearly every one of his crimes and plans, with Joker letting Batman live on countless occasions when he had the chance to kill him and even refusing to uncover his true identity, believing the reveal would be anti-climatic and spoil their physical and mental battles.
As Joker's reign of terror and gang wars with the Penguin continued, the villain and Harley lit fire to one of Penguin's delivery trucks, containing cigarettes and contraband meant to be sold onto the streets, and dumped it into the river. This caused the feud between the murderous couple and the Penguin to intensify as the crime boss lost a considerable amount of expenses as a result. During the course of this crime, Joker proceeded to kick Harley Quinn out of their escape car while it was moving, presumably giving her severe enough injuries to leave her with bruises. This resulted in her temporarily breaking off her relationship from the Joker, being fed up with his abuse, though Joker's influence would forever have a hold on her.
Roughly a decade after his arrival and rise to power within Gotham, the Joker had somehow managed to steal a dirty bomb with enough destructive power to wipe out more than half of the city's population with the Riddler's involvement, and hid it somewhere inside Gotham while imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. Because of this, Batman was tasked with finding the dirty bomb, which resulted in him directly interfering with a separate operation conducted by Amanda Waller against the Riddler, although he kept its location a secret even from the Riddler. His actions were also indirectly responsible for the Suicide Squad's initiation due to Batman's interference in Waller's operation.
Eventually, he discovered that his henchwoman, Harley Quinn, seemingly dumped him in favor of a new guy, although he soon discovered that her earlier assault on him just gave him an opportunity to escape. He then killed several guards, and attempted to hold up whom he believed was Batman (eventually being impressed with the gun when Batman's head seemed to explode), although he soon discovered otherwise.
He soon deduced the Suicide Squad's location based on "Denzel's" earpiece still being functional, and made an ambush on the Suicide Squad with explosive marbles (shortly after the real Batman was exposed by the Riddler as having replaced Black Spider to the rest of the Suicide Squad). Eventually, he made a transmission to Batman revealing that he intended to leak "tainted love" throughout the city, and also released all of the Arkham Asylum inmates (Two-Face, Bane, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow) to hold Batman off, anticipating the likelihood that Batman would try to stop him.
He eventually, alongside Harley Quinn (who succumbed to her attraction to the Joker once again), managed to stow away on a helicopter that Deadshot managed to hijack, and got into a fight with him, resulting in Harley Quinn crashing into an under-construction building due to being extremely inexperienced with piloting a chopper as well as Batman pursuing them. Joker then confronted Deadshot, where the clown-like psychopath tried to kill his former hire in a toe-to-toe battle.
He eventually managed to subdue him after knocking him into a glass panel, although with enough effort that he even admitted that he was "a real pain in [Joker's] ass" for someone who wasn't Batman. However, Deadshot managed to overpower him despite his wounded state, even trapping him inside the crashed helicopter and knocking it down to the street below, although he managed to laugh at his seemingly inevitable death. Batman managed to disarm the bomb, thanks to explicit instructions left by the Joker, after subduing Harley Quinn separately.
Despite being trapped in a helicopter crash, he managed to escape into the night. Amanda Waller later alluded to this when taunting Batman. Additionally, it is implied by Joker's instructions to deactivate the bomb, that the villain truly had no intention of the device detonating and knew that Batman would eventually reach him as usual. This latest plan seemed to simply be another sick distraction in Joker's games with Batman, having much bigger plans in store for the hero.
Batman would eventually recapture the villain yet again and send him back to Arkham Asylum. With continuous breakouts occurring, Batman utilized his later-ego, Bruce Wayne, to fund increased security measures at the asylum, while Warden Sharp implemented his own initiatives as part of his own agenda. Unaware to both men and Arkham's staff, Joker's most deadly plans would eventually be formed on the foundations of the asylum, where its grounds would play host to one of the longest nights in Batman's career and Bruce's life.
Before a Matter of Family
Eventually reaching his breaking point with the villain, Quincy Sharp hired Dr. Penelope Young, a well-known and reputable therapist, to work at the asylum, authorizing her to implement several research and experimental operations at the institution to cure the most deadly patients, especially the Joker. However, Quincy secretly knew that Joker could not be cured and longed to murder him himself, using Dr. Young's employment at the asylum to simply gain political points for his mayoral campaign.
The warden himself was being manipulated via mind control drugs, disguised as medical pills to treat a heavily concealed mental illness, supplied to him by Professor Hugo Strange, a power hungry psychiatrist working at the asylum with plans of his own to exploit both the nature of the institution and its inmates for his own ends. Joker became aware of this fact himself after noticing Strange observing him in his cell on several occasions and Sharp's altered behavior, using this knowledge to his advantage and as leverage years later.
Among the most pivotal of Dr. Young's experiments was 'Project Titan', the research into formulating a chemical compound in order to bolster a patient's strength and invulnerability to help them cope with the more extreme forms of therapy. However, Dr. Young also became absorbed by her own ambitions and believed that the project could breed a strong class of meta-humans that could be sold throughout the globe to interested parties. To this end, the doctor had become intrigued by the compound, 'Venom', used extensively by Bane, having conducted therapy sessions with the brute when he was temporarily moved to Arkham Asylum before the Suicide Squad's mission, and believed that the chemicals derived from the drug could be the perfect foundation for her own serum.
However, Dr. Young hit a wall in her research when she ran out of funding and could not contrive a method to obtain the Venom she needed from Bane. This would soon change as, unknown to Dr. Young, Joker had learned of her project from his associate, Scarecrow, having been asked to use his chemical expertise to help in the project by the doctor, believing Crane to be well on his way to being cured. However, the reality was that Crane lusted to use his own findings in the Titan research to perfect his own signature fear toxin and collaborated with Joker to plan a brutal riot at the Asylum that would serve both their purposes. Specifically, Joker planned to use the Titan formula to create an army of mindless monsters under his control and use them to destroy Gotham and finish his battles with Batman, while Scarecrow lusted to unleash a new strain of fear toxin into Gotham to break the mind of every citizen forever and expose Batman's greatest fears.
Posing as one of his oldest aliases, Jack White, Joker used underground channels to fund Dr. Young's research with his ill-gotten fortune and pulled the strings to have Bane transferred out of Blackgate Penitentiary and into the asylum, with Gotham's populace believing he escaped from the prison and fled Gotham. With everything she needed, Dr. Young began to drain large quantities of Venom from Bane and ruthlessly experimented on many of the Arkham patients, causing many of them the last remnants of their sanity. While it would take some time before the Titan formula would be completed to suit Joker's desires, the foundation of his plans were now in order. Joker then turned his attention towards ensuring that, when such a time came, the brutal battles that would play out would only be between him and his eternal rival and friend; Batman.
A Matter of Family
- "You've seen what happens when you drag your friends into this crazy little game of ours."
- ―The Joker taunting Batman on getting his allies involved in their battles
During the course of this campaign of mindless violence, Joker abducted, tortured, murdered, and dismembered an entire kindergarten class, knowing of Jason's empathy for children, and stitched their body parts together in horrendous and mocking formations, leaving a trail of blood from the crime scene to an abandoned, underground wing of Arkham Asylum. As Jason watched a mother cry and attempt to put her son back together, he noticed the blood trail and followed it to the forgotten sanatorium of Arkham Asylum, turning off all his communications and equipment in order to ensure that Batman does not track him and attempt to prevent Joker's death.
When Jason entered the wing, intent to kill the Joker once and for all, this played directly into the villain's hand, who proceeded to knock out Jason with a crowbar, knocking out several teeth and breaking his ankle in the process, and abducted and entrapped the teenager within the wing to torture him over the course of a year. The forgotten halls of the asylum served as the perfect grounds to torture and humiliate Todd as, even when eventually caught and locked up once again, Joker had access to the wing thanks to several guards on his payroll, and Batman would never suspect that Jason was just below the surface of a fully functional institution.
With plenty of time, access, and resources, Joker crudely tied Jason to a wheelchair with barbed wire and rope within the filthy and abandoned wing and regularly beat him within an inch of his life with a crowbar, brutalized him with electrical and surgical implements, and convinced him that Batman had forgotten about him by showing him a picture of his new sidekick in training, Tim Drake. As his torture continued throughout the months, Joker eventually strung Jason up by his arms from the ceiling and branded him with a red-hot iron rod, in the shape of a 'J', on his face to signify that he belongs to him now.Filling Jason with raw emotion and rage towards Batman, Joker finally had Todd sit in front of a camera and voice his hatred of the Dark Knight before asking him for the man's true identity. As Jason prepared to answer, Joker quickly shot Jason in the chest, seemingly murdering him, and sent the footage to Batman to further torture the hero, blaming Jason's death on the Dark Knight.
However, the truth was that Joker kept Jason alive and continued to torture him for several more months, having deceived Batman into believing the young man to be dead, as he felt Jason's hatred of his former mentor was too good of an opportunity to kill off. Abducting a doctor from the asylum, Joker had the unfortunate man patch Jason up, his armor having felt the blunt of the bullet impact, and then immediately murdered the doctor after his usefulness served its purpose. True to Joker's prediction, Jason eventually fled from Gotham after his final days of torture some months later and created a new identity for himself, eventually becoming known as the Arkham Knight, to plan his revenge on Joker and Batman and eventually kill him for failing to save him from the psychopath and apparently replacing him with Tim Drake.
Having successfully tortured and brainwashed Jason into hating his former mentor and deceiving Batman into believing his adoptive son to be dead, Joker next moved his sights on Batgirl and the second Robin, Tim Drake. With Batman's surrogate family in disarray with Jason long gone, Joker and Harley Quinn formulated a brutal plan to murder the two remaining sidekicks. They knew that they needed the perfect location to embark on such an agenda; a desolate area that was custom made to suit their needs. To this end, Joker utilized his inside agents within Arkham Asylum to escape unnoticed from the institution and, with the help of Harley, targeted billionaire industrialist and oil baron, Edward Burke, who had the resources, finances, and just the right amount of tragedy in his life needed to complete their plans.
With Harley and Joker disguised as Dr. Harleen Quinzel and alias, Jack White, respectively and knowing that Burke's young five year-old daughter, Katie, has been battling a case of cancer for years, Harley approached him and introduced him to 'Mr. White'. The pair eventually convinced the man to use his resources to construct an amusement park for his young daughter, as a way of uplifting her spirits. Joker helped Burke outline the blueprints for the park, formulating many of the layouts and attractions himself, in preparation for his plans to come, while Harley became Burke's psychiatrist to help him cope with his tragic situation, allowing the villains full access to manipulate Burke's emotions.
With encouragement from Harley, Burke retired from his job and worked on the park full-time, spending time with his daughter at the hospital and using drawings she made as inspiration for rides at the park, promising his daughter that she would be the first to see the park before it opens. However, when Katie's condition worsened, Joker referred Burke to Dr. Penelope Young, an aspiring therapist who was currently working at Arkham Asylum. Unknown to Burke and Dr. Young, Joker has also been manipulating the young woman under the same alias for several other plans he was cooking up at Arkham Asylum and knew that, while her medication would help Katie in the short-term, allowing him the time needed to complete the amusement park, it would eventually worsen her condition and ensure a slow and painful death.
Eventually, Burke was able to complete the Seagate Park as his daughter seemed to finally be doing better, built off the coast of Gotham City atop one of his oil rigs, with the only setback being several inspectors threatening to shut the park down due to safety issues. In response, Joker murdered the inspectors, telling Burke that he managed to convince them to approve of the park, and was able to complete their project once and for all. However, Dr. Young's experimental medications finally began to take their toll on Katie as Joker instructed Dr. Young, not knowing of the true danger held within her drugs due to Joker's contamination and saw the girl as a useful test subject to further her own research, to triple her dosage of "special meds". As planned, this accelerated Katie's cancer and caused a much more slow, painful, and agonizing death for the young girl.
Joker, still posing as Jack White, blamed Burke for his own daughter's death, as he implied that Gotham General, the hospital she staying out prior to meeting Joker and Harley, was not the proper place to check Katie into. He managed to convince Burke to give him the lease for the park, now that his motivation and daughter are both gone, as Harleen reaffirmed to the man that his pain and misery will never go away. Pulling the last string, Joker convinced Burke to commit suicide and gave him his own medical pills to ensure a quick and peaceful death.
Burke agreed, but when he took the pills in his office at the park, it was revealed that they were laced with Joker's laughing toxin, causing Burke to slowly and painfully die with a smile on his face on his bed, just as he finally realized the truth of his former friend. The park was left unopened due to never receiving a permit as Joker murdered the inspectors and Edward Burke's status was officially marked as "missing" by the GCPD due to a body never being found. Unknown to the authorities, Joker left Burke's corpse to rot away within the office, with the body eventually being reduced to a mere skeleton, as he converted the park into a new base of operations.
With the park now under their complete control, Joker, Harley, and dozens of their followers attacked the GCPD and abducted Commissioner Gordon and over a dozen police officers. At least one of these unfortunate officers was brutally tortured and murdered by Joker, who proceeded to wear his blood stained uniform. Acting as a hostage, Joker had several of his men guard him at one of their hideouts and waited for Batgirl to show-up, who was working off a tip, which was also orchestrated by the villain to commence his sadistic trap. Arriving at the hideout and defeating all of Joker's men, Batgirl is startled and frightened when she realizes the apparent officer she was rescuing was the Joker, having never faced the psychopath without Batman at her side.
Taunting her, Joker informed Batgirl that Commissioner Gordon and several of his officers are being held hostage at the Seagate Amusement Park and only she and Robin were allowed to rescue him, threatening to murder Gordon if Batman is made aware of the situation. With all the pieces lined up, Joker escapes and allows Batgirl to go to the park, predicting that she would also inform Robin due to her inexperience with such a situation. Believing that Batman's sidekicks distract him from the villain's plans and game of cat and mouse, Joker hoped that the death of Batman's remaining sidekicks would allow their battles to revert to their original circumstances of simply being between him and the Dark Knight.
Situating himself in his amusement park, Joker proceeded to murder some of his own henchmen, including a man named Paulie, in his own spare time as he waited for his intended victims to show up. Transforming the park into a death trap, setting off sections to blow with explosives and laughing toxin, and holding the various police officers hostage, some of whom were viciously tortured and murdered and, with the holiday of Valentine's Day approaching, Joker planned to kill both Batgirl and Robin as a twisted holiday gift for Batman, who was still coping with the loss of Jason. As Batgirl and Robin made their way to the park on the lifts and rescued an officer being held hostage, Joker fired an RPG at them, sacrificing several of his henchmen in the process
Arriving at the derelict park, Tim and Barbara were forced to fight off scores of Joker's followers, navigate through death traps, deactivate the time bombs, and ultimately face off against Joker and Harley in a showdown. Despite the overwhelming odds, Joker and Harley were eventually defeated by Batgirl and Robin's combined efforts and their plans of further destroying Batman's family were ruined. Unfortunately, as police raid the park, Joker used Harley as a hostage and, after a failed attempt on Robin's life, jumped off the oil rig and opened a parachute, escaping onto shore and into the night.
Rescuing Commissioner Gordon, Barbara's alter-ego as Batgirl, though greatly shaken from the experience, begun to further rise to fame within Gotham as Harley was arrested and sent back to Arkham once again, though Joker was still out there, ready to embark on his next schemes. With Batman's sidekicks shaken, Joker decided to specifically target Commissioner Gordon next, both in revenge for his earlier escape from the villain's plans and to further attack Batman's network of allies, hoping to additionally prove to both Batman and Gotham City that even the most noble of men can be corrupted and pushed into madness.
To this end, Joker disguised himself as a delivery man with a candy package and headed to Barbara Gordon's apartment, though he was unaware of her alter-ego. Upon Barbara (who had been reading at home at the time) answering the door, believing it was her friend Colleen, he then announced his presence by yelling "Candy-gram!" and proceeded to shoot Barbara Gordon through the spine as she attempted to flee, paralyzing her from the waist down. Taking violent photos of Barbara in various states of distress, as well as making sick jokes regarding her paralysis, Joker eventually left while gleefully alluding to Commissioner Gordon being furious at the "mess" he caused at Barbara's apartment once he returns home.
Joker eventually abducted Gordon once again and forced him to relive the same situation of being imprisoned within a theme park, presumably the Seagate Park once again as a sadistic calling card to Batman, though this time, he was forced to watch a crudely made slideshow of his daughter, bleeding and paralyzed, in an effort to drive the commissioner insane. In the end, Gordon retained his sanity as Batman rescued him, cornered Joker and, in a rare moment of sympathy, genuinely reached out to his foe, asking to help him give up his life as "The Joker", in order to finally end their inhumane war with each other before anyone else dies.
In an equally unique moment of respect, Joker seemed to sincerely appreciate Batman trying to help him before declaring that it was far too late for him and his life will forever be committed to their battles. As Joker recited a joke that personified his feelings on how the world views him, entailing that society will eventually give up on trying to understand and redeem a man such as himself and will forever be outcasted due to his numerous crimes, the two rivals shared in a laugh as Batman once again resisted the immense temptation to end the Joker's life and apprehended him. The villain was finally sent back to Arkham Asylum, but Barbara's life as Batgirl tragically came to an end, but also led to the chain of events that created her new persona as Oracle.
As Batman attempted to heal his family with Jason believed to be dead and Barbara paralyzed, Tim Drake's heroic actions at the Seagate Park finally convinced Batman that the young man was fully qualified to bear the mantle of 'Robin'. Meanwhile, the Joker was far from finished and was preparing to unleash plans years in the making that would forever change the fate of Gotham City, Batman, and the world itself.
Road to Arkham
After Joker was recaptured by Batman yet again and sent back to the asylum, Dr. Young's Titan project was nearing completion with little over a year of research and experimentation required. Continuing to experiment on Bane, Dr. Young pumped nearly every ounce of Venom from the villain's body to finally complete her project, leaving the unfortunate man strung up within a secret lab and barely clinging to life. Believing Joker to be an ideal, first candidate for the research, Dr. Young was horrified when Joker revealed during one of their therapy sessions that he was behind the entire project, having funded the research and pulled the strings to have Bane moved to the asylum. Guilt stricken with all that she has done under the villain's manipulation, Dr. Young transferred the money back to Joker and put a block on her account.
Never one to appreciate when his partners back out of an agreement, Joker began to blackmail and threaten the doctor, before brutally escaping from the asylum after Sharp, under the influence of Strange, attempted to kill him with a knife. With the aid of Scarecrow's new fear toxin, Joker was able to stun Sharp and threaten him with his own knife, before letting him live (believing Sharp's mental state to be a valuable asset to him) and escaping, viciously murdering three guards in the process. For two months, Joker remained under the radar within Gotham City, carefully planning his every move to obtain the Titan formula and create his army himself. Sending threats to Dr. Young and her family, including an image of a deceased infant, Joker warned his former associate that he would be coming for her.
Setting a massive fire to Blackgate Penitentiary via a mole among the Arkham personnel, the crooked security guard Frank Boles, Joker instigated a sequence of events that allowed over a thousand of his crew to be transferred from the prison and into the asylum. Meanwhile, Quinn had managed to convince some of the asylum orderlies that she was well on her way to becoming reformed, and was allowed to assist them in their day to day operations. This gave Quinn access to many security measures at the asylum, enabling her to secretly release several inmates who were informed and part of Joker's schemes, including Scarecrow and Zsasz, and would make it all the easier for Joker to take over the area. With everything in place, Joker just needed to give Batman an incentive to escort him back to the asylum.At the height of his power and influence, the Joker and his goons raided Gotham City Hall, claiming that the city had "a paucity of parking spots designated for clown cars," and took the Mayor hostage, tying him up and strapping a bomb patterned after the colors of the American Flag to his chest. As the Joker taunted the Mayor, he expressed his displeasure that Batman hadn't shown up who ironically attacked moments later.
The Joker tried to escape via a large parachute but was stopped by Batman, who proceeded to escort the Joker to Arkham Asylum. In addition, as a direct result of Joker's assault on the Mayor, the Mayor declared that he was resigning from his position, having had enough of the city. Batman, however, sensed that the Joker went down too easily. True to his instincts, Batman would eventually learn that Joker's latest crime spree and capture were all orchestrated by the Clown Prince of Crime to begin his latest schemes. Joker's most recent plans would involve Arkham Asylum itself and his continued manipulation of Dr. Young. As they got close to the Asylum, the Joker then attempted to threaten that he had a bomb, before realizing to his amusement that he doesn't actually have one.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
- "Welcome to the madhouse, Batman! I set a trap and you sprang it gloriously! Now let's get this party started."
- ―The Joker proclaiming his trap to Batman within Arkham Asylum[src]
Batman arrived at Arkham in the Batmobile, taking the Joker to the Intensive Care Facility personally, as the villain previously did not put up too much of a fight and seemed too happy to be back at Arkham Asylum. Overseen by the warden himself, the villain was strapped to a prisoner movement trolly and wheeled through Intensive Care by a variety of guards, including Boles, with Batman following close by.
During the escort, the Joker made shrewd remarks to many of the Arkham Staff including Warden Quincy Sharp, Officer Aaron Cash and Dr. Penelope Young. After spooking a member of the medical staff observing him for any injuries from his most recent fight with Batman, Joker was taken down to the lower levels via the elevator, while Killer Croc was being escorted back to his cell. During the elevator journey, Joker commented on the convenience of a fire occurring at Blackgate Penitentiary, as it enabled hundreds of his crew to be moved into Arkham, implying to Batman that it was no coincidence and allowed him to have a ready-made army at his fingertips. Shortly afterwards, a blackout occurred throughout the facility, causing the Joker to laugh hysterically before having his neck clutched by Batman as the lights turned back on.
As the Joker was moved into the lobby area, one of the guards remarked that he'll pay for killing three of his friends during his previous escape, to which Joker, in foreshadowing what's to come, expressed disappointment that he only killed three, and promised to kill more, namely aiming for a hundred more deaths of personnel. Upon arrival to the lobby area, he was unstrapped and escorted by a guard and medical assistant, while Batman and Commissioner Gordon looked on. Unknown to all but Joker, Harley Quinn was already in control of the asylum's security, while Scarecrow was monitoring the situation himself from a makeshift lair, waiting for Joker to commence their plans. Joker soon took the opportunity to break free at Harley's signal.
Pretending to stumble and trip, the Joker bashed his guard in the face with the back of his head when the guard demanded him to get up. He then used his handcuffs to strangle the guard, forcing the doctor to unhook the Joker to save the guard. Joker strangled the guard to death before the doctor could save him, and when his cuffs were finally off, kicked the doctor down, breaking his ribcage and killing him as well. The Joker then coldly said to the dead guard "The choke's on you!", imitated a playful laugh, and pointed at the security door with a "Ta-da!". He looked up at the security camera and told Harley he was home. She then let him in by opening up the adjacent electrical doorway, allowing the Joker to access the cell controls.
He ran behind the energy screen just as Batman managed to break through the viewing window and into the room. He taunted the Dark Knight for springing his trap and released his followers from Blackgate out of their cells, officially commencing the Arkham riots. He then announced after "interrupting" the entertainment for the Arkham residents that he originally intended to kill everyone in the room and then watch cartoons, but decided against it due to wanting a captive audience. After Batman defeated a round of thugs (including four prisoners that had come straight from Blackgate that had a combined prison sentence of 752 years that acted as "round 2"), let loose from the adjacent cells, the Joker left the room and made his way to the patient transfer unit. Batman informed Gordon he would find a way out, but Joker told Batman not to make promises he couldn't keep, as he was in control of the asylum and therefore where Batman was able to go. As Batman told Joker he wouldn't let him escape, the villain cut off his "hero speak" and goaded him into pursuing him.
Around the same time, Joker took complete control of the security systems, isolated Arkham Asylum from the network grid, and leaked a taped message to all the major news networks, claiming that he had placed bombs all throughout Gotham City, including a hospital, kindergarten, and Bruce Wayne's mansion, and would detonate them if anyone set foot on Arkham Island, including the police, newscasters, and any other vigilantes and heroes. As a result, Gotham descended into panic, as authorities restricted all access to the island, including air space, leaving the staff at the mercy of Joker's deranged designs and Batman to stop the riots by himself. However, Batman accurately predicted that there were no actual bombs and Joker's threat was simply a twisted diversion to keep the city occupied while Joker concentrated on his true objectives.
With both the Asylum and Gotham in chaos, Joker made his way to patient transfer, murdering ten more guards who stood in his way and released his deadly laughing toxin into the air ducts of decontamination (the toxin having been prepared by his inside agents prior to his arrival), killing sixteen people, including several henchmen he left behind within the room. At the same time, the freed Zsasz slaughtered an Arkham guard and took another one hostage in patient pacification, strapping him to a chair wired with electricity.
After Batman incapacitated Zsasz and rescued the guard, Harley Quinn revealed herself via the area's monitor, took control of the room, trapping everyone behind the room's electrical gates as a result, and revealed that she had the warden tied up and as her hostage. Batman was able to easily escape from the room via one of the air ducts, turned the ventilation system back on in decontamination to clear out the laughing toxin, and followed Joker's trail of spray painted smiles and arrows, as well as dead bodies, to finally locate the villain within the patient transfer room. The Joker opened up a large patient transfer cell he was standing on, releasing a large experimental monster, implying that highly dangerous and unethical research was being conducted at the asylum, which Joker was privy to.
The monster attacked Batman before going into cardiac arrest from the imperfect expriments that resulted in his mutation, much to the Joker's annoyance, who noted that he would need stronger test subjects later in the night. Taunting Batman, the Joker allowed the hero one free shot at him, which would cause him to fall to his death and end the madness. Batman drew a Batarang, but hesitated and was unable to willingly kill his enemy, causing the Joker to laugh at him and his predictability. The villain escaped via the patient transfer system and told Batman that he was organizing a party with the other villains from all over Arkham. Whilst Batman tried to get the transfer unit working again, the Joker appeared on a monitor showing Batman an image of a treacherous Frank Boles, revealed to be an inside agent for the villain, knocking out Gordon and taking him hostage, ready to kill him.
With Joker having locked out the entire staff from accessing the asylum's control systems, Batman was unable to pursue Joker via the transfer unit and attempted to track down Gordon by detecting the alcohol Boles left in the air from his flask. Meanwhile, Joker's army seized complete control of the island piece by piece, gaining access to the guard armory, and nearly wiped out the entire Arkham staff, leaving only a handful alive to be used as hostages or because they were useful towards Joker's plans. Joker situated himself within the heart of the Visitor Center, converting it into his main base of operations, as his men began to reconstruct it into his likeness, including the roof, which Joker intended to use as an arena to defeat Batman once and for all after all his plans were in order. Boles himself murdered three of his fellow guards and handed Gordon over to Harley to be moved to the medical facility, just as her men finished massacering the rest of the staff within Intensive Treatment. He then explained how he got Boles to work for him. In order to ensure Batman could not tail him via the elevator, he had the elevator wired with a bomb and come crashing down via Harley Quinn detonating the bomb. He then, anticipating that Batman was listening in, then played an audio tape depicting Boles, under the pretense of there being more Joker thugs arriving at the front entrance, luring several Arkham security staff to the front entrance, before promptly gunning them down after one of them got suspicious, and then proceeded to give Harley the all-clear to explain how they were going to get past all the guards.
The Joker soon caught onto Batman's tracking methods to locate Boles and had the guard killed, no longer needing him, and sent his men to prevent Batman from escaping the Intensive Treatment building, threatening to murder their families if they failed. The Joker then sent out a false transmission to lure many of the remaning guards to the east side of the island to make security even more lax and mangeable to take out in the more critical areas of the asylum. The villain even took control of the intercom system, christening the island as his own and telling his goons to destroy the Batmobile as he took over the west and north sides of the island. As Batman escaped from Intensive Treatment and defeated the thugs attacking the Batmobile, the hero began tracking Gordon's movements by tracing tobacco from a smoke pipe the commissioner intentionally left behind for Batman to find.
Meanwhile, as Joker's crew took over the penitentiary, leaving over a dozen dead, his next target was the medical facility, where he ordered his men to kill all the orderlies and round up all the doctors in the area, most importantly Penelope Young, who had the information he needed to complete the Titan formula. Joker also set his eyes on the Venom storages that Dr. Young had secured from Bane, which was the key component necessary to create the Titan serum. To keep Batman busy, Joker had Dr. Chen restrained and tortured within the surgery room and pumped in laughing toxin within the observation wing to kill Aaron Cash and Dr. Kellerman. Dr. Young was personally guarded by Joker's men until safe passage was guaranteed to take her to Joker, while Harley escorted Gordon down to the experimental chamber of the facility, as Joker's men secured the storages of Venom.
Batman defeated Joker's men and rescued the captive doctors, alongside Aaron Cash, who left with Dr. Young to find her research at the Arkham Mansion to keep it safe from the Clown Prince. Having previously collaborated with the Scarecrow to plan the riots, Joker sent the mad doctor to the Medical Facility as well, where Crane proceeded to slaughter several medical staff and guards, as well as a patient, with the use of his enhanced fear toxin, which was pumped throughout the facility's lower floors via the air conditioning system. Batman himself was infected when exiting the elevator and began to experience the death of his parents and Commissioner Gordon, before ultimately escaping Scarecrow's hallucination and making his way to Jim, who was conveniently placed near Bane's holding cell.
After Batman rescued Gordon from Harley, who slipped away in the confusion, and realized that Dr. Young was experimenting on Bane and extracted nearly every ounce of Venom from his body for other uses, the Joker pumped a large amount of Titan into Bane, instigating a fight between him and Batman. Joker was disappointed with Bane's inability to put up a fight against Batman and ordered his goons to assist him, though Batman defeated them all, cutting off Bane's supply of Titan in the process. As Batman escaped back outside the medical facility, Bane bursted through the walls and attempted to break Batman's back once again, before planning on going after Dr. Young in retribution for her experiments on him. Batman remotely controlled the Batmobile to ram Bane off the island and into the Gotham Bay, while Gordon was escorted back to the mainland by security to help contain the chaos within Gotham caused by Joker's threats to detonate bombs hidden throughout the city. Unshaken by this as he already had the Venom in his possession, Joker next had his men search the Arkham Mansion for Dr. Young and her formula.
With the assistance of Oracle, who hacked into Dr. Young's accounts and operations while she was employed at the asylum, Batman was able to piece together the true scope of Joker's plans. Knowing that Dr. Young was experimenting on both Bane and Venom, as well as learning of her funding via one of Joker's oldest aliases, Jack White, and the subsequent threats he sent to the doctor and her family, Batman quickly deduced that Joker had intended the entire time to create an army of a thousand Banes, comprised mostly of his men transferred from Blackgate, via the use of the Titan strain, which came to fruition through his funding, manipulation, and eventual blackmail of Dr. Young and her staff, and destroy the entire city. The Dark Knight realized that Joker feigned surrender during the attack on the Mayor earlier in the night to ensure that Batman himself was on the island, where the villain would commence the riots, making it the perfect setup for a final showdown with his nemesis.
As Batman discovered the villain's true plans, Joker located Zsasz in the Botanical Gardens, after Zsasz murdered several more guards to add to his self-inflicted tally marks, and enlisted his help to deal with Dr. Young. As Joker's men wiped out the remaining pockets of resistance throughout Arkham East and the mansion, taking several surviving guards hostage, including Louie Green, who was moved to the penitentiary to be used as collateral later, and Aaron Cash, who was held within the records office of the Arkham mansion to be tortured for information on Dr. Young's whereabouts. With his men searching the entire mansion for the formula, Joker sent Scarecrow to gas the library, where Batman was currently located, with his signature fear toxin, after the hero saved Aaron Cash, as well as two hostages from a fake bomb of the Joker's creation.
As Batman relived the fateful night that occurred in Crime Alley decades ago due to the effects of the toxin, Joker exposed Dr. Young to Zsasz's psychotic torture techniques within the warden's office. After brutally torturing the formula out of her, Zsasz held Young by knife-point in the office and threatened to kill her if Batman approached. Joker told Zsasz to just kill her, as she was useless to him since he had already gotten both Venom and the Titan formula. Batman, after escaping Scarecrow's second hallucination, incapacitated Zsasz once again and rescued the doctor. Despite this, Dr. Young was still killed when she opened the warden's safe, which was outfitted with a bomb by Joker, to gain access to the asylum's security protocols, killing her instantly.
Harley then entered the room and had her thugs prepare Batman for the 'party' Joker was planning towards the end of the night to commence the transition of chaos into the city. The hero defeated them and followed Harley after discovering a secret room containing Sharp's secret blueprints and plans for the city, which came to fruition via Hugo Strange's control over the warden, rescuing Sharp at the penitentiary by tracking his DNA. Batman then witnessed, via the security feed, Harley releasing Poison Ivy, who was vengeful towards Dr. Young for using the plants within the Botanical Gardens in her experiments for the Titan project. Adding to the chaos, Joker then unleashed the more violent, insane inmates all over the island, many of whom were the results of Dr. Young and Joker's inhumane experiments to perfect project Titan, among other unethical research and operations, resulting in several of his men being violently killed by the lunatics. Batman went after Harley while combating the lunatics and scores of Joker's men, rescuing Louie Green and another Arkham guard in the process.
Harley's failure prompted Joker to remove her from the party list, as Batman defeated and locked her up, using her DNA traces from around the island to track Joker to the Botanical Gardens, where the Titan production facility was hidden. Fighting past Joker's men, Batman located the villain within a flooded corridor after a shootout left several officers and members of Joker's crew dead and attempted to reach out to any possible humanity within Joker and urged him to stop in his deranged plans and designs before they went too far. Displaying nothing more than gleeful anticipation at the horror he was about to unleash upon Gotham City, Joker threw an Arkham guard, Thomas Armbruster, into the water within the flooded room and kicked in the room's circuit box after the unfortunate man, electrocuting him to death. As an additional measure to impede Batman's progress through the room, Joker then detonated bombs that blew down the ceiling of the corridor he escaped through.
Shutting down the generator to the room electrifying the water after dismantling Joker's makeshift security measures on the control box and saving a janitor, Carl Todd, Batman was able to continue through the gardens via the air ducts that connected to the sewer network. Meanwhile, Joker and several of his men took the rest of the botanical staff hostage and loaded them into cages, dangling them over a large drop to the sewer network, as the villain took control of the Titan production facility, slaughtering the five officers guarding it, and began to conduct his final experiments to complete the formula, using at least two of his men as guinea pigs, both of whom horrifically perished from imperfect mutations and were then thrown into the sewers. Sneaking in from those same sewers, Batman saved the staff and finally located the secret lab that Joker had been using to create the Titan serum on a massive scale.
Joker demonstrated the successful Titan strain he had just managed to create by injecting two of his thugs and having them attack Batman before escaping from the gardens, murdering the two botanical staff members Batman rescued just moments earlier in the process, simply for a laugh. Batman defeated the monsters, noting that the Titan strain was being produced by plant hybrides that were mutated with the use of Venom, and coerced Ivy, who rejoined her plants within the greenhouse, into informing him how to stop the Titan strain by killing one of her plants. Infuriated after Batman left her in the greenhouse, Ivy joined forces with Joker, who revealed over the intercom that he had injected her with Titan, causing Ivy to become far more powerful and take control of the island surface with her evolved plants, killing dozens of inmates and Joker's men, much to his amusement.
While Batman used the information he obtained from Ivy and attempted to locate and harvest spores from Killer Croc's lair beneath Intensive Treatment, which would help him develop an antidote to Titan, Joker sent several of his men to patrol the corridors of the building once again and place explosives on the interior gargoyles that Batman frequently used to survey a room and plan out his tactics, cruelly testing one out on his henchman, Razor, when he finished placing the final bomb, killing him instantly. Despite this, Batman still managed to subdue all of Joker's men, but, as an additional precaution, the villain had also sent Scarecrow after him once more to impede his progress. This last hallucination had Batman struggling against his fears of being no more sane than the criminals he fights and being locked within Arkham Asylum himself as a patient overseen by Joker and Scarecrow.
As Batman once again overcame Crane's toxin, Scarecrow expressed disbelief that the hero could withstand doses of his chemicals that would drive ten men insane, questioning if Batman was even human. Consequently, the former professor threatened to flood the catacombs beneath Intensive Treatment with fear toxin, which would start a chain reaction that would contaminate Gotham's entire water supply, strong enough to break the mind of every Gotham citizen forever. However, Crane underestimated the fact that the catacombs also served as Croc's lair within the Asylum before being brutally grabbed by the cannibalistic killer and, despite an attempt by Batman to rescue the villain, was pulled underneath the water and violently mauled to an inch of his life by Croc.
Overcoming Croc's savage instincts throughout the tunnels and luring him into a trap, blowing up the ground directly beneath the villain and plummeting him into the water below, Batman collected the spores he needed and created an antidote to the Titan serum at a secondary Batcave built underneath the island. Unfortunately, by that point, Ivy's plans took control of the island grounds near the Gotham river and destroyed the cave and Batcomputer. Undeterred, Batman ascended towards the surface through the caves, eventually learning that Joker was also preparing to pump the waste product from the Titan process into Gotham's water supply. As Joker had his men patrol the dank caves and corridors, Oracle informed Batman that the only way to stop the flow of Titan was by shutting off the three main pumps. After Batman defeated Joker's men, shut off the pumps, and dissolved the Titan waste product, Joker sent down a Titan monster as a token of his displeasure to deal with Batman.
Batman defeated the monster and escaped back up to the surface, returning to an Arkham Island overtaken by plant-life. Driven by more power hunger, Ivy betrayed Joker and swore to go after him once Batman was killed and then seize control over Gotham City. Joker assured her that he would be prepared for her with an army of Titan monsters, saying the she could "bring the wine" and he would "make the salad". When Batman made his way back to the Botanical Gardens' Greenhouse, Ivy revealed that the plants in Dr. Young's experiments were not in pain, as she had previously believed, but becoming stronger and evolving. Using this and the Titan in her veins to her ultimate advantage, Ivy began controlling a massive plant powered on Titan, while also using several guards that were under a trance from her pheromones, and engaged Batman in a showdown for the whole of Gotham. Despite Ivy's enhanced strength and powers, Batman was able to defeat her with the use of his gadgets and destroyed the last of the Venom plants Joker and Dr. Young used to create the Titan strain, while the greenhouse was largely destroyed from the battle.With all of the enemies on Joker's party list defeated, Joker had his men set off several fire works, directing Batman to the party at the Visitor Center by the Cell Block. At the same time, Joker sent several shipments of the Titan formula off Arkham Island and into Gotham, as a failsafe supply. Rather than fight Batman, upon his arrival and confirmation of being on the 'guest list', the goons acted friendly, cheered him and allowed him safe passage. Batman found a bomb planted by Joker in the visitor center and upon its explosion, discovered the Joker's lair, a throne room atop various plastic toys from which he had been broadcasting to the island. Joker was holding Scarface the puppet and taking out his frustration on him by having a fictional argument before throwing him away. He then berates Batman, "You had to spoil everything. Beating up Bane, feeding Scarecrow to Croc, slapping around Harley, my hobby by the way! And ruining all my precious venom plants." The villain, after revealing that his plans had barely even begun, then dispatched two Titan fueled security guards at Batman, who defeated them, along with dozens of thugs.
- "You're ruining my big night! Months of planning down the crapper! I just wanted to bring down your grim facade and for once let you see the world as I see it, giggling in a corner and bleeding. But you've denied me even that. I have nothing to live for!"
- ―Joker to Batman, seeming to have lost[src]
Joker, as a prize for Batman beating the security personnel, then revealed that he had recaptured Gordon before he could escape back to Gotham. Firing a Titan-tipped dart at Gordon in order to inflict him the strain, Joker was overjoyed when Batman took the shot himself. Joker revealed that, in addition to destroying Gotham, the true objective of his plans was to prove to Batman, through the use of Titan, that everyone is capable of becoming a monster, especially those that are looked upon as heroes, by forcing the Dark Knight to succumb to the Titan strain. However, he was angered when Batman resisted and fought off the villain's attempts to make him give into the mutation. Enraged that Batman would never allow him this final triumph, Joker played his final hand and shot himself with one of his Titan darts, sarcastically claiming he had nothing left to live for. He quickly awoke and mutated into the most horrific Titan monster of all, while still retaining his intellectual faculties, to complete the final phase of his schemes.
- "Greetings, Gotham, Joker here. Arkham is mine. Soon I'll unleash madness untold onto the streets of Gotham. But first, direct your eyes to the rooftops and witness the final destruction of your dear Dark Knight!"
- ―The Joker in a message to Gotham City[src]
With his new-found power, Joker then directed the circling Gotham News helicopters and Jack Ryder, who were informed of Joker's plans via a taped message sent by the villain, to the rooftops of Arkham and watch his final fight with Batman. Strapping Gordon to an electric chair above a makeshift fighting arena (making him the "special guest referee"), the mutated Joker goaded Batman to give into his injection and become a monster for all of Gotham and the world to see, as it was the only way they could be on even fighting terms. Batman refused and used the only antidote injection on himself, which the Joker found hysterical before stating his intentions to kill Batman, paint Arkham with his blood, and then launch a full-scale attack on Gotham City. The two, with assistance from Joker's henchmen, then fought a brutal battle with all of Gotham watching via the news choppers.
Defeating the last of Joker's men, Batman was able to pull Joker from his ledge as the villain became intoxicated in the attention he received when the choppers flew over him. This caused the Clown Prince of Crime to fall through the floor and directly onto the generator that was powering the chair electrocuting Gordon, screaming and laughing as shocks were sent throughout his body. Nevertheless, the Joker got up from the attack and said he could take anything Batman threw at him, and asked if the Dark Knight was ready for the next round. Spraying explosive gel onto his glove, Batman declared that he would never let Joker win and would always be prepared for his tactics. Enraged, Joker prepared to kill his relentless nemesis as Batman charged him. The gel on Batman's fist then detonated as he struck his opponent, brutally knocking out several teeth and damaging Joker's face, finally incapacitating the most dangerous Titan subject of them all.
Following the Joker's defeat, the GCPD then retook control of Arkham Island, recapturing the escaped inmates and watching over the Titan-powered henchmen as they returned to normal. The Joker's transformation back to his "normal" self was quite painful compared to others, culminating with the severe injuries he received in his battle with Batman. He was taken to his cell by several police officers and surviving Arkham security personnel, his plans having ultimately failed.
While locked up and recovering from Titan's effects, Joker was left humiliated, angry, and thirsty for revenge. While he planned his next move, the Joker began to notice his body was not healing well after being injected with Titan and began to fear that his defeat at Batman's hands may have cost him more than just being locked up again.
Joker's attack on the asylum led to nearly two-hundred deaths, countless inmates roaming free, the entire island in ruins, and served as the ultimate incentive for the approval of Arkham City, an anarchistic prison built in the very heart of Gotham City and the foundation of Hugo Strange's plans and Quincy Sharp's manipulation. Meanwhile, Jason Todd, still imprisoned beneath the asylum, was finally able to escape from his torture during the confusion of the Arkham riots and with the aid of Slade Wilson, better known as Death Stroke, who was hired by Joker to keep watch over his prisoner while he concentrated on his plans to obtain the Titan serum from the asylum.
Todd convinced the assassin to help him in his own quest for vengeance under the prospect of tripling the amount of profits that Joker was supplying him with. Deathstroke agreed after placing a tracker within the young man to ensure that he does not attempt to escape before making good on his offers and the pair proceeded to break into Wayne Tower and wired over five-hundred million dollars from Bruce's accounts and into a swiss account of Slade's creation. Todd and Deathstroke then escaped to South America, where they formed their plans to build up a massive militia army, comprised of disgruntled and dishonorably discharged army veterans, in order to ultimately bring war to Gotham City and inflict the vengeance they both lusted for on Batman.
However, unknown to Jason, Joker had planned everything from the beginning, knowing that Deathstroke had the resources necessary for Todd to complete his plans. Over the following eighteen months, Slade kept Joker, who continued to pay the villain as his personal assassin and informant, updated on all developments with Jason, now known as the Arkham Knight, and his plans for revenge. Joker knew that his scheme to turn the second Robin against Batman was paying off beautifully, perhaps better than he ever imagined, and that the 'Arkham Knight' would be the perfect contingency plan to gain the final laugh on the Dark Knight.
The Titan Disease and War for Arkham City
- "Just not fair it ends up this way...though it is a pretty good joke on me. (laughs)"
- ―The Joker's thoughts to himself as he sits in extreme isloation
Over the following months after Joker and Batman's showdown on top of Arkham, Joker immediately noticed that his body was not healing well at all after his brutal fight with Batman. After the asylum doctors diagnose Joker's condition at his request, they revealed that the chemicals from the Titan dose that Joker took were so large in quantity, and taken at such a fast rate at once, that large portions of the formula did not leave his body even after his regression, but became assimilated into his blood particles, making it impossible to isolate completely from his body and poisoning his blood stream. This caused Joker to develop a fatal and incurable illness that soon began to ravage his face and body and gave the villain an estimated eighteen months left to live before Titan poisons his blood stream completely. Several surviving Arkham guards however, had vowed on the graves of their friends that were murdered by Joker that he will meet a much more painful demise.
Realizing that this illness will make him appear weak in front of his allies and adversaries, Joker knew he needed to make new plans to ensure that his enemies did not know of his weakness, especially with Arkham City nearly complete. To keep a low profile from the other super-criminals, Joker used a spoon to dig out the eyes of another inmate during lunch time, knowing that this would give him solitary confinement and allow him the peace and quiet he needed to make his plans.
While imprisoned, Joker escaped from his cell and wandered around the patient belongings room and started becoming attached to the dummy Scarface, who he found in a locker along with Riddler and Two-Face's suits. Having used the puppet previously during the Arkham riots, Joker used it to keep himself entertained and focused on his plans in order to ensure that his mind does not break completely from months of isolation.
With Arkham City soon to be his new settings, Joker saw great new opportunities and prospects to make fresh, new plans to destroy Gotham and get revenge on Batman and all his other enemies and rivals. Within Arkham City, the Joker knew that he could build up a massive army with almost unlimited numbers and stage a massive breakout. With Gotham City right next door to the massive prison, Arkham City would prove to be the perfect area to commence one last, twisted assault on Gotham to wipe out its entire populace. Joker began to modify his plans to this crucial area in order to effectively take over his new stamping grounds and plan a historic cat and mouse game with Batman that would also outline his greatest and sickest joke against Gotham and the entire world as well.
Six months within solitary, Joker finally completed his plans and devised the perfect means to stay one step ahead of Batman and everyone else in Arkham City. However, Joker's sickness had taken quite a toll on him by this time and needed to be seated in a wheelchair to be moved around. Joker knew that he couldn't be transferred to Arkham City or else all his enemies would know of his sickness and weakness and planned to sneak into the city instead; all he needed now is an escape plan and on the night of his transfer to Arkham City, Harley Quinn would provide him with one.
Joker was eventually scheduled to be the first inmate of the recently completed Arkham City, but instead of being brought to the transfer buses to take him there, his escort guard has other plans in mind; plans of vengeance. Joker was brought to a medical lab so that the guards could exact their torturous revenge slowly in retaliation for the deaths of all their friends caused by Joker's plans in the Arkham riots. This did little to dissuade Joker from making crude remarks about the deceased, angering his captors even more.
Unfortunately for them, the ever loyal Harley overheard their conspiracy, escaped confinement, murdered a female guard, took her place, brutally murders the rest of the guards, and finally rescued the Joker and brought him to her prepared escape boat. Joker and Harley escaped the island, leaving Scarface behind, but were intercepted by Batma, who was immediately alerted of their escape by his newly installed sensors on Arkham Island. Batman managed to destroy the psychotic couple's boat, but Joker and Harley were able to escape amongst the wreckage and proceeded to sneak into Arkham City using the sewer system network that connected to the Gotham Bay.
Being the first inmate in the city undetected, Joker plotted to become the ruling elite in the Arkham City underworld and to used the facility for his own malicious designs and purposes and establishes his main base of operations in the Sionis Steel Mill, one of Black Mask's former company properties. Over the next several months, Joker began renovating the factory into his classical image, complete with a roller-coaster death trap meant as a sadistic recruiting method to weed out the inmates with the best reflexes (those that jump from the coaster before the death plunge).
With Harley at his side, Joker began to brutally recruit inmates once again for his new army, both old and new associates alike, and soon became one of the leading powers of Arkham City, rivaling that of The Penguin and his gang. With Harley nursing him, Joker would soon gain some of his health back and would be well enough to walk without the use of a wheelchair, allowing him to embark on some of his plans himself. Having firmly situated himself in the city, Joker began to look to form several connections and partnerships to aid in his plans. He started by paying a visit to Mr. Cobblepot, a.k.a, The Penguin, who was also one of the first inmates in the prison after he refused to move when the perimeter wall was built, believing that their bitter rivalry that started years ago was ancient history.
However, Penguin still remembered all the trouble Joker caused him over the years and refused to even let him enter the Iceberg Lounge, shutting the door just before Joker squirted acid towards his face. With Penguin now back on his hit list, Joker made it one of his goals to topple Penguin's power in Arkham City and slaughter him and his entire army. With both Joker and Penguin the first inmates in Arkham, they were seen as the major power-bases by other inmates to join in order to survive in the hellish domain.As Joker continued to build up his forces, a new Arkham inmate, Lester Kurtz, arrived looking for a job and easily escaped the Joker's death traps and dispatched his goons. Joker, impressed, took a liking to Lester and welcomed him into his gang, but also instructed his men to keep a close eye on him. Realizing that the Joker is a poor choice of employer, Lester bailed out on the gang and went looking for a job with Penguin. Joker was unsurprisingly furious to the point that he put a bounty on Lester's head, unaware of the fact that he was actually the latest alias of his enemy Batman.
Joker and his gang soon become embroiled in violent turf wars for control over Arkham City with other fractions and gangs. In order to ensure that no one could either confirm nor deny the rumor of his illness, Joker relayed his orders through Harley, while he remained in the shadows, cooking up his plans and operations in preparation of Batman's inevitable arrival in Arkham City. Joker also used Harley to lead some of his men into making frequent raids on other inmates' supply of drugs in order to aid in his condition.
In addition to this, it seemed that Joker had also been taking every precaution to prolong his fate, including abducting his doctor and forcing him to give him a diagnosis and isolate some of the Titan compound from his blood stream. The doctor, after informing Joker of his deteriorating condition and giving him the isolated Titan formula, was sent into the factory's old incinerator on Joker's roller-coaster.
At the same time, Joker began to obtain several shipments of the Titan formula he sent off Arkham Island into Gotham prior to Batman spoiling his plans. However, he also knew that others, such as the Penguin, were likely to have obtained some of the shipments as well and used the Titan he salvaged from his blood stream as a failsafe supply should the other shipments get stolen or destroyed. To this end, Joker used the Titan in his possession to mass-produce large quantities of the chemicals once again and upgraded some of his gang, sending them out to kill anyone he sees as an obstacle in his plans for control over Arkham City.
Among them was Bane, who had been running a makeshift fighting ring in Arkham City, and was soon attacked by one of Joker's men, who was pumped up on Titan. Bane was defeated and nearly killed until Joker's thug's heart went into cardiac arrest from the overuse of Titan and is mercy killed by Bane, who decided to locate and claim all the sources of Titan for himself once and for all, knowing just how dangerous it is, especially if used against him.
Joker would also target many of the political prisoners within the city, most of them having been incarcerated simply because they knew too much about Arkham City, and had his gang use them as little more than slaves to do his bidding. Some of this would entail these individuals actually completing several tasks that would aid Joker in his ambitions for the war over control of Arkham City, but for the most part, they were used simply as another outlet for the Clown Prince of Crime to let his madness loose and torture and murder more innocents even within the confines of the country's most massive prison complex.
While Joker continued to be embroiled in the turf wars for control of the prison complex, Mugsy, an old time associate of the Ventriloquist, brought Scarface back to Joker as a favor to get back into Joker's gang, who is delighted to get his buddy back. Joker started spending more time with Scarface than anyone else, making Harley jealous. Harley tossed Scarface into a boiler when Joker was not around, consoling Joker by saying that she slipped, but he instructed her not to worry and brought out a new Scarface that Mugsy made for him.
While Joker hugged the dummy, it motions to his eyes with his fingers to Harley, implying that it's watching her and hinting that Joker was intentionally using Scareface to further mislead Harley's love for him for his own amusement and to make Harley more vicious and erratic in leading his plans and operations. Scareface was also the perfect means of abuse that Joker needed, with Mugsy creating a new one every time Joker gets bored with one, freeing him to mutilate, torture, and destroy any puppet that failed to entertain him.
With multiple unseen connections and pawns in place, Joker was prepared to launch his latest plans for the death and destruction of all of Gotham City and beyond. With his pending illness, Joker took precautions to ensure that he was still seen as one of the leading powers in Arkham City and eventually conquer the new compound for himself. With his plaything of a manipulation, Harley Quinn, Joker issued orders that would eventually come to fruition to reveal a heinous plan that would be unleashed in Arkham City and violently erupt onto the unsuspecting citizens of Gotham City.
None knew of the full extent of the Joker's plans, not even Hugo Strange himself, who assumed he had everyone in Arkham City under his control. Joker's plans would not only light up all of Gotham City with death and destruction, but would give him everything he has desired for the past year; power, revenge against Batman, a cure for his illness, incredible and unlimited numbers to command, and even immortality itself to continue wreaking death, chaos, and destruction for decades and with no end in sight.
During this time, he also proceeded to watch the carnage that unfolded at Arkham City to his own amusement, including laughing exhilaratedly at a thermodermic explosion occurring near Sionis Steel Mill, although due to his deteriorating health, he ended up choking and rasping for breath mid-laugh.
The Set Up For His Last Laugh
- "So here's the thing. If you want to make sure that no one else finds out about your past, you should stop poking your nose into mine."
- ―Joker reveals his extensive knowledge of Strange's background to the mad professor.[src]
With Joker regarded as one of the most violent and historic criminals of all time, it wasn't long before Hugo Strange, the warden and true mastermind of Arkham City, had him brought into his office in order to study and understand him, seeing Joker as the ultimate challenge for his psychological tactics. After having Joker brought in to start taped interview sessions, Hugo Strange reminded the Clown Prince of Crime that his remaining time left before his impending death is short, something even Joker admitted.
Strange then offered to make a deal with the villain; if Joker allowed the doctor to study him, Strange would make Joker's last days more 'comfortable' in return, starting their alliance. Throughout his alliance with Strange, Joker had the mad doctor round up dozens of medical doctors and physicians for him to help cure his illness. Regardless of how many doctors Strange abducted and brought into Arkham City, Joker seemed more concerned and happy with torturing, mutilating, and murdering them, rather than developing a cure.
Unknown to Strange however, Joker had been using the doctors to drain large quantities of his poisoned blood and ship it off to emergency rooms all over Gotham City, infecting thousands of people with his illness, and allowing the villain's consciousness to seep into their minds, serving as one of his many contingency plans and ultimate method to return to the world should he die. In return for these "services", Joker would tell Strange what it is that drove him over the edge of sanity, though all the stories he tells were nothing more than mere fabrications to hide the truth about his condition, which Strange later concluded after reading a dozen different origin stories Joker had told over the years.
While Strange believed he knew everything the Joker could be planning, the Clown Prince of Crime shocked him when he revealed that he knew everything about Strange, including his experiments, his control over Quincy Sharp, and his insidious plans for Arkham City, threatening Strange that he would have all this information leaked to the authorities and public if he doesn't stop trying to uncover his past. Using his knowledge of this information further to blackmail Strange, Joker was able to obtain weapons from him (though Strange had his own designs for this course of action), had all the prison's food drops to be delivered right outside his territory, and gain inside information on the occurrences within Arkham City.
Joker eventually fiound out that Strange had Mr. Freeze brought into Arkham City and was having him prepare countless medical drugs, chemicals, and serums for his plans by holding his wife, Nora Fries, hostage. Wanting Freeze's genius for himself to develop a cure, Joker had Strange bring Nora to him to use as collateral to make Freeze develop a cure. Leaving Nora in one of his warehouses and at the mercy of his henchmen, many of whom wished to unfreeze and rape her, Joker blackmailed Freeze to develop a cure, threatening to murder Nora if he fails to do so, though Joker planned to kill her regardless if Freeze succeeded or not.
However, Strange, fearing Joker's potential to ruin his plans, formed a pack with Penguin and helped him capture Freeze, lock him up in his Museum, and gain control of his weapons. Strange would still remain in contact with Joker, who was initially unaware of this betrayal, and continue to supply him with weapons as part of his plans to initiate Protocol 10, a military operation that Strange believes will make him famous and serve as a monument to Batman's failure and defeat.
Nonetheless, Joker began to suspect Strange's ambitions to use Arkham City as a coverup to actually plan an exploitation of the situation and wipe out every single individual within the prison. To this end, Joker made use of the construction equipment at the Steel Mill to build massive tunnels that connect to Gotham's sewers and subway system, as a shelter for whatever Strange has planned and ensure that his army survived, while the rest of his enemies were slaughtered. These tunnels would also prove to be the perfect entry points into the other villains' territory in order to conquer their turfs and claim them as his own. Joker also saw Strange's true designs as a great way to wipe out his most hated enemies and in which, by the end of the conflict, his army would be the only force left standing, ready to tear down the walls of the prison and completely destroy Gotham City once and for all.
Eventually, one of Joker's trump cards arrives as Basil Karlo, also known as Clayface, entered Arkham City completely undetected under Joker's orders. Assuming the guise of numerous inmates and security personnel alike, the monstrous mudpack eventually met with his cryptic employer. Having formed an alliance with the dying clown during his imprisonment in Arkham Asylum, Clayface was quickly convinced to aid the Joker and embroiled himself in the Clown Prince of Crime’s last megalomaniac master plan. Despite not actually being imprisoned in Arkham City, Clayface had sided with the Joker for one key reason; to play “the role of a lifetime”. At the request of the Joker, Karlo posed as the healthy crazed Clown Prince of Crime and willingly carried out the vast amounts of chaos the actual Joker would if he was capable.
With Clayface’s vast and nearly unstoppable abilities under his command, the Joker knew he would all but conquer Arkham City with everyone fooled by his double, including Hugo Strange. Next to doubling as him, the Joker used the feat of clay as a puppet of power to carry out his most extreme tasks; having the shape-shifter overlook all operations outside the Steel Mill alongside Harley, recruiting and building up his army into massive numbers, and ultimately convince a cold tempered Mr. Freeze to develop a cure for the clown’s growing illness (although Hugo Strange had already taken Fries’s wife, Nora, hostage by that point).
The Joker was almost sure he was clearing a pathway straight to his victory and with the spotlight focused on his doppelganger he knew that he could easily stay hidden in the shadows long enough to see through his countless plans; which coincidentally would also play into what would be Clayface’s final “performance” as well.
Joker would eventually use Clayface to disguise himself as various TYGER personnel to infiltrate their loactions and obtain their equipment and even the card keys and codes needed to access structures right outside Arkham City's perimeter walls. With these items in his possession, Joker gained access to the Sionis Boat House, just next to his base, where he stored his most valuable weaponry, equipment, and plans; away from the prying eyes of Hugo Strange and his TYGER operatives, all of whom remained completely ignorant and blissful of the true magnitude of Joker's own operations.
Joker lastly used Clayface to infiltrate Arkham Island, now TYEGR's main base of operations, to place dozens of explosives deep within the bowels of the Asylum as part of his alternative plans for Batman and Gotham, as well as to take out TYGER when the time was right. With everything in place and his plans completely unnoticed by even Hugo Strange and TYGER, Joker waited for Batman's inevitable arrival in Arkham City, where one their most brutal and psychological battle would play out.
Batman: Arkham City
By the time Arkham City officially opens, Joker had turned the Sionis Steel Mill into a complete slaughter house, having murdered hundreds of inmates, political prisoners, his own associates, and doctors alike within the torturous confines of the mill. Having built up a huge army of over a thousand men, a large portion of the city under his complete control, and even creating vast amounts of the Titan chemicals to serve as an asset to his army, Joker was easily one of the most powerful figures in Arkham City, though Penguin was a worthy rival and Two-Face was on the move to becoming a major powerhouse as well.
Each and every day, the war for control over Arkham City would escalate and become more chaotic and violent as Joker relished in the mass amounts of chaos, destruction, torture, murder, and mutilation he brought to the streets. In love with the very madness he creates, Joker is not concerned in the slightest about his opponents in the turf wars as he has already begun to lay the foundations of his megalomaniac plans and implement his numerous trump cards that only he and a select few know about. Before long, Joker would obtain everything he needed to conquer Arkham City and find the means to obtain complete power and control to destroy Gotham.
As Bruce Wayne was abducted and brought into Arkham City under Hugo Strange's orders, Joker's crew had seized control of the Arkham City Medical Facility, built inside the Gotham Cathedral, and have captured all the medical staff in order to claim all the chemicals and drugs for themselves. With Harley leading the operation, Joker's thugs also abducted a doctor, Stacy Baker, who previously diagnosed Joker, under his orders to bring her to him for an update on his condition.
Knowing that Two-Face was stationed in the Solomon Wayne Courthouse near the cathedral, planning to execute Catwoman to showcase his might, Joker also intended to ambush the operation to spoil Two-Face's plans, kill Catwoman himself, and grab Batman's attention. As Batman infiltrated the courthouse, defeated Two-Face's men, rescued Catwoman, and strung Two-Face upside down over a pit of acid, Joker saw his opportunity to implement a surprise attack. Using a remote controlled sniper rifle that Harley set up in the cathedral tower, Joker attempted to assassinate Catwoman, though his primary motive was simply to coax Batman into tracking him down as part of an elaborate trap.
- "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat. Watch me kill your favorite cat."
- ―The Joker as he attempts to kill Catwoman[src]
Batman pulled Catwoman out of the way of the sniper bullet and infiltrated the Cathedral, where he encountered Harley Quinn and a handful of Joker's followers. Batman was unable to apprehend Harley without Joker's men hurting anyone and was forced to let her escape in an ice cream truck parked outside with Stacy in tow. Despite this, Batman eventually subdued all of Joker's men, rescued the medical staff, and ascended into the bell tower, where the location of the sniper rifle's bullet was triangulated to by Batman's detective skills and forensics.
Once there however, Batman found no sign of Joker, aside from televisions broadcasting the crazed villain, and dozens of explosives and flammable chemicals rigged to blow. Batman escaped just in time, as the bell tower was engulfed in the resulting explosion as Joker's trademark laughter echoed through the tower. However, Batman was able to scan the sniper's rifle control settings before the tower's destruction and was able to set up a signal tracker, which would lead him to Joker.
Using the signal tracker, Batman was able to locate Joker in the Sionis Steel Mill and learned that Joker had rallied dozens of his followers to watch Stacy's slow and painful demise, feeling bitter towards her for not being more helpful in developing a cure for his condition. As Joker's men prepare to murder her, Joker knew that Batman would soon arrive and needed a diversion to keep the hero occupied while he perfected the next phase of his plans and trap for Batman. He then handed down the order to take Stacy to the smelting chamber to slowly torture her, while he discussed his schemes with Harley. To this end, Joker had Clayface pose as a healthy version of himself, as part of his trap, while he waited patiently for Batman to enter his office.
At the same time, Joker also began to send groups of his men to find Mr. Freeze, who mysteriously disappeared, and to also enter Two-Face's territory and attack Dent's men in order to take advantage of his dwindling numbers. After making his way into the Smelting Chamber, Batman rescued Stacy, defeated all of Joker's bodyguards, and finally entered the office of the Clown Prince of Crime himself. When he entered the office, Batman found Harley crying over a seemingly lifeless Joker in a wheelchair. However, this was all part of Joker's plans as he faked his own death in order to divert Batman's attention, allowing the hero to become vulnerable to a surprise attack.
- "Surprise! You fell for the old fake Joker gag, Batman!"
- ―The Joker to Batman[src]
Batman was soon gassed by Clayface, disguised as Joker, from behind (Batman believes that the Joker in the wheelchair was simply a dummy) and then beaten into unconsciousness by Harley with a bat, at which point Joker firmly tied Batman to a wheel chair, tapes a phone to his chest, and stuck a syringe in his throat to transfer his poisoned blood into Batman's body.
With Batman now infected with the same disease as Joker, Joker insisted that Batman follow his commands in order to get a cure for the disease from Mr. Freeze. Though Batman was willing to die if that meant the end of the Joker, the villain revealed one of his trump cards; the thousands of innocent people in Gotham that were also infected with his blood.
Revealing that poisoning Gotham City is a separate plot from Protocol 10 , Joker rolled the wheelchair outside the window, telling the Dark Knight that he will keep in touch with the phone he taped to him. However, Joker planned to not only use Batman to obtain the cure, but also serve as his greatest asset in the turf wars in Arkham City in order to defeat his rivals. Batman, realizing he had no choice but to find the cure to save Gotham once again, allowed Joker to send him on several missions to obtain the cure. Meanwhile, a portion of Joker's crew had split up into two groups, with one killing Penguin's crew outside the old GCPD building, where Freeze was previously stationed, and one moving into Two-Face's territory and massacring all of Dent's crew and rounding up any stragglers for information on where Freeze was currently.
Keeping in contact with his longtime enemy through phone calls, Joker eventually sent Batman to rescue Mr. Freeze from Penguin, knowing that this would also topple Cobblepot's power in Arkham City and eliminate a major opponent in his control for Arkham City. Once Batman defeated Penguin's forces, saved Mr. Freeze, and puts Penguin out of commission, Joker immediately took advantage of this new tide in the battle and had his men slaughter hundreds of Penguin's men and press any survivors into joining him. Using the sewer systems and tunnels that Joker's crew had made over the previous months, Joker's followers infiltrated Penguin's territory and began claiming it for themselves.
At the same time, Joker sent his men to retrieve the last shipment of weapons from Hugo Strange under the foundations of Wonder Tower, Hugo Strange's base of operations, which would contain the most devastating weaponry, including missile launchers, sniper rifles, automated assault rifles, mines, high frequency power generators, thermal trackers, and much more.
With his increased firepower, Joker took Arkham City by storm, conquering nearly the entire compound with only a small portion of Two-Face's territory left and leaving a trail of death and destruction in his wake. Almost every prisoner within Arkham City would be forced to join Joker's army, making Joker the ruling elite on the streets while Two-Face's men were being rounded up and tortured for information in the Steel Mill. However, Joker was still in desperate need of the cure and feared that perhaps Batman has actually failed or turned on him as he has not heard from him in hours.
Taunting Batman through phone calls with dubious clues about what he is truly planning, Joker was relieved to learn Batman has found the means to develop the cure and had Freeze create enough for both of them. However, Freeze destroyed one of vials of the cure and refused to give Batman the remaining one, which he locked up in his safe, until he saved his wife from Joker. Batman, knowing how little time he has left, fought Freeze for the cure. Joker in the meantime, having planned to double-cross Batman the entire time, sent Harley to steal the cure (and to also murder several of his henchmen for failing to capture Freeze) while Batman and Mr. Freeze were fighting by cutting out the wall open behind the safe and pilfering the cure.
In place of the cure, Harley left two Joker cards, with one being a faxed version and the other being a physical card, which were actually clues to what Joker's plans truly consisted of, to taunt Batman. Joker also ordered Harley to steal some of Freeze's offensive equipment in order to increase his weaponry after successfully obtaining the cure. With Harley on her way to deliver the cure, Arkham City under his complete control, his increased weaponry, and Protocol 10 just under an hour away from commencement, Joker began making his plans to blow the walls of Arkham City and form escape routes to lay a bloody siege on Gotham City and completely destroy it and wipe out all its citizens. To this end, Joker began placing explosives all around the perimeter walls, ready to be detonated when the rest of his plans are in place. As all supplies, ammunition, and weapons are prepared and stored away for transportation, Joker motivated his army and prepared them for the massive attack on the city.
With Batman having accomplished everything he was blackmailed to do, Joker was delighted to begin his cat and mouse game with his old enemy and friend anew. To renew his game with Batman, Joker made an anonymous phone call to the Gotham Tonight Show to inform the staff there that Batman was in Arkham City in order to lure news reporter, Vicki Vale, to the city. Once Vale was in the perimeters of the city in her news chopper, Joker took over her broadcast to taunt her and then fired a rocket at her chopper, causing her to crash land in Arkham City.
With Vale's chopper destroyed and her pilot dead, Joker sent some of his men to kill the helpless reporter with sniper rifles, knowing that this would force Batman out into the open and serve as a diversion, while Harley returned to the Steel Mill with the completed cure. Batman neutralizds the threat and rescued Vale, at which point Joker contacted him again, telling him that if he wants the cure, it will be waiting for him in the Steel Mill. With all the pieces in place, Joker was prepared to start the next phase of his plans and obtain the main objective of his schemes; finding the Lazarus Pit, which was hidden somewhere under Arkham City, to obtain immortality and absolute power and assume control over the League of Assassins.
However, just as Harley Quinn was about to reach Joker with the completed cure, Talia al Ghul, also in Arkham City to aid in her father's operations, intercepted her, tied her up, and stole the cure. Joker soon realized that something must have went wrong and resorted to an alternative, knowing that he needed to have his gang under the impression that he was cured to motivate them to attack the rest of Arkham City and Gotham.
He then had Clayface utilize his abilities to assume his appearance once again and sent out a video taped message all throughout the Still Mill to make his forces believe him to be completely cured and ready to lead them in full force once again. This worked beautifully, as all his men prepare for their final siege of Arkham, as Joker concentrates his efforts on securing the Lazarus Pit. In the meantime, he also sent out a handful of his men to the Gotham Radio Tower near his base to take control of the broadcast frequencies and implant a message from him to all of Gotham as part of a fail safe plot.
After rescuing Nora Fries from his henchmen and retrieving Freeze's stolen equipment, Batman eventually confronted Joker, who is staring into a mirror and appears perfectly healed, though his reflection curiously shows him still sick, at the top of the Steel Mill. However, the reality was that Clayface was still posing as the healthy Joker while the real Joker was on the other side of the mirror, escaping from the Mill through this diversion. At the same time, Joker noticed that the entire confrontation between Batman and his imposter and accomplice is being monitored by Jason Todd, who had been observing the events of Arkham City from afar.
Striking a conversation with his old victim, Joker revealed his continued partnership with Deathstroke, instructing the assassin to aid Todd's quest for revenge, and reinforced the young man's distorted perception of Batman abandoning him, encouraging him to ensure that he becomes a more well-known figure in Gotham as the Arkham Knight. While Jason brutally beat Joker and made an attempt on his life in retribution for what the villain did to him years ago, Joker, even in his sickly condition, was able to defend himself and easily subdue Jason, carving around the 'J' brand on his cheek with a hidden knife. Joker left Jason bloody and bruised once again, informing him that he has high hopes for the young man's plans against Batman and Gotham.
As Joker escapes, Batman eventually defeated the Clayface impersonate and dozens of his men, but was soon surprised when TYGER helicopters suddenly begin firing missiles at the Mill and all over Arkham City under Strange's orders, revealing that Protocol 10 is actually a security measure to wipe out the entire inmate population through missile attacks. TYGER continued raining down death and destruction onto the city, destroying the room and pinning Batman under the ruble. Clayface as Joker, gleeful, prepared to carve a smile into his face when Talia al Ghul interrupted him and offered him immortality in return for Batman's life.
When Batman warned Talia not to do so, Talia presented her sword to the Joker, who gladly accepted it and agreed to lead the league, planning on taking advantage of Talia's knowledge of the Lazarus Pit to finally locate it. Leaving Batman, hundreds of his own crew, and even Harley Quinn, at the mercy of Protocol 10, Joker was led to the very building that is directly located over the Lazarus Pit Chamber, the Monarch Theatre. The real Joker was contacted with regards to these developments and began to make his preparations for the final confrontation between him and Batman and ensure that he continued to live on to destroy Gotham and beyond.
Contacting his forces, Joker ordered the rest of his vast army to take shelter in the tunnel systems that they had constructed over the months to wait for Protocol 10 to end and the rest of their adversaries to be slaughtered before emerging back onto the streets to start the final phase of his plans. At the same time, he sent a handful of his henchmen down to Wonder City to retrieve all the Wonder City Robots, planning on reprogramming them to serve as weapons once he assumed leadership of the League of Assassins and commenced his massive attack on Gotham.
While it seemed that Talia betrayed Batman, she truly intended to lure the Joker aside and kill him while Batman tracked her down using one of the trackers Talia equipped on her person. Batman however, knew that Talia was the one in danger and, true to his prediction, Joker easily outsmarted and overpowered her at the Theatre, holding her hostage to ensure that Batman arrived at the Theatre for their final performance. Joker finally prepared the last steps of his plans; setting up an arena for an incredible showdown with his old friend and eternal enemy.
Turning the Monarch Theater into his own personal arena, Joker rigged explosives all over the floors and walls, knowing that the key to immortality he so desperately craved was underneath his very feet. With Protocol 10 wiping out the rest of the competition, Joker counted on Batman to take down Strange and come to him for their final battle. As Joker waited for Batman's arrival, he recorded one final message that was meant to be communicated to Batman in the event of his death. Once recorded, Joker gave it to his henchmen to be stored within the Steel Mill as part of his contingency plans to destroy Gotham.Once the rest of Gotham's super-criminals were killed off in Protocol 10 and Strange was taken down by Batman, Joker would be able to take complete control of the entire criminal underworld and lead the whole inmate population of thousands of bloodthirsty and sadistic mass murderers, serial killers, and rapists to blow the walls of the prison, stage a coup against TYGER and steal the rest of their equipment and armory, and erupt onto the streets of Gotham in an orgy of bloodletting.
With the League of Assassins under his complete control, the powers of immortality at his disposal, the most technologically advanced military grade weaponry known to man in his possession, and the sheer amount of numbers in his forces to command, Joker relished at all the death and destruction he could bring to Gotham and the world for centuries with nothing in existence to stop or kill him.
After Batman stopped Protocol 10, all TYGER forces were neutralized, Wonder Tower was destroyed, and Hugo Strange and Ra's al Ghul, the secret benefactor behind Strange's plans and operations, were killed. With everything in place, Joker had his men conquer what's left of Arkham City and patrol the streets, as he took control of the prison's monitor and communication systems to challenge Batman to a final showdown at the Monarch Theatre.
Batman soon arrived, subdued all of Joker's crew, and entered the very Theater where his life as a crime fighter began to take root. With Talia at gunpoint, Joker demanded the cure from Batman, confusing the hero as he believed Joker already had it and cured himself. In the confusion, Talia grabbed the sword she presented to Joker and ran him through with it, seemingly killing The Joker once and for all.
As Talia revealed she stole the cure from Harley Quinn before she could deliver it to Joker, Batman looked at his hated enemy, believing that his death was an unnecessary casualty and told Talia that there was always an alternative tactic to defeating an enemy. Talia defended her course of action to Batman by stating that it was a necessary one in order to save him and comforted the hero, assuring him that the long night of chaos and destruction instilled by the Joker, Hugo Strange, and her father, was finally over.
- "So how do you keep a secret from the World's Greatest Detective? Well, do you know? It's easy. You stick it right in front of him; right under his long, pointy nose... and wait."
- ―The Joker to Batman[src]
However, realizing that it's never simple with the Joker, Batman began to rethink all the strange occurrences throughout the night; a seemingly dead Joker dummy in a wheelchair, the two versions of the Joker card left in place of the cure, and a healthy Joker looking into a mirror that oddly reflected a sickly Joker. Connecting them all together, Batman realized the truth: there were two Jokers.
Surmising that since Joker never received his cure, Batman immediately concluded that the healed Joker was not the real one and turned to Talia just as he heard a gun cocking in the distance. Batman, screaming out to Talia in vain, was too late to warn her and watched in pain, as she was shot fatally in the back. Falling into the arms of her beloved, Talia apologized to Batman for her carelessness with her last breath and died as the insane laughter of the one, true Joker revealed himself in front of the movie projector, holding the gun he shot Talia with.
Laughing at having played everyone within Arkham City for fools throughout the night, Joker revealed that it was essential that he instilled the image of a healthy version of himself to all his allies and enemies alike for the benefit of the turf wars. Still sick and nearing death, Joker aimed his gun at Batman next, demanding for Batman to hand over "his cure". The healthy Joker finally revealed himself to Batman as Clayface, having been smuggled into Arkham City under Joker's orders to take up the spotlight and divert attention from his true plans; Clayface agreed to assist Joker for the chance to play the role of a lifetime and then take on Batman's persona after killing him.
Clayface grabbed the cure before Batman can, absorbed it into his body, and started an incredible battle with the Dark Knight, using all his abilities to the fullest of their potential. With Joker watching the spectacle from the balcony, the fate of Gotham City and the world at large hung in the balance of this final showdown, as Batman and Joker's own lives were merely moments away from death. However, Batman was able to use freeze grenades that were manufactured and given to him by Mr. Freeze, in return for saving his wife, to stop Clayface in his tracks and retrieve the sword still stuck within him from Talia's attack. Batman then proceeded to cut Clayface into pieces with the sword, at which point the Joker, after making a tasteless joke about Talia's death, detonated the bombs on the floor for a "change of scenery."
As the floor exploded, Batman and Clayface were violently thrown down into the Lazarus Chamber, where their brutal fight continued. Clayface, now greatly weakened, began to isolate portions of his body into small soldiers to attack Batman, as he attempted to compose his body mass once more. However, Batman, still wielding Talia's sword, was able to cut through Clyaface's forces and threw freeze grenades into his body, freezing him once again. The dying hero then entered Clayface's body, retrieved the cure, and cut him clean open, incapacitating the monster once and for all. Batman, having retrieved the cure finally, drank it and cured himself of the Titan disease, while also keeping half to cure Joker and manufacture a larger dose for the rest of Gotham.
Joker, unshaken by Clayface's defeat, prepared to jump into the Lazarus Pit to claim immortality once and for all and become the new leader of the League of Assassins. However, much to Joker's dismay, Batman threw the sword into the main generator, causing it to falter and knocking what was left of Clayface into the Pit. The controls and remaining generators went critical as a result, as Clayface's body matter contaminated the chemicals of the pit, resulting in an explosion that completely destroyed the pit and most of the room.
- "Do you want to know something funny? Even after everything you've done... I would've saved you."
"That actually is... (coughs) ... pretty funny!'"
- ―Batman and The Joker's final words to each other[src]
With his plans ultimately ruined, Joker demanded his last hope from Batman, taunting him that despite all the death and destruction he caused in just a single night, Batman would still save him. Batman voiced his hatred of the Joker and his temptation to refuse him the cure and let him die, knowing that he will only continue to break out and kill if left alive and locked up. Laughing at the absurdity of their never ending battle, Joker stabbed Batman in the arm, causing him to drop the vial, which shattered onto the floor. Joker screamed in horror, as Batman threw him to the ground, and tried in vain to drink the cure from the floor.
Accepting that he will ultimately die, Joker asked Batman if he is happy with this turn of events and calmly sat on the ground. As the Joker's health began to reach its ultimate low, Batman reflected on the irony and humor in that Joker was actually correct; despite his crimes, Batman would have still saved him. The Joker agreed with Batman and also found the situation genuinely funny, laughing and coughing soundly in his final moments before he finally succumbed to his Titan poisoning, dying with a smile on his face and knowing that his contingencies were already in effect.
Pitying his long time nemesis, Batman grimly picked up and carried Joker's corpse out of the Monarch Theater; as the doors opened, Joker's gang was outside chanting his name, expecting to see their leader triumphantly striding out and having defeated Batman once and for all. They all went completely silent in utter shock and disbelief when they saw the Dark Knight carrying the Clown Prince of Crime, motionless, in his arms. Among the gang outside the theater was Harley Quinn, who gasped and fell to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably, as she sees the Joker's limp body being carried away by Batman.
Batman finally carried Joker's corpse through the main gate of Arkham City and into Gotham City, where the GCPD had gathered in preparation to retake the area from the rampaging criminals. He placed the Joker's body on the GCPD patrol car of Commissioner Gordon, who was also shocked to see Batman's greatest nemesis dead and repeatedly asked him what happened, only to be met with silence.
After years of death, misery, and tragedy, the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime, and Batman's greatest threat and arch-nemesis was dead at long last. However, unknown to Batman at the time, not all of the late clown's plots have been foiled, as Joker had laid out a series of contingency plans and operations in the event of his death that have already taken effect. With Harley and the rest of Joker's followers ensuring that his legacy will be upheld, Joker's back up schemes would rock Gotham to its very core and continue to plague Batman. Even in death, the Clown Prince of Crime would continue to destroy Gotham and resume his cat and mouse game with Batman.
Harley Quinn's Revenge
- "This is it! Just you, me, and the only thing that can stop this place from blowing sky high!"
- ―Harley Quinn revealing her murderous and suicidal plot to Batman in honor of The Joker
After the events of Arkham City, Commissioner Gordon gave the order to Bullock and his forces to start the process of shutting down the area and personally had Joker's body transported away from the massive prison, as Harley Quinn and various gang members and inmates were arrested and escorted out of the prison and into temporary holding facilities. Knowing that if any of GCPD officers got their hands on him, they would tear his body apart, along with Joker's forces still active, Gordon was forced to move Joker's body to various locations over the following weeks. With Arkham City in the process of being shut down, Batman would also see to it that a massive quantity of the cure for the Titan disease would be manufactured, courtesy of Lucius Fox, and administered to all of Joker's victims, curing them, restoring their health, and ultimately saving thousands of lives.
However, during the initial autopsy of the villain's body, the morgue attendants found a flash drive that was hidden beneath a layer of artificial skin. Almost immediately after the drive is removed, Joker's signature laughing toxin was released into the room, killing everyone within the general area and setting the stage for one of his contingency plans. The flash drive is given to Gordon, who planned to eventually give it to Batman to analyze and continued to move the villain's body from one location to the next.
Meanwhile, the void left within the criminal underworld from Joker's demise created a violent power vacuum that leaves a trail of death and destruction, as the other villains and their gangs attempt to seize control over the power left in the wake of the Clown Prince of Crime's death. At the same time, Joker's murder of Talia aided to instigate a similar and massive power-vacuum within the League of Assassins, with the organization's forces segmenting into fractions and fighting an extremely bloody and secret war for complete control, with one side headed by loyalists to Ra's, seeking to resurrect him, and the other side led by the warlord's other daughter, Nyssa, who seeked to reform the League in order to leave Gotham and never spill innocent blood again.
As Gotham descended into chaos over the Joker's death, Batman's mind sunk lower, as his depression over the loss of Talia and guilt over Joker's death began tearing him apart on the inside. While initially feeling a sense of relief with Joker finally gone, the absence of his greatest enemy and nemesis caused the Dark Knight to become conflicted with the disturbing notion that he and Joker shared a connection, one that either could not admit, above all his other enemies and even his closest allies and that, on some level, Batman actually missed fighting the Joker after so many years of constant conflict. Despite his hatred of the villain, the hero realized that a large portion of himself was indeed defined by the Joker, whose chaotic plans and influence became the primary motivation for Batman to constantly improve himself and his equipment, as well as reinforce his morality, in order to overcome his many physical and psychological battles with the villain, turning him into a much more refined hero to protect Gotham City.
Disgusted with the feeling that he might actually miss someone who caused him and his allies so much pain and misery over the years, combined with the death of Talia, the impending power-struggle in the wake of the villain's death, and his nagging suspicion that the Joker's blood, though cured of Titan, may have even more damaging side effects on the hero's mind, Batman shut himself down even more to Alfred, Robin, and Oracle. While dealing with these disturbing and conflicting feelings, Batman soon began to suspect the set of contingency plans Joker made in the event of his death to ensure that Gotham was destroyed and the Dark Knight broken. As Batman investigated the late villain's final schemes, Harley Quinn broke out of her imprisonment and took control of Joker's gang in her own plans for revenge against Batman.
Stealing various equipment and explosives from the GCPD lockup, Quinn returned to Arkham City and took over the Steel Mill, one of the last locations the GCPD needed to evacuate to shut down Arkham City for good, and redecorated the entire Mill into a monument to the Joker. As police forces attempted to raid her base of operations, Quinn took various police officers hostage to lure Batman into a trap. For several days, Gordon and the GCPD would be at a stand still with Quinn's forces, as the murderous widow destroyed all routes back into the area and attacked or massacred any police forces attempting to infiltrate the area.
Having no choice but to rely on Batman again, Gordon asked for the damaged hero to save his men. Unfortunately, Quinn's tactics proved to be successful, as Batman was captured and locked in an air tight prison, connected to a makeshift and massive statue of the Joker, within the Sionis Ship Yard. However, Robin infiltrated Quinn's base, obtained the key card needed to unlock Batman's prison, fought past scores of her henchmen, including a Titan induced thug made from the last supply of the isolated Titan from Joker's bloodstream, and rescued Batman. After escaping, Batman learned of Quinn's true plans; to make him watch as his loved ones died and then take his and her own life, as a form of ultimate revenge for Joker's death and a way of reuniting with her 'puddin'.
With explosives rigged all over the ship yard, Batman defused all the bombs and was forced to face dozens of the Wonder City Guardian Robots, previously collected by Joker's men during Protocol 10, now under Quinn's control. After destroying them all, Quinn revealed one last bomb that will slaughter everyone in the building. While Batman is unable to stop the detonation, he was able to get Quinn and himself safely outside, as the entire building is destroyed, taking much of Harley's gang with it. Batman feared that Robin may have been caught in the explosion as well and believed his adoptive son to be dead by Harley's doing.
Harley relished in the Dark Knight's anguish and, while his back is turned towards the destruction, moved to stab him in the heart with a hidden knife to complete her revenge, only to be knocked out cold by Robin using one of his projectiles; he revealed that he has gotten all the abducted cops back to safety as well, ending Quinn's diluted quest for vengeance. Batman, relieved to see Robin alive and well, promptly left, knowing that what the Joker had in store for him and Gotham had only just begun.
A Legacy of Death and Destruction Left Behind
- "The city is tearing itself apart over him. He planned it that way."
- ―Batman to Commissioner Gordon over how Joker continues to destroy Gotham even in death.
As Harley Quinn and the rest of her gang were rounded up and arrested again, Batman refocuses his attention on Joker's back-up plans. Investigating what was left of the Steel Mill, Batman found a message from Joker that was made before he died and meant to be communicated to Batman in the event of his death. As Batman analyzed it at the Batcave, he located a video message from his eternal enemy, who began to taunt the hero and revealed yet another twisted and sick joke against Batman and all of Gotham.
Joker went on to state that, during the events of Arkham City, he sent his men to the Gotham City Radio Tower within the prison to take control of the broadcast frequencies and implant a message from Joker into them. This message was soon broadcast to all of Gotham over the next couple of weeks as Joker confirmed his death to the people of Gotham, but promised them that whoever finds his body and gives it to Harley Quinn will be rewarded with millions of dollars he embezzled over the years. Gotham soon went into chaos, as members of Joker's gang, police, and citizens began tearing apart the city looking for Joker's body out of pure greed.
After cruelly asking Batman to abuse Harley for him in his absence, Joker then revealed a special surprise for him; the bombs that were still rigged to the Arkham City perimeter walls, activated by the video message and set to detonate within the hour and unleash the remaining, rampaging inmates onto Gotham. While the prison was still in the process of being shut down, the remaining inmates had been given notice of this plan and prepared themselves for their escape, causing riots and chaos within the prison compound once again.
With the police too busy containing the inmates within Arkham City and the chaos in Gotham, Joker informed Batman that he was the only one capable of stopping the bombs. He left off his message by stating that the bombs will go off if tampered with and informed Batman that he will find the master code needed to deactivate the bombs within Arkham Asylum, in a room of personal significance to the both of them from a "day of independence" many years ago.
While in route to the Asylum, Batman contemplated on Joker's clue and relived in his memories a particularly brutal plot by the Joker that he orchestrated on the Fourth of July by hacking into the city's electric companies and shutting off all power to entice the populace to go outside. With thousands of citizens outside, Joker then proceeded to fire off Joker toxin induced fireworks all over Gotham, murdering thousands of men, women, and children and forcing Batman to escort Joker back to Arkham through a sea of corpses. Batman remembered that he took Joker to an abandoned cell within a boarded up wing of extreme isolation that night and deduced that was where Joker hid the code needed to deactivate the bombs based off his clue.
When Batman entered the room there, he found no such code, but a book Joker wrote underneath a loose stone tile, containing the names of every single person he has ever murdered within it, with Batman's name on the last page. Unknown to Batman, Joker had sensors installed within the room, tripping security and activating another message from the murdering psychopath. Joker's voice was suddenly heard on the security monitor in the room, revealing to Batman that he never had any intention of blowing the walls of Arkham City and simply used it as a ruse to lure Batman to this room.
The door suddenly locked, as Joker laughs and revealed to Batman that the room itself, instead of the Arkham City walls, had been rigged with explosives by Clayface during the events that took place in the mega prison, one of which was triggered when Batman grabbed the book. Joker bidded farewell to his eternal enemy, promising on seeing him in Hell and believing that this was the only way to set things right in their psychotic friendship. As the bombs went off, Arkham Asylum was nearly completely destroyed in the explosion, while the parked batmobile was damaged beyond repair from the debris, as the entire message from Joker was broadcast to Arkham City through the security monitors along with one last image; the initials, R.I.P., with a Batman symbol above it. As the inmates cheered at the message, Detective Bullock gave the order to have medical units over at Arkham Island and ordered Vicki Vale and her news team outside Arkham City to fly him over to the island.
When Bullock and his forces arrived at the ruins of the Asylum, all they found was Batman's suit, forcing them to believe that the Dark Knight had finally perished. As Gordon found out, he ordered Bullock to make sure that the news does not get leaked to Gotham, even if that means keeping the news staff locked up for the night. As Gordon loses hope of protecting his city, he received a phone call from none other than Batman, though he never revealed how he survived such a chaotic explosion. Batman and Gordon finally met at the morgue where the Joker's body was being kept and came to a mutual solution on how to ensure his body is never recovered and the people of Gotham stop fighting for it; cremating it.
As Batman took one last look at the man who caused him so many years of tragedy and misery, he gave Gordon the order to cremate the psychotic, mass murderer's body. As the Joker's body was sent into the inferno, Gordon informed Batman of the events that took place during the Joker's initial autopsy and gave him the flash drive that was hidden on the body, suggesting that the villain had more than one contingency plan in effect.
The Last Will and Testament of The Joker
As Gotham finally began to stabilize after the Joker's cremation, Batman had Alfred analyze the flash drive at the Batcave. He soon learned that the device contained the last will and testament of the Joker, detailed within a gruesome snuff video of his deceased rival sadistically torturing a bound and gagged police officer during the events of Arkham City. Outlining his rise from petty criminal to Gotham's most iconic and deadly villain, Joker revealed that he had one last surprise in store for the Dark Knight. Knowing that he hds at least one more mess to clean up, Batman received a call from Gordon, revealing that Joker had somehow infected the police commissioner with laughing toxin and his time was now limited.
Breaking into the police department, Batman worked with Officer Aaron Cash, having been recently promoted back to the GCPD after his rescue from Arkham City, to subdue Gordon before the commissioner attempted to commit suicide rather than deal with the unbearable pain of Joker's toxin any further and allowing the villain the last laugh. Having no antidote prepared for this unique strain of Joker's toxin, Batman resorted to contacting the one person who would have any information on Joker's postmortem plans; Harley Quinn. Breaking into the rebuilt Blackgate Penitentiary, renamed as Stone Ridge, Batman broke Harley out of her cell and brought her to Joker's old hideout in the now condemned Arkham City, as the area faced its last days of shutdown.
Attempting to find any shred of humanity left in Harley, Batman pleaded with her to prevent Joker from taking another good individual from Gotham. Harley began to seem genuinely remorseful for her past crimes now that Joker was gone, and informed the hero that Joker prepared an antidote to this newly created toxin and had it placed within the sewer tunnels beneath the Steel Mill. As Batman went to investigate, leaving Harley tied to be picked up by Cash, Harley revealed that Batman is falling into yet another trap and escaped from her binds and Arkham City.
When Batman located the canisters of Joker's antidote, he was suddenly attacked by Killer Croc, who revealed that he made a deal with Quinn, during her earlier campaign for revenge, to devour the Dark Knight should he come for the antidote. The brutal fight between Batman and Croc destroyed all but one of the canisters, which Croc held over a drainage pipe and reveled in Batman's pleads to stop. As Cash arrived with a barely alive Gordon, Batman defeated Croc with one of the freeze grenades Mr. Freeze gave him weeks prior and poured the last canister of the antidote into Gordon, who regained his health and composure in mere seconds as a result.
While Batman managed to save Gordon, the true objective of Joker's post-mortem plan was successful in that it was meant to offer Harley Quinn a method and window of time to escape back into Gotham in order to ensure that the villain's legacy continues to live on. To this end, Quinn tracked the Penguin, having once again bribed his way out of prison after the massive amounts of corruption surrounding Arkham City came to light, to his new hideout in Gotham and proposed that they form a truce and work on their plans together to destroy Batman and conquer the city as Penguin's rival, Joker, is now dead.
While Quinn intended to use Penguin for her own ends and would forever be loyal to the Joker, she kissed Penguin seductively in order to simply persuade the crime lord into forming an uneasy alliance with her new-found confidence and independence to finally rid themselves of the Dark Knight once and for all. She revealed that the Joker told her about every hideout, resource, toy, and weapon he had at his disposal and entrusted her to use them in order to honor his legacy in the event of his death. Remaining in control of Joker's old gang, Quinn consolidated her numbers with Penguin's army, as the pair began forming their plans to destroy Batman.
Despite Quinn's escape and several, destructive attempts by other villains and their gangs to take over the criminal underworld in the wake of Joker's death, Batman was able to seemingly neutralize the power vacuum and began the process of rebuilding Gotham. With all of Joker's schemes seemingly foiled and Arkham City finally shut down, a level of hope was brought back to Gotham City, with crime beginning to dramatically decrease without Joker's chaotic influence. Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne, began to step back into the political spectrum and introduced bold, new plans to rebuild Gotham, while also convincing Commissioner Gordon to campaign as Mayor and ensure the city is governed by the right people.
However, this peace was simply a means to an end as, even with many of the late villain's plans finally gone, Joker's death would continue to impact the criminal underworld over the following year and ultimately leave a lasting impression on Gotham and Batman. With Scarecrow, Penguin, and Quinn all making their own plans for the city and consolidating their power and gangs, massive plans were being implemented behind the quiet scenes of Gotham's new landscape, which would eventually and horrifically be unleashed within the next year.
Complimenting the new chaos was one final contingency plan that was laid out and carefully hidden by the Joker, through the drops of his blood that now course through the Dark Knight's veins. Joker's final contingency plan would not only be the most deadly and horrific, but would directly target Batman's very mind and, through it, his identity, allies, and city. With the fate of the hero's legacy and the world at large within the crosshairs, Joker's plans and demise would institute a new alliance of villains to ensure that the Dark Knight would be caught in one, last horrific war that would determine the ultimate fate of the city he vowed to protect on the grave of his parents once and for all.
- "Haven't you realized? We're inseparable. "
- ―Joker's consciousness haunting Batman's mind.
Realizing that these shifts in behavior were consistent with the time period in which Joker sent large quantities of his contaminated blood to emergency rooms all over Gotham, Batman feared that Joker's consciousness was now infecting innocent people and continuing to attack Gotham even in death. Calling in Nightwing from Blüdhaven, Batman worked with his eldest ward and the third Robin, Tim Drake, to begin searching for the possible infected of Joker's transfusions and obtain samples of their blood to run analyses with Alfred back at the Batcave to confirm his theory.
A week before Halloween, after returning home to his manor after a night of tracking the infected within a calming Gotham, Batman's worst fears and suspicions were eventually confirmed when he fell asleep that same night. The massive amounts of Joker's blood, now flowing through his body from the events of Arkham City, had indeed allowed the villain's very consciousness to cheat death and begin to take control of Batman's mind. Now firmly etched within his mind, Joker instigated another night of horror for the hero, though this time on a much more psychological level, as he distorted Bruce's dreams into a living nightmare and hallucination to serve as a taste for what was to come when Joker takes control of his mind and body.
Feeling the hallucination to be reality, Batman believed himself to be waking up the next morning and notified by Alfred that both Nightwing and Robin never reported back from the previous night after their patrols and all attempts to communicate to them have similarly failed. Fearing the worst, Batman was able to pinpoint Nightwing's location, due to his tracker's signal still strong enough, within an alley in Central Gotham. Arriving at the scene, Batman was horrified to find Dick, the first Robin and the most well trained of his allies, beaten and murdered by an assailant, who dislocated his jar, broke his ribs and right arm, and ultimately snapped his neck, resulting in the young hero dying in agonizing pain.
Reconstructing the crime scene, Batman learned that whoever attacked his adoptive son was not only agile, fast, and strong, but had an intimate knowledge of Nightwing's tactics, to the point that he was able to anticipate the young hero's moves. To make matters even more confusing, Nightwing seemed to know the attacker, as his movements suggested he was extremely hesitant to fight back and merely defended himself. Eventually learning that one of Penguin's men was a witness to the murder after discovering his fingerprints on an adjacent alley wall, Bruce interrogates Penguin at his new Iceberg Lounge for information, learning that one of Cobblepot's men did indeed witness Nightwing's murder and was fearful of Batman tracking him, before he was blown apart, along with two more of Penguin's men and half the lounge, with a bomb.
Arriving at the Elliott Memorial Hospital morgue, where the three bodies were being kept, Batman reconstructed the bomb via forensic images of the bomb's detonator from shrapnel pieces found in each of the victims' bodies, learning that the device was owned by CityVision Demolitions, a company working on demolishing an old sewer network beneath Founders' Island. Remembering a recent police report of demolition equipment previously being stolen from that same site, Batman suspected that there was a possibility that the area served as the murderer's base of operations and set his scanners to track Robin's transmitter in the area. True to his suspicions, Batman picked up a segmented transmission from Robin, revealing that he is trapped within the sewers.
At the demolition site, while remaining wary of any traps that may have been set for him, Batman suddenly began to hear Joker, who taunts the hero that they are now inseparable. Finally locating Robin, who mysteriously stated that Batman asked him to survey the area the previous night and follow a trail of Joker graffiti, within a cage near the sewer water, Joker revealed he has been behind everything, as Batman himself is trapped in a cage adjacent to Tim. Working together to get the cages open, Killer Croc, working with Joker, suddenly appeared from the water and began to attack the dynamic duo. While Robin is eventually able to free himself, he is tragically killed by Croc right in front of Bruce before he could save him, as Joker laughed.
Batman was suddenly then standing in a wing within Arkham Asylum's Intensive Treatment building, which held the worst criminals Gotham has ever known. Opening the hatch to Joker's cell, #425, Batman was suddenly transported within the cell, as Joker reveals the horrifying truth. The whole night was an elaborate hallucination of Joker's creation within Bruce's dreams and, within this hallucination, it was Batman, under Joker's control, who murdered Nightwing and Cobblepot's men and led Robin into a trap the previous night, explaining how Dick went down so easily and was hesitant to fight back, as well as why Penguin's man feared Batman was tracking him.
The villain ended the hallucination by showing Batman's reflection to be that of the Joker, making it clear that he has now begun the process of taking control of Bruce's mind and, once he does, will proceed to murder his family and allies and destroy Gotham with the hero's own hands, resources, and abilities. His fears now confirmed, Batman, after finally waking from the hallucination, began to work on developing a cure, while also tracking down any other potential victims to Joker's blood, who may be suffering similar symptoms, from the night of Protocol 10.
Eventually securing four infected individuals within a base built into the Panessa Film Studious, previously a front for the mob and bought up by Bruce Wayne under the incentive of wanting to convert it into an Amusement Park to continue to raise Gotham's morale, Batman continued to work on developing a cure, while keeping his home and identity safe from the infected. With his allies, city, and very legacy now in the crosshairs of Joker's last contingency plan, Batman began to distance himself even more from his allies, ordering Nightwing to return to and patrol Blüdhaven, unaware that other threats were closing in on Gotham as well.
Nine months after Arkham City's shutdown, Joker's death and the ultimate failure of his plans led Gotham City to a time of peace with crime dramatically decreasing to nearly zero for the first time in years. Without Joker's chaotic and murderous presence plaguing the streets of Gotham, citizens had never felt safer and other criminals had become much more quiet and relatively neutral. Fearing that something was developing behind the scenes, Batman continued to keep a dedicated vigil over the city and develops new technology as he continued to struggle with his feelings over his nemesis' death. However, without Joker's hold over the criminal underworld, a power vacuum was left in place as other villains began to seize the opportunity to gain control over the criminal element for their own designs.
Ultimately, Scarecrow, returning after years of hiding and plotting after Killer Croc's attack on him underneath Arkham Asylum, which left the villain horribly scarred and deformed, managed to take over the criminal underworld and united all of Batman's enemies. Knowing that Gotham City will never truly be theirs to conquer and twist to their desires with Batman still alive, the villains agreed to temporarily collaborate in order to finally achieve their common goal; the death of Batman. With Joker's presence gone, the remaining members of Batman's rouges gallery had a much easier time working together without the Clown Prince of Crime upsetting the balance and had been silently working together for the past year to unleash an elaborate plot to destroy Batman and conquer the city he vowed to protect.
Having consolidated all of the city's worst criminals and villains, Scarecrow instigated an evacuation of Gotham City on Halloween night under the threat of his new strain of fear gas, developed over the last couple of years, being unleashed from within a massive chemical weapon that was being manufactured somewhere in the city. To validate his threat, Scarecrow had one of his men unleash a mere ten percent of his latest fear toxin within a heavily populated Pauli's Diner to serve as a twisted demonstration, resulting in dozens of deaths and a mere handful of survivors. As Scarecrow broadcasted the resulting carnage across Gotham, the city descended into chaos, as police forces worked tirelessly to evacuate the six million citizens to shelters within the mainland. With the city evacuated, only police officers were left, as the villains and their respective gangs, now all working together, began to take over the streets and create chaos and destruction all over Gotham.
With the aid of an incredible, militarized force under the control of a new figure in Gotham, known only as the Arkham Knight, whose goal was similarly to destroy Batman for unknown reasons and purposes, Scarecrow and his allies managed to conquer all of Gotham and used its resources to manufacture more of his toxin, among other weapons, to cover the entire east coast in chaos. Harley Quinn herself joined the alliance, her mind forever warped beyond all repair by the Joker's abusive influence even as her remaining morality attempted to reason with her, with her own plans to avenge Joker's death and ensure that the villain's legacy lives on throughout Gotham City and the world beyond.
As Gotham descended into chaos, Batman attempted to neutralize the threat by infiltrating ACE Chemicals, the factory having been converted into Scarecrow and Arkham Knight's base of operations. Scarecrow manufactured massive quantities of his fear toxin within the chemical mixing plant and rigged the entire factory to blow, which would cause all of Gotham and the entire East Coast to be engulfed in a paralyzing wave of fear toxin. Though Batman managed to reach Scarecrow, the villain quickly turned the tables on the Dark Knight by revealing that his forces were currently attacking Oracle's clock tower, having deduced that Barbara Gordon has been aiding Batman's war on crime for countless years.
- "Miss me?"
- ―Joker's first words to Batman during their mental reunion.
As Batman attempted to communicate to Oracle, Scarecrow locked him in the room as his new strain of fear toxin is pumped throughout. Accepting that there is little chance of survival, Batman willing stayed behind to reduce the amount of fear toxin in the facility before it exploded, leaving the city safe. However, before he can finish, he was shocked to come face to face with a bloodied and bruised Joker, who proceeded to knock him out with a gunshot to the head.
When he came to, Batman realized the horrifying truth that Scarecrow's fear toxin has now accelerated the process of Joker's consciousness, imbued within the hero from Joker's blood, and enabled Batman to see the Joker, the man who represents his greatest fears of turning into the villain, though he alone was able to hear and see him. Joker revealed that he previously accepted the possibility of death within Arkham City and took precautions to ensure that he lived on through his poisoned blood, which was delivered to Gotham's hospitals. Most of the victims who were administered the blood were cured by Batman and his allies, but four patients fell under the radar due to hospital records never making note of their transfusions.
The four individuals were Queen Industries executive board member, Christina Bell, professional singer Johnathan Brown, better known under his stage name, Johnny Charisma, former professional heavyweight fighter and champion, Albert King, also known as the Goliath, and principal of the prestigious McCallum Academy, Henry Adams. By the time the cure was administered to them, the Joker's blood already became assimilated into their bloodstream and with it, his consciousness.
With the villain's blood containing unique chemicals and toxins, which transformed the villain into his colorful appearance, the transfusions create a heavily mutated disease that infects the brain and turns its victims into its original host, the Joker, both in body and mind. Now nothing but mere pawns to the Clown Prince of Crime, these individuals performed violent mass murders and acts of extreme sadism and megalomania.
Christina Bell murdered eleven of her fellow board members during a shareholders' meeting by slitting each of their throats with a knife and carving a Glasgow grin into their faces, inheriting Joker's obsession with Batman in the process. Albert King inherited Joker's love for sadistic violence and ripped off the arms of three members of his immediate family after forcing them into an arm wrestling competition, using their blood to make a Joker-like grin on his face.
Lastly, Johnny Charisma severely beat one of his groupies into a coma as he inherited Joker's massive ego and love for attention and showmanship. Batman was eventually able to quarantine them underground in an abandoned movie theaters complex he had previously purchased as Bruce Wayne and converted into a safety facility. The only victim that did not seem to show any symptoms of becoming another Joker was Henry Adams, but was still kept under surveillance by Batman and Robin as they believed Henry may hold the key towards curing the others.
However, Joker's ultimate trump card came in the massive transfusion he performed on Batman within Arkham City, as the Joker truly lusted to take control of his mind, body, and resources, lock the hero's consciousness away in a tiny corner of his own mind, and ultimately become one with his eternal nemesis. While Batman was cured of the Titan disease the same night he was infected, the massive amounts of blood Joker pumped into his body, later revealed to be nearly three pints (stated among the many comments by Joker's consciousness), made it impossible for the cure to isolate and prevent Joker's blood from gestating and only succeeded in eliminating the fatal Titan chemicals.
With Joker firmly etched into his mind, the psychopath now had access to all his secrets and planned to use Bruce's company, equipment, funds, and resources to murder all his enemies and Batman's allies, consolidate all the gangs under a rebuilt criminal empire, and ultimately lead a campaign of violence on Gotham and the world itself. Doing so through Batman's body would prove to be the ultimate joke for the villain and a way of always being with his old rival and never being forgotten by the world. Taunting the Dark Knight with the death of his parents and Talia, as well as shifting the blame for his own death on the hero, Joker preyed upon Batman's greatest fears of becoming just like him, stating his intentions to make Batman kill before the end of the night and fully taking control of his body.
Throughout the long and brutal night, Joker's control over Batman progressed, causing the hero's sanity to dwindle to the ultimate level and see and hear Joker everywhere as the villain recounts the countless, inhuman crimes he performed throughout his life, including the mutilation and murder of an entire kindergarten class, setting fire to a maternity ward, and replacing baptism water at a church with hydrochloric acid. Batman himself began reliving particularly brutal events in his life orchestrated by the Joker, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon, and the abduction and horrendous torture of Jason Todd, the second Robin, which lasted for over a year in an abandoned wing of Arkham Asylum and ended with Joker brutally murdering him and videotaping the entire event for Batman's eyes.
Meanwhile, it is revealed that Henry Adams, previously believed to be immune to the effects of Joker's blood, was actually the victim that is the most affected and was simply pretending to still be sane, having inherited Joker's strategic intelligence and manipulative personality. Previously, with Joker's influence taking hold of him, Henry made contact with Harley Quinn and revealed to her that he was a host to Joker's blood, as well as the existence of the other Jokers, and the pair made their plans to fool Batman in order to gain entry to the quarantine zone. As Henry predicted, Batman eventually made contact with him and forcibly escorted him to the quarantine zone, where the other infected were being held until a cure could be developed.
With a manipulative and self-aware personality, Henry was able to withstand the physical changes caused by Joker's blood until the appropriate moment presented itself and fool Batman into believing the principal was immune. While Harley believed Henry's goal was to free and consolidate the other Jokers with her gang and unleash a wave of chaos upon the world, his true objective, under Joker's manipulation, was to use Harley in an elaborate scheme to locate and murder the other hosts as a sadistic method of 'purifying the Joker gene pool', as the villain had already found his perfect host. Unknown to Henry, the perfect host was actually Batman himself, with the unfortunate man being nothing more than another pawn to ensure Joker's image is upheld in the manner that only the Clown Prince of Crime sees fit.
When the time was right, Henry switched the security measures to allow Harley and her gang entry into the base in order to release the other Joker-infected victims and kill Robin. As her gang attempted to murder Robin, Harley took complete control of the zone and redecorated portions of it to resemble a shrine to the Joker and her eternal love for the mass murdering psychopath, similar to her actions nine months prior in Arkham City. Seeing the infected as her children and the next generation of Joker, Harley viewed them as her last chance to have a trace of the villain in her life and planned to embark on sprees of chaos and destruction with them. However, upon being alerted of the situation by Henry in order to draw him into a trap, Batman headed to the movie theaters to neutralize all the Joker-infected and apprehend Harley and her gang.
As Harley's gang consolidated their hold over the complex, three of the Joker-infected begin to embark on their own agendas with the support of Harley's men and equipment. Christina Bell had several gang members patrol the corridors that comprise the haunted house set, after shooting one dead, knowing full well that Batman was coming to rescue her. Albert King set up a makeshift fighting ring within the western-style set, beating three of Harley's gang to death as he waited for Batman to arrive, intent to brutalize him to a bloody pulp.
Lastly, Johnny Charisma took control of the sound stage, set up dynamite packs throughout the room, and strapped himself to a bomb-vest as he sang to Batman, with the hero actually seeing Joker singing to him due to the villain's blood and fear toxin in his systems, taunting the death of his parents, allies, and Talia. Despite these obstacles, Batman was able to defeat all of Harley's men and recapture the Joker-infected with the aid of Robin.
However, Henry revealed his hand and, after cruelly taking Harley hostage, murdered the rest of the Jokers with a gun, believing them to be shames to the original. Henry then drew his gun on Batman, as Joker's influence became stronger on the Dark Knight, with Joker commenting throughout the entire course of events. Joker then declared that, though Henry was an impressive host for him, he still can not compare to Batman, as a small portion of Henry's previous persona surfaces, and used his consciousness to influence Henry into committing suicide, resulting in all four innocent hosts having their lives ruined and taken by the same influence. Batman contained Harley, now emotionally broken, to one of the quarantine cells as her gang disbanded once and for all and Joker continued to taunt the hero with his impending loss of free will and sanity.
Scarecrow would eventually reveal his true plans to unleash his fear toxin through a device he built known as the Cloudburst, an aerosol dispenser that amplifies the effects of the toxin. As a result, all of Gotham was engulfed in a perpetual cloud of fear toxin, leaving Batman no choice but to dive head first into the gas and into the batmobile. As the hero attempted to insert an energy cell within the batmobile's systems, having been short-circuited due to the toxin, Joker taunted him, as hundreds of criminals throughout the city murdered each other and themselves, and attempted to weaken the hero in conjunction with the toxin in order to finally assume control of his body. Despite this, Batman managed to energize his car once again and engaged the Arkham Knight, controlling the Cloudburst, mounted within his tank, and completely destroyed both devices.
While the Arkham Knight managed to escape, Batman and Poison Ivy, having sided with the Dark Knight in order to protect her plants, managed to eradicate all the toxins throughout the city through the use of ancient root systems that contained the appropriate pheromones needed to purify Gotham, boldly sacrificing herself in the process. In spite of this great victory, Scarecrow still refused to surrender and took control over the remains of the Arkham Knight's army, believing that the commander had abandoned his followers in light of Batman's victory over him, and revealed his partnership with Deathstroke, the assassin who went on to lead all ground operations throughout the city in thirst for his own revenge against Batman.
However, it would eventually be revealed that the Arkham Knight was in fact Jason Todd, having survived Joker's vicious abduction and torture as the villain's true goal was to turn Batman's sidekick against him and deceived the hero into believing Jason was dead. Having named himself after the facility in which he was tortured for over a year, Jason lusted to kill Batman for not only failing to find him, but replacing him while he was still entrapped and being tortured. Stating that nothing could be further from the truth, Batman told Jason that he never forgave himself for what happened and pleads to not let Joker win, as this is what he wanted to happen as a result of his torture. While Jason escaped after Bruce defeated him and reached out to his son, he finally began to realize just how much Bruce still loved him and did in fact desperately try to find him during his abduction.
After Batman neutralized most major threats throughout the city and the Gotham police force began to regain control of the streets, Scarecrow implemented his final hand and commences an all out assault on the GCPD to serve as a diversion for Batman as the villain abducted Tim Drake from his base built into the movie studios. While Batman managed to destroy the last of Scarecrow's tanks and apprehend the remaining militia, including Deathstroke, the hero would ultimately be forced to surrender to Crane in order to ensure the safety of Robin and Commissioner Gordon, both being held hostage at Arkham Asylum.
Arriving at a storage depot, Batman was forced to surrender his equipment and enter the back of a truck, being pumped with fear toxin, which began to drive him to the asylum. At this moment, Joker's victory seemed assured when he and Batman engage in a brutal, mental battle within Crime Alley due to the effects of the toxin, which ended with the Dark Knight being goaded into breaking his nemesis's neck, albeit only in his mind. With this, Joker knew he was pushing Batman towards his ultimate limit and all that was needed was one last dose of fear toxin from Scarecrow. Joker fully took control over the hero when Scarecrow traps the hero at the Arkham Mansion and exposed Batman's identity to the world as Bruce Wayne in front of live television, finally injecting him with a lethal dose of fear toxin.
With Joker now controlling Bruce's mind, the villain warped his mental images into a hellish nightmare that outlined his intentions and plans for Gotham, including murdering his rivals, their gangs, and Batman's allies before using Wayne's resources and equipment to completely destroy Gotham, ending by threatening to attack Wayne Manor and Alfred. However, this was all finally playing into Batman's hand, as the hero realized that in order to defeat the Joker, he must be subjected to a much more concentrated dose of Scarecrow's fear toxin, so that he may use the villain's inner demons to purge him from his mind.
As Joker laughs insanely at the imagined carnage while he assumes dominance over his new body, he then ominously told Scarecrow (who believed him to still be Batman) to "get ready for the encore" while laughing insanely after the latter divulged his plan of setting Bruce free just in time to see Gotham City destroyed and his allies hunted down and killed as a testament to his failure, prompting Crane to inject him with another dose of the fear toxin out of rage and confusion towards Bruce for not even appearing remotely scared. This ultimately played right into the Dark Knight's plan to rid himself of the Joker infection once and for all, as the Joker underestimated the fact that he too must feel the effects of the toxin once Scarecrow injects another dose.
While initially confident that the toxin would have no effect on him as he believed himself to have no fears, even cracking a joke about how his own body ended up cremated after his death when reliving the event, Joker became very disturbed and progressively frightened at the new surroundings around him, including his grave shown to be small, overgrown and vandalized, no one besides Harley Quinn attending his wake, and Gotham, Batman, and even Harley forgetting about him. Joker eventually realized that, with all the horror he's inflicted on others, no one would mourn or miss him, and his legacy would soon be forgotten as Gotham and Batman move on with their lives. Now genuinely frightened that he was trapped within the nightmare and he would not be remembered by anyone, Joker is stalked by an invulnerable Batman, but is slightly relieved when he believed that he has found an exit.
- "No, Bruce! Don't leave me! Please... I need you"
- ―Joker pleading with Batman not to forget him and lock him away within his mind forever.
Ironically, this was nothing more than a ruse by Batman, having finally turned the tables on his hated nemesis and is regaining control of his mind by preying on Joker's love and insatiable lust for attention to feed his massive ego. Batman revealed to the Joker that the villain is terrified of being forgotten and that he will indeed be forgotten by everyone. For the first time in their battles, Joker was truly horrified and helpless against Batman, as he was severely and unrelentlessly beaten by the hero, who used every move and gadget in his arsenal against his hated enemy in retribution for everything he forced thousands of people, his allies, and himself to endure over the years, before finally punching the villain dozens of times and violently throwing him into the back of a cell within an area of the his mind that resembled Arkham Asylum. As Batman locked the door to the cell, Joker paniced and desperately screamed and pleaded with the hero not to imprison and leave him, as he will then be locked away within his mind forever, telling the hero that he needed him.
Batman, having finally realized that Joker was always at his mercy, bid goodbye to his nemesis and locked him away in his personal hell forever, as Joker slowly sobbed and faded away. Immediately afterwards, Batman regained his mind and sanity and, having built up a tolerance to the fear toxin after overcoming all his inner demons and freed by a redeemed Jason Todd (now donning the image of the Red Hood and thus ending Joker's final contingency by abandoning the Arkham Knight persona), injected Scarecrow with his own toxin. Scarecrow was reduced to a pathetic and cowering man in front of live television and screamed insanely, as his fears took control and saw Batman as a demonic figure, until Gordon punched the villain out. Humiliated, beaten, and mentally broken, Scarecrow was taken to the GCPD jails, with the last of his equipment stripped away from him, and would remain locked up for the rest of his life alongside with his fellow criminals.
To protect his allies and ensure that he can still patrol Gotham, Batman implemented the Knightfall Protocol, a contingency he previously laid out in the event of his identity being uncovered, which completely destroyed his mansion and any evidence of his vigilante activities with massive explosions. With Bruce and Alfred both presumed dead in the blast, the pair were able to effectively fake their deaths and ensure that the rest of their family is kept safe. With his legacy serving as additional inspiration for Gotham to finally clean up and rebuild itself, with the help of a fully reformed government and infrastructure, Bruce continued to watch over Gotham, though now in the guise of a much more terrifying persona that was only glimpsed by other criminals before they were subdued.
As Gotham returned to peace, Gordon was eventually elected as the new Mayor, political and internal corruption was stamped out, Batman was forever remembered as a hero, and crime dramatically declined with the last of Gotham's major criminals dead or behind bars and Joker's influence gone at long last. A reinvented Batman and his allies, including a healing and redeemed Jason Todd, now working with Bruce out of forgiveness and a need to reconnect with his adoptive father, continued to patrol Gotham, as Joker's legacy slowly faded into nothingness with the villain not only dead, but locked away in his own, personal hell, alone, for the rest of time. With the last of his plans and contingencies destroyed beyond repair, his legacy largely forgotten, his remaining followers disbanded, Gotham at peace at long last, and Batman putting the past behind him with his life and allies safe at long last, the Joker had finally lost.
During the end credits, Joker was heard singing "The Asylum Blues", realizing that he was trapped forever in Batman's mind. The Clown Prince of Crime was now permanently dead, with Gotham returning to normal without him or his presence.
The Joker could best be described as the true source of pure and irredeemable evil within Gotham City, regarding mindless anarchism, unpredictable chaos, madness and uncountable deaths on a malevolent scale as amusing. He was highly amoral, even by other criminals' standards, and had no interest in either money or companionship; his primary motivation was to cause pure anarchy and chaos for the sake of it in order to satisfy his twisted sense of humor and carve a legacy for himself that he hoped would never be forgotten. Despite this, the villain still fully understood the political side of the criminal underworld and to amass the type of chaos he hoped to unleash within Gotham City and beyond, he would need a massive power-base and an army of henchmen to aid in his plans.
As such, the villain would often perform heists and exploits to increase his ill-gotten wealth and power, such as robbing the Merchant's Bank and taking over Black Mask's operations, to enlist others. Despite Joker's tendency to murder his own henchmen on a whim, many were drawn to his empire due to the benefits they reaped, as Joker allowed his men to keep all the spoils from their crimes, not asking for a cut himself and simply asked that they created chaos, and paid them considerably more than the other crime bosses due to his uninterest in wealth, outside of what was necessary for his operations. Due to this, Joker always had an army of henchmen ready to take the risks of working for him for money or simply because they admired his deranged behavior.
While the Clown Prince of Crime did seek to seize complete control of Gotham, his intention was to transform it into a city without rules and corrupt its populace, having no desire to control it politically like many of the fellow rouges, such as Black Mask and Penguin. This would not only further feed the villain's insatiable appetite for destruction and random violence, but would also prove his point of there being no true morality in life, especially to Batman, and ensure that his legacy is forever carved into the scars he leaves behind on the world. While his motivations for this behavior were never made clear, he implied while fighting Batman at Blackgate that, similar to the Caped Crusader, Joker's actions and outlook ultimately stemmed from the extremely broken society and lawlessness that was Gotham City at that time.
His malice and insanity was such that, when Batman first met him during his second year as the caped crusader, Batman even noted that, of all of the criminals of various stripes he had encountered up to that point, even those who were more extreme in their thinking, he had never even imagined someone like the Joker could exist before then, with the closest he could peg the man to in terms of diagnosis was that of a highly resourceful psychopath with a sadistic intelligence that wasn't hampered by his criminal insanity, and utterly reveled in destruction, chaos, and overall human misery. After encountering Batman, he became obsessed with defeating his archenemy, but simultaneously cherished their rivalry, as it made his agenda of chaos, and his life by extension, that much more interesting and eventful.
Some individuals, from psychiatrists to even Batman himself, questioned if the Joker was actually insane. While undoubtedly displaying psychopathic traits, he also possessed genius-level intellect and planning, implying that Joker was in full control of his actions. Though he could be delusional with his worldview at times, the Joker nonetheless had a grip on reality, if not a highly cynical one, as he himself even admitted to knowing what he was doing was legally and morally wrong. Audio tapes of the villain's various therapy sessions while he was incarcerated within Arkham Asylum revealed him to be Machiavellian as, despite his untrustworthy appearance, he was charming and seductive enough to make others feel sympathy for him. He is, however, shown to have very vivid hallucinations, as when being throttled by Batman in the Blackgate Prison Chapel late into the Christmas incident, he proceeded to hallucinate the Dark Knight as a demonic, gargoyle-like creature and proceeded to laugh insanely before Batman punched him out.
Prime examples of such characteristics could be glimpsed when he fooled Doctor Young into believing he truly longed to be rehabilitated and Doctor Harleen Quinzel into believing that he loved her. He was a pathological liar, exemplified when Hugo Strange revealed during their therapy sessions within Arkham City that Joker concocted at least twelve unique backgrounds over the years to explain his origins, with the one finite detail being Batman. This not only left the Joker's true background a complete mystery, but also enabled the villain to solely live his life as a mass murdering criminal, with no bounds to his previous life or memories holding to reason.
Noticeably, while being evaluated by Harleen at Blackgate, he was able to lie and tell the truth at the same time to garner sympathy and express his inner emotions by relating his new-founded feelings for Batman and use of the situation to make it appear as if he was talking about her. The events of Arkham Origins and Arkham Asylum have showcased him as being extremely emotionally unpredictable and unstable as he could quickly go from being a calculated mastermind with a serious tone to a hysteric state, laughing maniacally until he was at the brink of tears. The Joker had a volatile temper, but rarely stayed angry for long, as he often expressed his frustrations through violently and randomly killing anyone around him, including unexpected henchmen.
Joker relished in being seen as a force of nature; a chaotic disruption of social order not worthy of any sympathy. Due to this, the villain was extremely protective of his past, demonstrated in his anger towards Hugo Strange when the professor attempted to uncover his true origins, as he did not want anyone to understand him nor attempt to humanize him, unless it was part of a larger plan or manipulation, as with the case of Harley Quinn. It was implied that the villain himself might not even know his true origins, deciding instead to know only that he suffered a bad day, not wanting to remember his past. Unlike most of his fellow rogues, Joker did not hide behind any distorted justifications or pleas for sympathy, but proudly proclaimed himself as a villain, who fully understood the magnitude of his horrific actions and simply laughed in the faces of his victims and those that attempted to reach out to him, with the sole exception being, ironically enough, Batman himself.
Joker did not long to become assimilated back into society, because his views dictated that society was just as sick as he was, as he made it his goal to show the world that, even if he was a self-proclaimed abominable individual, human nature in general was no better. The villain's ideology led him to feel absolutely no remorse for even the most barbaric of crimes, including the mutilation and murder of children and infants; to the Joker, he was showing the world that there was no such concept of innocence if innocents can be slaughtered. Even with society's laws, norms, and moral grounds, Joker believed life was nothing more than a sick joke to be toyed with and laughed at.
Joker's unique behavior enabled him to cover his true nature, whether it was a state of insanity or not, with a firm layer of unpredictability, as each doctor who examined him concluded a different condition that the villain may have had. This led to a competition of sorts between the Arkham Asylum's professors over the years, including Dr. Young, Hugo Strange, and Harleen Quinzel, who all lusted to discover what truly made up the Joker's motives and origins to become famous, something the villain greatly took advantage of for his own plans and amusement. Even Joker's henchmen noticed the villain's inconsistent behavior, stating that their employer acted unstable and insane one moment and then formulated complex and ingenious plans the next.
He had little concern for his imprisonment, as he had multiple guards on his payroll and orderlies under his manipulation, and escaped multiple times. He developed a unique connection to Arkham Asylum, despite it being the place of his imprisonment, due to its violent background and environment and often used it as a staging ground for many of his plans and designs. Being a fortress filled with some of the most violent and deranged criminals Gotham has ever seen, Arkham was the perfect ground to compliment Joker's nature and formulate and stage many of his plans, form connections with other rouges, and shield himself from the death penalty, a legal form of execution that would not prove Joker's point of even the most benevolent becoming corrupted, which he primarily hoped to convey through breaking Batman's noble nature.
Whilst he found the pain of others hilarious, he took an equal amount of pleasure in his own. His lack of fear towards intimidation, imprisonment and physical pain has been contributed as masochism. His lack of self-preservation was reinforced further by how he not only took twisted pleasure in being beaten by an enraged Batman, but attempting to provoke him into killing him and even shooting himself with a dangerously high dose of Titan formula to simply prove a point. He had very little fear of death itself, as evidenced by his frequently and deliberately letting himself get caught in the crossfire that would have all but ensured his death, and many times even laughing when about to face the inevitability of his death.
Despite this, Joker was shown to be desperate to develop a cure to his Titan poisoning, perhaps indicating just how much he truly enjoyed his life, and was immensely fearful of being forgotten, as he built his entire life and criminal career around accumulating notoriety, and was afraid that his death would indeed cement that fear. Scarecrow's fear toxin proved that Joker was indeed deathly afraid of the world not remembering him and Batman being able to exist without his nemesis. Additionally, even Joker was not above being mesmerized by the amazing properties of immortality and the absolute power it would grant him to commit one atrocity after another for all eternity, shown by his persistence to locate and use the incredible chemicals of the Lazarus Pit underneath Arkham City and his gleeful state of mind when he cheated death by partially taking control of Batman's mind via his contaminated blood and began to exert full dominance.
He was a monomaniac, who underwent extremely deranged fixations upon different obsessions. The most obvious being clowns, which became the motif of his criminal empire, due to the disfigurements that caused him to appear to look like one. One of his most deranged and defining obsessions would be his relationship with Batman, whom he had declared to be his archenemy, but has referred to him as his best friend on many occasions as well. To Joker, Batman was his straight-man to feel the blunt of his sadistic jokes and knew he could always rely on the hero to play his games of cat and mouse, sometimes not even caring about the success of his plans as long as Batman was hurt in some way and he could start the game all over.
The Joker was also highly egocentric and vain enough to commit crimes and not even attempt to hide his involvement. His ego was centralized in his one and only fear of being forgotten and leaving nothing behind in the form of a legacy. This trait dictated the villain's belief that he was above all the other villains within Gotham City and beyond, believing that they were not of his stature or even worthy of facing Batman, often putting him into conflict with them and their own criminal empires, something that he enjoyed immensely. Despite this, Joker still saw the value of working with certain rouges, often those of whom at least partially embodied his ideals of random violence, such as Scarecrow and Victor Zsasz, in order to further his own goals.
Despite his considerable amount of followers, the Joker had no care for them in the slightest, beholding to an amoral attitude for life in general, viewing the nature of morality as ridiculous and has claimed that life itself is the biggest joke of all, wanting nothing more than to corrupt others and reduce them to his own level of evil. Due to this, there were few crimes, if any, that Joker did not resort to at least once in his life and murdered men, women, children, his own henchmen, and even infants, seeing their deaths as only contributing factors to an already sick and depraved world. He openly did not think much of humanity, believing everyone was as equally insane and sadistic as he was and that to deny this was madness.
The sole exception to the Clown Prince's inaffection may have lied with Harley Quinn, who proved on multiple occasions to be the only individual Joker ever showed any normal affection towards. While Joker did not love Harley, especially to any remote degree that the unfortunate woman believed in, the villain did have a soft spot for her, admiring her beauty and loyalty towards him, forming an often purely physical relationship. This, however, did not prevent him from abusing her on multiple occasions to keep her in line or simply to enjoy her abuse as his "hobby", seeing her pain as amusing as anyone else's, but never went as far as to intentionally attempt to kill her. Even when under the effects of Scarecrow's fear toxin, Harley was the one individual that Joker refused to hurt, showing that he did indeed have some affection for her, however fleeting and self-serving.
Regardless of Joker's on and off relationship with Harley, the one individual that the villain openly admitted to being lost without was Batman himself. Despite his affection towards the hero being conveyed in pure violence and torture, the Joker realized how much more enjoyable his life became when he met the hero and challenged his world views. Because of the villains beliefs that people are only as good as the world allows them to be, he resented Batman for his ideals that people are essentially good and is more than willing to die at the hands of Batman if only to prove his beliefs and that the Dark Knight is no better than the villain himself.
While he retained his nihilistic nature through his adverbial relationship with Batman, he had admitted that his purpose in life was for him and the Dark Knight to meet and be each other's enemies. Whilst he originally viewed him as a "tiny little distraction", all that changed when he saved him from falling to his death from atop the Gotham Royal Hotel, perplexed at the idea that someone else would risk their life to save his own (and even admits later that he deserved to die), believing that it was fate that he and Batman met that day. Joker then saw a new-found purpose in his life and greatly began not only to value his battles with Batman, but become defined by them, seeing the Dark Knight as an old friend that he could always partake in a game of cat and mouse with, as scores of innocent victims were in the cross-hairs.
Joker saw a little bit of himself in Batman: someone who was born of a very bad day and, despite having a polar opposite view of the world, became a symbol for his beliefs and was extremely keen on protecting his ideaology, demonstrated when he saved even the worst type of criminal from death; Joker. He gained a deep respect for Batman due to his persistence in upholding his values, seeing him as the ultimate opponent to challenge and ultimately prove that his world views were nothing more than a joke. He saw Batman as a damaged man, refusing to indulge in his inner madness, while Joker embraced his. Despite his respect for the hero, Joker relished in tormenting Batman during his every waking and, in the case of Arkham VR, sleeping moment, and reveled in his despair, especially when murdering a close ally. Consequently, while Batman despised the villain, he was also defined by the Joker, whose presence was the primary motive for the hero to force himself into constantly improving himself and his equipment, becoming the hero Gotham truly needed, in order to protect its populace from the likes of such criminals.
Due to his determination to prove Batman's views as a laughing matter, Joker's plans often branched into an extremely psychological battle, being one of the few villains to get inside the Dark Knight's head and challenge his morals. From that moment on, Joker gave up countless opportunities to unmask and kill Batman, as he would become bored without his enemy to challenge him or learning his secret identity, believing the reveal would be anticlimactic and reduce the hero to being just another man and not a force of nature, similar to the world's perception of the villain. Joker never wanted to see Batman as a man, but rather an icon and a symbol that he would slowly unravel for the world to see, destroying everything Batman valued and reducing him to a monster like himself, and proving that morality was the greatest joke of all.
- Unrepentant homicidal maniac, albeit without a precise psychological diagnosis
- Surprisingly strong hand-to-hand combatant
- His past is unknown; conflicting, unconfirmed reports state that he was a failed comedian, a petty thief, and a broken family man
- Employs various deadly weapons, often based on party-gag items
- Frequently uses a toxin that stretches victim's face into a Joker-like grin and causes death
A special download for Arkham Asylum exclusive to the PlayStation 3 allows players to take control of the Joker. He has his own attacks and battle rooms in which he must fend off Arkham's security guards trying to apprehend him. During combat, Joker employs his lethal laughing gas, a revolver handgun, and his joy buzzer as special attacks.
He uses his impressive hand-to-hand abilities to punch, slap, kick, and poke out eyes. During stealth missions where Joker must dispose of Arkham's security on patrol, he can use a pair of glasses with swirly circles in the lenses to see through walls and identify guards.
Another weapon he has is remote-controlled chattering teeth that carry explosives. The Joker also fights specific characters from the regular game, including guards Aaron Cash, Henry Smith, Eddie Burlow, Zach Franklin, William North, and Louie Green, as well as Commissioner Gordon. The challenge maps are divided into melee and stealth challenges. The melee challenges pit Joker in an arena-like room to face off against a number of security guards who come in to face the Clown Prince of Crime in groups. The stealth challenges are when the Joker must defeat all the Arkham guards without being detected in a large area of Arkham Asylum complete with nooks and crannies for the Joker to hide in.
The Joker's Melee Challenge Maps
- Round 1- The Joker must face Henry Smith and two other Arkham security guards attired in riot gear at the Holding Cells.
- Round 2- The Joker must face Eddie Burlow and four other security guards. (One of which is notably the guard the Joker killed to make his escape at the start of the regular game.)
- Round 3- The Joker must face Aaron Cash, Louie Green, and six other security guards.
- Round 4- The Joker must face a team of security guards led personally by Commissioner Gordon, including Zach Franklin and William North.
- Round 1- The Joker must face Zach Franklin, William North, and a team of four other Arkham security guards on patrol in the Old Sewer.
- Round 2- The Joker must face Louie Green and a group of helmeted security guards led by Eddie Burlow.
- Round 3- The Joker must face Aaron Cash, Henry Smith, and a total of nine other security guards attempting to take him into custody.
- Round 4- The Joker must take down Commissioner Gordon and an army of fifteen Arkham security guards trying to apprehend him.
- Round 1- The Joker must contend with William North, Louie Green, and two other security guards in the Extreme Incarceration area of the Penitentiary. He has 28 seconds before the Arkham security systems electrify the floor and shock him into unconsciousness.
- Round 2- The Joker must face a team of four security guards led by Eddie Burlow. Burlow and one of the security guards wield electrified stun batons and can block most of the Joker's attacks. The Joker has 38 seconds before the floor electrifies.
- Round 3- The Joker must face a group of six security guards led by Aaron Cash and Henry Smith. As before, two of the security guards are armed with stun batons. The Joker must defeat them all within a 48 second limit before the floor electrifies. As the fight intensifies, at least one of the guards (most likely Smith or Cash) will climb onto another part of the floor to open the emergency riot gun locker stored there.
- Round 4- The Joker must face Commissioner Gordon, Zach Franklin, Louie Green, and a team of five security guards. Gordon and one of the security guards carry stun batons. They must all be eliminated before 58 seconds are up. As soon as one opponent loses a stun baton, another will instantly bend over to retrieve it, making this last combat challenge one of the hardest of all.
Giggles in the Gardens
- Round 1- The Joker must face five security guards tasked with guarding the Titan Production Facility in the Botanical Gardens. (One of which is notably the guard the Joker killed to make his escape at the start of the regular game.)
- Round 2- The Joker must contend with a team of eight security guards in riot gear sent to capture him, including Henry Smith and Eddie Burlow. One of the guards is armed with a stun baton. If the fight is prolonged one of the guards (most likely Burlow or Smith) will go for a riot gun locker or take a cement block off the wall to hurl it at the Joker.
- Round 3- The Joker faces Aaron Cash, who leads Louie Green and six other Arkham guards in an attempt to apprehend him.
- Round 4- Commissioner Gordon, Zach Franklin, William North, and seven other security guards make this last desperate attempt to apprehend the Joker in the Titan Production Facility. One of the security guards carries a stun baton. Most of the Joker's opponents in this last combat challenge will try making use of anything they can get their hands on to use as a weapon. At least three enemies will attempt to retrieve a shotgun from the gun locker (Most likely Gordon, Franklin, or North). As soon as one opponent loses a stun baton, another will likely retrieve it.
The Joker's Stealth Challenge Maps
Paging Doctor Joker
- The Joker has to take down all the security guards in the Sanatorium to escape Arkham Asylum. There are five security guards led by Zach Franklin and Henry Smith, and all are armed with riot guns. Aaron Cash is monitoring the Arkham guards. He will alert them if he notices one goes missing. The Sanatorium consists of three levels: a lower level (mainly cells) with a ramp leading to the second level (mainly offices), and a third level catwalk over the second level.
- The Joker must take out all the security guards in the Arkham Mansion's Records Room to escape the asylum. There are four security guards led by Henry Smith and William North, and all are armed with riot guns. The Records Room is a large area that is divided down to sides of the room by enormous records cabinets. There is a catwalk on both sides of the room.
- The Joker must take out all the Arkham security guards in the Intensive Treatment Lobby to escape the asylum. There are four security guards led by Eddie Burlow and Louie Green, and all are armed with riot guns. The Intensive Treatment Lobby consists of a complex maze of tunnels and walkways with many good hiding places the Joker can make use of.
Cavern of Love
- The Joker must take out all the security guards in the Pump Station to escape the asylum. There are seven Arkham guards led by Zach Franklin, and all are armed with riot guns. The Pump Station consists of a basement, a control office, and a main floor. There are numerous walkways and safe hiding places for the Joker to hole up in. It also has several structurally weakened surfaces on floors and walls, giving the Joker an option of blowing the floor out from under a passing guard.
Some of the Takedowns Utilized by The Joker
- The Joker lunges onto his foe, clinging to their backs and pounding them in the head relentlessly until they go limp, before finishing off with a stylish spinning slap.
- The Joker stops and waves at an opponent, distracting them just enough to catch them off guard with a slap across the face. He proceeds to seize their outstretched hand and pulls a classic Joy Buzzer gag, electrocuting them.
- The Joker rushes forward and slaps an Arkham guard upside his face, knocking off his visored helmet. He then finishes with a deadly precise eye poke attack, putting them out on the spot.
- During a high combo, the Joker may seize a stun baton from a security guard, strike the guard across the face with it, and then brutally shocks them in the stomach as they go down.
- Joker comes up behind his foe and kicks them from behind in the groin, causing them to collapse in pain.
- Joker leaps knee-first onto a downed Arkham Guard before finishing the guard with a downwards punch.
- Joker uses the flower on his lapel to spray his foe with his trademark Joker Venom.
- Joker/Black Mask: You know I murdered your commissioner tonight, right? So what makes you think I give two farts what some dumbass dirty cop's gotta say?
- Policeman: I - I got it from reliable sources - Penguin is makin' a move on Falcone territory. The Falcones got no idea what's comin'.
- Joker/Black Mask: And this concerns me because...?
- Policeman: You uh... you don't care if Penguin takes over their racket?
- Joker/Black Mask: Why should I?
- Policeman: Uh, I dunno. I mean... there's a balance right now and you're at the top. But...one of these other types starts makin' too much money and - you know - that balance will
- Joker/Black Mask: You know what I know? What I know is that I don't like balance. Balance is boring and boring is a four-letter word in my book. No. Balance - balance is what's wrong with this city. We need to upset the balance, kick it over, light it on fire, and then see what comes scurrying out.
- Mobster: Boss?
- Joker/Black Mask: Hm? Oh, right - that's me!
- Mobster: Uh, are you feeling OK?
- Joker/Black Mask: Never better. I've got a new lease on life! Granted, it came with some added mileage, but beggars can't be choosers!
- Mobster: Yeah, well, anyway, you know it's the first Thursday of the month, right?
- Joker/Black Mask: So it is! Good job! Observation and initiative are the keys to advancement. I have my eye on you!
- Mobster: It's just that normally you have me drop off the commissioner's, uh, commission every month.
- Joker/Black Mask: Well, of course I knew that! But, I'm, uh, rethinking our arrangement with my good friend the commissioner.
- Mobster: Okay, okay. You're the boss.
- Joker/Black Mask: That's right. I am.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Patient Interview #1, June 16th
- Penelope Young: Taped patient interview. Subject has no recorded name, alias listed as The Joker. In the room is Warden Sharp and myself, Dr. Young.
- Joker: Is this another one of those boring psych evaluation tests?
- Penelope Young: No, it's not. So, you're the famous Joker.
- Joker: In the flesh. So, Doc, do you want me to look at the ink blots again? The first one is a kitten I had when I was a child. The second is, hmmm, let's see... a dead elephant. The third is a...
- Penelope Young: Very funny. Now let's skip the jokes.
- Joker: Skip the jokes? Hey, Sharpie, didn't she get my permanent record?
- Warden Quincy Sharp: Be quiet, Clown!
- Penelope Young: Every doctor that has ever interviewed you claims a different type of psychosis. Everything from multiple personality disorders to, well... The list is endless.
- Joker: (chuckling) I do my best.
- Penelope Young: Well, I don't believe it. Anything can be cured given the correct treatment.
- Joker: And... you think... you can cure me?
- Penelope Young: Oh, I know I can.
Patient Interview #17, July 27th
- Penelope Young: Taped patient interview 17. Joker remains uncooperative. My earlier diagnosis remains true. I believe he enjoys his persona too much.
- Joker: What's up, Doc?
- Penelope Young: Today I thought we'd try something different.
- Joker: Oh, you'll make me blush, Doc. I have a girlfriend.
- Penelope Young: Dr. Quinzel. I know. I've seen the tapes. I saw what happened.
- Joker: What can I say, I'm a charmer.
- Penelope Young: Anyway, I thought it would be good to talk about your childhood.
- Joker: Ever heard of romance, Doc? I don't give up the goods for free. You have to try harder.
- Penelope Young: What are you hiding?
- Joker: Didn't you hear me? You scratch my back, Doc, and... well, I won't have you wrapped in plastic and left in a gutter.
Patient Interview #20, August 1st
- Penelope Young: Taped patient interview 20. Joker is more interesting than I originally believed. When Project Titan is operational, I believe Joker will be the perfect test subject. Good afternoon. Today I thought I'd skip back to our previous conversations about your family.
- Joker: Of course. I was born in a small fishing village. I always wanted to join the circus, but my father wouldn't really let me.
- Penelope Young: I don't believe you.
- Joker: My father was a cop, one week from retirement when the mob...
- Penelope Young: I've seen the movie. What are you scared of?
- Joker: Scared?
- Penelope Young: Yes, scared! There's obviously something. Something that made you what you are.
- Joker: What if... what if I am too scared to remember? It hurts too much.
- Penelope Young: Then I can help you.
Case study notes December 22nd
- Penelope Young: These are the private notes of Dr. Young. Titan is a success. Even my funding worries have been solved after the unexpected donations from Mr. White. Joker has also shown a remarkable interest in the possibility of a cure. Once the protein bonding process is finalized, I will...
- Security Guard: (knocking at door) Dr. Young, you ready?
- Penelope Young: Oh, yes. Yes, come in!
- Joker: You'll hurt my feelings, Doc, keeping me waiting like that.
- Penelope Young: Sit down, you can leave us.
- Security Guard: You sure?
- Penelope Young: We're fine. Aren't we, Joker?
- Joker: Oh yes.
- Security Guard: Well, if you insist. I'm just outside. Okay? (closing the door)
- Joker: So, is he here? Did your Patient X arrive?
- Penelope Young: Yes, I must say progressing more rapidly than I expected. But... enough of that. Let's talk about you.
- Joker: No. Let's talk more about your Titan project.
- Penelope Young: My what...? How do you...?
- Joker: How do I know you have Bane strapped to a table in the basement while you pump him dry? Would you believe a lucky guess?
Case study notes December 23rd
- Penelope Young: I've been a fool. Joker was behind it all. He's Jack White, he gave me the money, pulled the strings to release Bane. How could I not have seen it? He's been blackmailing me. He has a crazy plan to create an army of monsters. I want out, but... (telephone ringing) Hello... hello? Dr. Young's office.
- Harley Quinn: Please hold for Mr. White.
- Penelope Young: What?
- Joker: Hello, Doc. We need to talk.
- Penelope Young: I'm not doing it, Joker. Do you hear me? Wait, how did you get access to a phone?
- Joker: Oh yes, sorry, Doc, had to split. I hate small confined spaces, reminds me of my childhood.
- Penelope Young: Another lie?
- Joker: Who knows? I certainly don't, but let's not get distracted with details... So anyway. I want my monsters.
- Penelope Young: I sent you back the money. I don't want it.
- Joker: Do I look like I care about money? I just want my monsters, Doc. And if you don't give them to me, well then, it won't be funny!
Batman: Arkham City
- Joker: Hello! Anyone in there? (clang sound) No sense of humor. Oh, the strong and silent type, eh? Think you're safe behind that mask? Give me 20 minutes and a can opener and I'll have you whimpering like a schoolgirl. You might like it.
- Hugo Strange: That's enough, patient. Guard, leave us.
- TYGER Guard: Yes, sir.
- Hugo Strange: Good afternoon. My name is Professor Hugo Strange. And you are?
- Joker: Two-Face. Catwoman. Batman.
- Hugo Strange: We can play these games as long as you like.
- Joker: Great. I love games.
- Hugo Strange: Not in my facility you won't. I am offering you this opportunity to make a deal. I am fully aware of your... condition. The last thing you have is time. But I can make your final days more comfortable.
- Joker: And in return I'd be giving you...?
- Hugo Strange: I wish to study you. I need to know why you are the way you are.
- Joker: I don't have long, doc. You're going to need more than some psycho mumbo jumbo to get to the bottom of what's wrong with me.
- Hugo Strange: Oh, I have more than that. Much more. So, do we have a deal?
- Hugo Strange: How are you feeling today?
- Joker: You promised me another doctor, Strange.
- Hugo Strange: Maybe you shouldn't have killed the one I sent last week. What made you do it?
- Joker: Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly. Besides, it was worth it to see the look on her face. Hey, you know what, I think I've got a piece of it here in my pocket.
- Hugo Strange: You are trying my patience. That was the third doctor you've killed.
- Joker: Keep on sendin' 'em, doc. I'm trying to break my record.
- Hugo Strange: I think it is time for you to do something for me.
- Joker: Name it, doc.
- Hugo Strange: Tell me how you came to be. Explain what made you what you are today, how you come to be sitting across the table from me, dying.
- Joker: Is that all? I guess you can say I once had a very bad day.
- Hugo Strange: Really? Go on.
- Joker: It was a Thursday night. Things had been getting worse. I was 3 days from the bank foreclosing on my home. The chemical plant I worked at was about to lay off half the workforce, and I was sitting in the hospital, holding the hand of my pregnant wife, wishing to God that she wasn't dead.
- Hugo Strange: That must have been upsetting for you.
- Joker: Probably was. Back then, though, all I knew was that if I didn't let old man Falcone's men into the plant that night, they'd a killed me too. So here's the thing. I had to decide: Could I live without her? Was there any point going on? I've got to admit it, I was scared. Not of being dead, you understand.
- Hugo Strange: No one would blame you if you were. It is perfectly common.
- Joker: Do I look common? No, I was scared of the part just before you die. When you don't know what is about to happen. When you desperately clutching at life and trying to hold on with slippery, blood-covered hands. So I need a decision right there.
- Hugo Strange: And what was that?
- Joker: That, well, (coughs) that is a story for another day, Strange. I think I may need to see a doctor. Get me one.
- Hugo Strange: You were telling me about the night your wife died.
- Joker: No, Hugo. As I recall, I was waiting for you to send me another doctor.
- Hugo Strange: We both know I have sent you three more doctors.
- Joker: Did you?
- Hugo Strange: Yes. One was left dismembered outside the elevator to my office. The other two have not been seen since they were sent to you.
- Joker: How careless. Listen, doc-
- Hugo Strange: Professor.
- Joker: OK, Pro-fess-or, I'll give you a little more. I hope you're taking notes. It's the day after and I'm standing in the freezing rain, just staring at the chemical plant; feeling numb. Jeannie was dead. It didn't seem real. I could remember the day I first met her. Her infectious smile as I told her bad joke after bad joke. How, even after living with the pathetic wretch I was, she still wanted my child. And then they arrived. Reality's way of yanking me another wedgie. Falcone's man told me to cheer up. He said, "Things could be worse". I asked him how? He grabbed me by the collar, pulled me close - he'd been eating garlic and each word stank as he threatened to perform oral surgery on me with a nail and a brick. Creative guy. They hand me a box. I remember thinking it was heavy. Was it a bomb? A gun? I'd never used a gun before, were they that heavy?
- Hugo Strange: And what was in the box?
- Joker: How's that doctor coming along?
- Hugo Strange: I'll get you one.
- Joker: And when you do, I'll tell you the rest.
- Hugo Strange: You are looking a little better, yes?
- Joker: I have good and bad days, but I do try to start each one with a smile. (coughs)
- Hugo Strange: Are you ready to continue your story?
- Joker: Why not. So where was I?
- Hugo Strange: The box.
- Joker: Ah, yes, the box. (coughing) So there I was, tearing open this box, expecting the worst, and all it had in it was a crazy red dome and a cloak. (coughs) I thought they were having a joke with me, but oh, no. They made me put it on. They said it was a disguise, it would keep me safe. It smelt like garlic. And that was it really. I was dressed up like a spaceman, barely able to see, trying to break into the one place in this town that had given me a job. Have you ever tried to walk with an enormous fish bowl on your head? Don't answer that. It's hard. I couldn't see where I was going. I must have tripped one of the alarms. I heard muffled gunfire. I panicked and tried to run. And then I saw him.
- Hugo Strange: Who?
- Joker: Batman.
- Hugo Strange: Really?
- Joker: Yes, really. Batman tried to hit me, I moved out the way but, well, what you need to understand is, I had this giant bowl on my head, and I lost my balance. It's like life really. One minute everything's bad, the next, your wife's dead and your hanging on for dear life, suspended over a tank of experimental chemicals. I'm sure he'd say he tried to save me, but we all know he didn't. I fell. For a second, just as I hit the surface, I thought I may just get away with this.
- Hugo Strange: I assume that wasn't the case.
- Joker: Do I look like I got away with it?
- Joker: I was drowning. The chemicals were burning my skin. My entire body felt like it was on fire and it was all his fault.
- Hugo Strange: Who's fault? Batman's?
- Joker: Who else?
- Hugo Strange: Yours.
- Joker: Come again?
- Hugo Strange: Let me tell you what I believe. I believe that you have fabricated a series of events that you use to conceal the truth about your condition. I have read 12 different accounts of your past. All different, except for one detail: Batman.
- Joker: What can I say? I like to keep things interesting. A wise man once told me that if you have to have an origin story, you're better off making it multiple choice.
- Hugo Strange: And never facing up to the truth of what happened. What you did. How you got here.
- Joker: Oh, I know exactly how I got here. A big truck brought me here from Arkham. You remember the asylum, don't you?
- Hugo Strange: Of course.
- Joker: Good, because I'd hate to think that I'd fabricated seeing you watching me in my cell all those times. (cough)
- Hugo Strange: Excuse me?
- Joker: Hugo, you merry maniac. You were obsessed with me. (coughing) You all were. Trying to get in here. Next thing, you'll tell me it wasn't you who sent old Sharpie over the edge. Nice work by the way.
- Hugo Strange: Thank you.
- Joker: So here's the thing. If you want to make sure that no one else finds out about your past, you should stop poking your nose into mine. Oh, and send me another Doc, doc. I think I need a second opinion.
Batman: Arkham Knight
- Batman Two years ago I uncovered Joker's plot to unleash a genetically enhanced army on Gotham. The drug he used to modify his henchmen was called Titan. Before I could stop him, Joker ingested a massive dose of Titan formula and mutated into a gigantic abomination. I managed to defeat him, but his overdose had devastating side-effects. Joker was dying and he needed a cure. To ensure my cooperation he infected my blood with his own, leaving me no choice but to help him. But that wasn't all. He contaminated Gotham's blood bank too. The result: the patients currently quarantined here. Joker's mutated blood behaves like a prion infection, attacking the brain and transforming these people...into him. Unless we find a way to reverse the process, no one will be able to stop what he has unleashed.
Profiles of The Joker
Batman's Profile of The Joker
I prepared for muggers, killers, thieves. Criminals, increasingly extreme in their methods and personality. But I never imagined someone like "The Joker". There is no information on him in any criminal database. As far as records go, it's as if he stepped out of thin air. He appears to be a highly resourceful psychopath with a sadistic intelligence, who delights in causing chaos, destruction and human suffering. Skilled with explosives and firearms. He displays personality traits consistent with criminal insanity, though his mental instability did not hinder his ability to infiltrate and take over Black Mask's criminal organization. His capacity for wanton destruction makes him a threat to the entire city. He must be stopped.
Psychological profile (by Dr. Young)
My most challenging patient at Arkham. The Joker's derangement defies easy classification. His rapidly changing mood swings hint at borderline personality disorder, but he has no trace of associated identity problems. He also displays signs of deep narcissism, but nonetheless he has a well-developed sense of others, as his ability to manipulate everyone from orderlies to doctors in Arkham is extraordinarily well-developed; he also shows all the signs of a highly functioning sufferer of antisocial personality. At times I actually wonder if he is actually insane at all.
His criminal record makes clear that he is an unrepentant homicidal maniac.
He is extremly manipulative; the file detailing Harley Quinn's associations with him is fascinating reading. It's unfortunate I was not on staff at the time to witness his seduction of her firsthand.
His past is unknown, and his answers to me about it are wildly inconsistent and frequently fantastical.
Arkham City Profile: Dr. Hugo Strange
This self-styled criminal clown remains as volatile and violent as ever. His showdown with Batman in Arkham Asylum has left him humiliated, angry and thirsty for revenge. Some form of disease is spreading over the Joker, ravaging his face and body. He has repeatedly refused to be treated by anyone except his special 'nurse' Harley Quinn.
Dr. Hugo Strange: Side Note
The Joker came to Arkham City laughing himself silly—what's so funny about this place?
~ Dr. Hugo Strange
Batman: Arkham Origins
Game Over Lines
- "Aww, too bad, so sad!"
- "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I kill your friend? Whoops, my bad!"
- "Looks like I'm gonna need to find a new playmate. Oh, and we were having so much fun, too!"
- "Aww, gotta say, I thought you'd have more fight in you! A LOT more fight!" (note, this is the only Game Over line where Joker does not laugh at all)
- "Ding dong! The bat is dead! Which old bat? The dumb old bat! Ding dong, the dumb old bat is dead!"
- "Deathstroke? More like Death-JOKE!"
- "You may be the world's greatest assassin, kiddo, but Joker always gets the last laugh!"
Batman: Arkham Asylum
- "Hello. I'm Warden Idiot. Just let me welcome you to your new home. Here in Idiot Asylum, we have just one rule. You'll never leave us."
- "I'm just sitting here watching cartoons. If any of you fine Blackgate rejects is bored, come over and see me. Don't look up when you open the door. It'll spoil the surprise, and my experiment."
- "I seem to be losing men like there's a plague in town. I guess the bat is back. I've got a couple of men in the guard towers covering your movements, but be careful. They're both loose cannons with itchy trigger fingers and, well, you know, accidents do happen."
- "Ding dong. Warden Joker would like to announce that as of today, all Arkham guards have been fired due to budget cuts."
- "Joker here! I'd just like to remind all our inmates that here in Joker Asylum we only abide by one rule! Punishment for breaking that rule is death. No buts, ifs or ands! But you want to know what's the best thing about this rule? It's a secret! Ha ha!"
- "Any available psychos, killers, maimers and murderers that are not yet in the Old Mansion, hurry up, you fools, before I feed you to the bat himself!"
- "Please remember to take good care of all our hostages. They're no good to us dead. However, a bruise here or a cut there won't go amiss."
- "Please remember to keep an eye open for any flying rodents during your duties. I hear the Asylum suffers from infestations from time to time."
- "Anyone seen the Big Bad Bat? I warn you, he may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot." [A Groucho Marx reference]
- "Paging Dr. Howard. Dr. Fine Dr. Howard."
- "Harley's just informed me that Batman's car is still parked outside of the Intensive Treatment facility. Now we can't have him just up and leave up now can we."
- "Paging Doctor Bat, paging Doctor Bat. Is there a Doctor Bat in the room?"
- "Hello? Is there a doctor in the house? No? Pity. I seem to have a pile of wounded henchmen that need medical attenion."
- "It's true! You really are the world's greatest detective. How did you do that, Bats?"
- "See if he can detect being punched in the face."
- "Tell me Bats. What are you really scared of? Failing to save this cesspool of a city? Not finding the Commissioner in time? Me, in a thong?"
- "Too easy! Oh think about it. I've got you trapped in a metal box, hanging precariously over a deadly drop! What say I blow the emergency brakes and drop you like a sack of puppies! Say good-night Bats!"
- "Prepare to face your fears. All of them!"
- "What a blabbermouth. Spoiling the surprise."
- "Am I getting to you? Am I? Good."
- "Sorry has-Bane, but the good doctor won't be a problem much longer. How you like my puppet? What say we cut him down."
- "Get a move on! I'm not joking. I want it done now!"
- "Something funny? I take it you've done what I told you to do."
- "I hope so. 'Cause if you're lying to me, I'll have your eyes and fingers. You understand?"
- "Hellooooooooooooooooo! Can you hear me? For the love of... I supose that's you in there, Bats. Well, enjoy it while you can. These caves will be your tomb."
- "He's down there with you. Making you all look like fools."
- "He's making you look stupid. Which admittedly isn't that hard to do, but it is not why I put you down there."
- "I said I wanted the Bat stopped. Did no one listen? It's like you don't want an outbreak of Titan enhanced mutant babies climbing over Gotham."
- "You do not listen to me. I said stop him but you let him through. Try harder! Or I'll... I'll... I'll hurt you. Badly."
- "Oh, so now your apologetic. Well, I'll just have someone drive round to your house and break your wife's legs."
- "Did I ever tell about the one about the guy who came home to find his wife...a paraplegic?"
Predator (KO'd henchman)
- "Don't worry boys, if Batman actually makes it as far as medical, you won't be hurt. Well.... you may, but smile, you're just seconds away from medical care!" (Silent Knight)
- "BABOOM! Another one bites the dust."
- "He's taken one of you out. And not in the nice first date kind of way."
- "I'm sure there used to be more of you down there."
- "Oh, is someone missing? I keep losing count."
- "Have you checked the time sheets? I'm sure there were more of you at the beginning of the day."
- "Looks like one of you waited too long for the elevator to arrive." (Medical)
- "Are you blind? Look down on the ground. There's something down there and I don't like it." (Ground)
- "Have you even thought about a visit to the examination rooms? You never know what you'll find, might even be terminal." (Medical)
- "Are you even looking for him. Try the examination rooms? You know the little rooms. Jeez, it's not surprising you're all dropping like flies." (Medical)
- "You may want to go west, and check out the walkway. While you're there keep going." (Survival Tactics)
- "You guys may want to have a look on the walkways. I think someone's left you a gift." (Medical)
- "Gotta a little story for you. It seems that tough hard-as-nails Blackgate murderer has been taken out and left in the middle of freakin' room. Any of you actually see it happen? Idiots!" (Record Breaker)
- "Now do any of you think it's OK to be hanging about doing nothing? No! Then why is one of you doing it now?" (Predator)
- "You may wanna pop down and check the scanner tunnel. You may find something you weren't expecting." (Survival Tactics)
- "For the love of... there's a man down at the main entrance. The front door? The way in!? Oh, what am I paying you for?"
- "One of you is just hanging around with nothing to do."
- "He's stringing you up like a cheap puppet show. Find him!"
Predator (Progress of henchmen)
- "He's taken out two of you. Find him."
- "Three down. You're running out of people."
- "Four down. Not funny. I don't pay you for these kind of results. Find him or I'll find you."
- "It's five down to Batman. I'm losing my patience. Where is he? Is he above you?"
- "Looks like it's four against one. Not bad. I advise keeping it that way."
- "Three against one. Feeling lucky?"
- "It's just the two of you now. Bet you're wondering which one of you is gonna be next. I know I am."
- "Well, it just looks like it's you and the Bat. Gotta say, I'm a little disappointed."
- "He's right behind you! Oops. Only Joking."
- "You can do it, buddy! Well, let me put it this way. You better do it."
- "He doesn't stand a chance. Oh, you guys are the best! Well, the best I could find on such short notice."
- "Five against one. Good odds."
- "I want Gotham to melt in a tidal wave of corrosive goo...*sniff*...is that too much to ASK?!"
- "It's nice to return to my little ha-ha-hacienda."
- "Whee! Great night for a party!"
- "The night is young Bats, and I still have a trick or two up my sleeve."
- "Ooh. Whatcha sneaking with you Bats? Oh come one, tell me, tell me. Batarangs? Batclaws? Ooh! Batsnacks?
- "Hey Sharpie, love what you've done with the place."
- "Only three? I'll be sure to try harder next time. What say we aim for a hundred?"
- "Croc ol' boy! Is that you?"
- "That reminds me, I really need to get me some new shoes!"
- "Welcome to the madhouse Batman!"
- "Not so rough boys, you'll crease the suit."
- "Sharpie sure loves his cameras. Hey Sharpie? You getting my good side? Ah but heck, they're all good aren't they."
- "Honey I'm home!"
- "I'm just warming you up Bats!Straight from Blackgate Correctional Facility! With a combined sentence of 752 years. Ding, ding, ding. It's round 2!
- "Yo Frank-ay! How's the wife and kids. Ya miss me?"
- "Is there a clue the great dective missed?"
- "Would you like to take my temperature? I'd be happy to drop my pants."
- "What's up Doc? Pencil me in for tomorrow at four. We've got a lot of catching up to do."
- "Tick-tock-tick-tock. Is that a crocodile I hear?"
- "Ding d-ding, dong! Arkham Asylum is now under new management."
- "Ding d-ding, dong! Joker here with a quick update on what's new in the asylum... Some idiot is running around the asylum, dressed like a bat...! I know! Crazy! He should be considered costumed and dangerous."
- "Hey hey, kids. It's your friendly Uncle J. Some idiot is running round the asylum dressed like a bat. I know. Crazy! Personally, I think the best solution is to put him out of his misery. It's the only reliable cure."
- "Attention. We have an escaped patient. Dresses like a bat. What an idiot! Should be considered costumed and dangerous. Stop him before he gets someone hurt. Really. It's for his own good."
- "I've been listening to Zsasz make the good doctor scream, while you played around in Scarecrow's world."
- "Learn anything about yourself? Oh pull up a chair, tell me all about it. I'm all ears. Speaking of which, I thought I just heard Zsasz cut her ears off. Certainly sounded like it."
- "Joker here with a little update for you all. First the good news. We've got Doctor Young. Bad news is, she's not talking."
- "What's that you've got there, Bats? NO! Not the formula! What am I going to do? Who can help me now? What's that? How about our old friend Zsasz? Hmm... I did bump into him on my way back from the Gardens, where no doubt he was acting out some twisted fantasy. Maybe he could get her talking? I think he probably can! Great plan, Bats!"
- "What a riot! And speaking of riots, here's a bit of civil unrest I cooked up just for you!"
- "I could watch those two all day."
- "He's up top. In the treetops. Like the flying rodent we know he is. It looks like he's left you a gift up there."
- "Stop? But everyone's dying to see what I do next."
- "You need to speed things up Bats."
- "At this rate, you'll never catch me."
Game Over Lines
- Hey! Someone help Bat-baby up off the floor!
- Oh, I'd like to thank my fans for their undying support, and the people of Gotham, who I'll be seeing very, very soon.
- Gotta say, I thought you'd last longer.
- I salute my fallen enemy! (Blows a raspberry)
- That loser didn't stand a chance! I mean LOOK AT ME!
- Ohh, isn't that cute? Little Bats' asleepin. Someone finish him off.
- Too easy! Played you like a violin then cut your strings! Nighty-night, Bats.
As Titan Joker:
- One down, who's next to party with me?
- Who else wants to get crazy?
- Tonight, Gotham, I have defeated your dear Dark Knight. Don't be sad. You're next!
Batman: Arkham City
- "Welcome, inmates. You are now taking your first, tentative steps towards a better world. A world of fun, mischief and best of all, a world where the only person you need to answer to is yours truly."
- "I know what you're thinking. Is it all true? Is life at Joker Enterprises everything it's rumored to be? Sadly, it is. All of it, but look at the bright side, At least you know what you're getting yourself into and I can promise you this. You'll never leave."
- "Let's make this quick, boys. I've got an important operation that I'm just dying to have done."
- "Hey Bats, it's me! While you were saving Miss Vale, I took the liberty of beefing up security at my Steel Mill. I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but I don't think that even you will be able to get in here. Oh, this is getting too emotional. (coughs) I can barely bring myself to think of you dying out there. I keep thinking of you lying dead in the snow. (laughs) It's the only thing that brings a smile to my face!"
- "You guys are like family to me. And you know how much pain I went through killing my family."
- "Do I have to do everything myself around here? All I asked was that you stopped the stupid Batman. I managed to get a syringe of my blood in his neck for God's sake, and I'm half-dead. What's your excuse?" (coughs)
- "I'm fading fast here. Find my precious cure and kill whoever's holding it."
- "(coughs) That miserable double-crossing Bat has betrayed me, boys. If you see him, kill him and bring the cure back to me!"
- "When you see the Bat, kill him and get my cure. I mean it. Break every bone in his body if you have to, but don't break my cure."
- "Hey, Bats. Can you can hear me? If you can, let my boys know where you are. Help them get this over with quick."
- "Find him. My life depends on it, and now so does yours."
- "Do you really think you can just sneak through here with my delicious cure, Bats? I mean, I'm sure you can, but I know you too well, now don't I? After all, we both know you won't be able to resist crackin' a few skulls on the way through."
- "Bats! If you can hear me, and let's be honest here, you can, I want you to know, that, whatever you do to these guys, I'm still going to win."
- "Did I ever tell you about the day I found out I was sick? No? I remember it clearly. It was that night when I first met Harley."
- "I really hope you won't let me down here, boys. But if you do, I won't be cross. I'll be dead and Harley will be really upset. And seriously, you don't want to see that."
- "Hello? Henchmen? Can you hear me? Where are my guns? They are very important if my plan to... Oh, are you still down there, Bats? Pity."
- "I can't believe you let him stop you! What is it? Not enough secret weapons from old Hugo?"
- "Well, that's just great. Here I am on my deathbed and you miserable fools can't even stop some idiot dressed up like a bat. I needed those guns. Now how am I going to...oops. Sorry, Bats, I nearly gave it away there, didn't I?"
- "Ring, ring. Hey, Bats. (coughs) I've been thinking. It's probably quite difficult for you to fight your way through Arkham City in your current state. I don't think you need me to remind you that you're dying, right? The solution is simple, really. Stop fighting these idiots. Try a different tactic. Kill them."
- "Hi, Bats. Now don't go all silent on me. There's nothing to be embarrassed about. You just need to get over this not killing thing. Let's face it, killing is so much easier than putting the effort in keeping them alive."
- "Kill someone already! Kill kill kill kill kill! I can see it in your eyes. The anger, the frustration, the hints of repressed sexual tension. Oh, hang on, is that just when you see me? (laughs then coughs)"
- "Why do you keep doing this to me? It's like you idiots spend every single day day thinking up ways to leave me bitterly disappointed. Harley, when you get to the GCPD, kill a couple of 'em for me, will you, dear."
- "If any of you are still conscious, get back to base now."
- "Good evening, troops. This is General J with a quick update on what's going down here in Arkham City. As you can see, I'm looking much better. In fact...oooh...I think I'm looking better than ever. Oh, I can hear you all now: "How did this happen?", "Can I get me some of that crazy cure?", "I want answers, damn it! Now!" Well, here's the thing. Answers don't give you everlasting satisfaction. Sometimes you need to brace yourself for disappointment. Now think about it. Imagine your favorite TV show. You've been through it all. The ups, the downs, the crazy coincidences, and then: Bang! They tell you what it's all about. Would you be happy? Does it make sense? How come it all ended in a church? You guys just need to know one simple thing. I'm back. Back for good. Now arm yourselves, boys, we've got a prison break to plan. No hostages. No surrender. I know. It sounds like suicide, but listen. Whatever happens...I'll be right behind you."
- "Hey, Batman. You took out those idiots like a man who hasn't only got hours left to live. Well done. I'll be seeing you soon. I can't wait."
- "Well, what do you know? You did it. You took 'em all out. I should be sad, I suppose, but the truth is, I'm happy. Happier than I've been in years. How about you?"
- "This is the big opening thight, Batman. What's keeping you? Get your cute little ass to the movie theatre. NOW!"
- "Helloooo! Batman! You can hear me, right? It's just, you don't seem to be coming to the movie theatre and I'd hate for you to read the spoilers on the internet again."
- "Where are you, Batman?"
- "Well, this is just rude, Batman! I've laid on all this entertainment at the movie theatre and you can even be bothered turning up."
- "Where are you, Batman? I've got your premiere ticket right here in my pocket. It's right here, next to the gaffer tape and the pliers."
- "Why are you taking so long, Batman? Oh, hold on, I get it. You want me to off this annoying woman, right? I mean, she does go on a bit with all that I am the great blah, blah, mystical mumbo jumbo. I tell you what. I'll do it. But you owe me, OK?"
- "I'll see you soon! BYEEEE!"
Predator (KO'd henchman)
- "Boom! One man down. It's looking like a re-run of last time."
- "Someone's missing in there. Is it you?"
- "Oooh. I think I just heard someone's skull cracking against that nice hard floor. Mind the bloody puddle."
- "Is that the sound of one of your faces hitting something hard? I hope so."
- "Boom. And the quarterback is toast. Oh, sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Did someone just get taken out down there?"
Predator (Progress of henchmen)
- "I think we all feel confident about stopping Batman this time, right?"
- "Don't let me down, boys. If you do, I may have to drop you, too."
- "I'm just dying to see which one of you losers Batman takes out first. Let me see, eenie, meenie, miney, mo."
- "That's two down. Do you realize how much it costs training you guys? It really isn't that much."
- "Three down! Not happy, boys."
- "Four down. How many of there are you left? I lose track of you guys so easily. Maybe I should make a list."
- "Five of you. Five? What is wrong with you idiots?"
- "Four of you left to take down Batman. Are you feeling confident? I'm not."
- "Three of you left? It's not good, is it?"
- "Two? Two? You'd fit right into old melty face's gang."
- "Just one of you? You must be kind of scared right now. Boo!"
- "Only one of you left. What a shame."
- "Are you guys OK? It's just Batman. He's probably not ever really killed anyone. Still, you never know when he plans on starting, do you?"
- "You're going to pieces like a puppy in a blender!"
- "At this rate, I'll be all out of idiot henchmen before the end of the night."
- "He's making you idiots look like fools. That's my job!"
- "You boys have got the same helpless terrified look in your eyes as my doctor did when he told me I was sick. I said, you think that's sick? Take a look at this!"
- "Do you want me to get Abramovici down there for a motivational speech? I hear he's got a way of hammering the point home."
- "I am very disappointed in you boys. Really, you're all dead to me now."
- "Do you need a motivational speech about now? OK. I think you are all going to die down there. And this will be the last voice you hear before you cross over to the other side. And I am very, very, very disappointed in you."
Game Over Lines
- "I figured you'd have a little more fight in you. Guess I figured wrong!"
- "Oh, Bats! I really figured you'd last longer than that!"
- "It's okay to die, Bats. I'll be here to protect Gotham. I'll do a real good job!"
- "Get up, Bats! Hey, you ain't looking so good!"
- "Oh, Bats! If you only knew what I have planned! You'd just die!"
- "Aren't you supposed to be up on your feet and trying to stop me?"
Batman: Arkham Knight
Game Over Lines
- "Downside you're dead. But the upside? We've got each other, Bruce Forever!"
- "This is how it happened. This is how the Batman died."
- "Bats? Bats? BAAATS!!!!"
- "Oops. You're dead! Wait, does that mean I'm dead?! GET UP, BRUCE, GET UP!"
- "Oh, well. That's what I get for betting it all on black."
- "Now, if I was in charge this never would have happened!"
- "Aw, off to see Mom and Pop at that big country club in the sky."
- "Oh, Bats, you big kidder. You don't fool me. Bats? Bats?"
- "Don't head towards the light Bruce. It's not fair, they'll never let me in!
- "Who's going to fight crime now? Robin? "
- "You should take better care of yourself Batsy, there's two of us in there!"
- "What? You survive everything I ever threw at you only to die now, like this?"
- "What the? Why is everything gone dark? Are we dying? We better not be dying, Bruce."
- "Come on, Bruce. You can't die! I didn't kill you!"
- "That's it, Bats, play dead. We've got' em right where we-oh dear."
- "I've sat through my own funeral already, now I have to go through the whole thing again? Thanks for nothing!
Ringmaster-Joker: (Batgirl: A Matter of Family)
- "It's a little known fact there's a bit of Joker inside us .Come on, kiddo! Let your Joker out!"
- "Hey sad clown……turn that frown around."
- "Everything is in a smile."
Batman: Arkham Origins
- Several hints can be gleamed throughout the story that imply Joker is indeed impersonating Black Mask prior to his reveal.
- If a player listens to various thug chatter in the Industrial District throughout the game, several of Black Mask's men make mention on how their boss is acting much more violent lately, is more talkative, and even cracks jokes at times.
- As Batman accesses the telecom wires that run underneath New Gotham, one of Joker's old party favors, the rubber chicken, which was previously featured in Arkham City, can be seen on one of the computer dashboards.
- If the player dies around the Sionis Steel Mill, Black Mask's main headquarters, it will not result in a Black Mask game over screen, but instead in a Joker game over screen.
- In the back-room of the underworld night club, My Alibi, another one of the Joker's tricks can be found on a table; a grenade tied around a piece of cloth from his signature purple suit. This indicates that Joker used the club as one of his hideouts while impersonating Black Mask, made further evident by the club's environment in the background when Joker tortured Warden Joseph with a lit cigarette.
- Joker's theme song for Arkham Origins is a darker rendition of an actual Christmas carol, "Carol of the Bells."
- During Batman's encounter with Joker in the Royal Hotel penthouse, the Looney Toons short "Rabbit of Seville" can be seen playing in the background, also playing a piece of the "Barber of Seville", which the short was largely based on.
- Similarly, during his psychiatric evaluation, while he was remembering his poor reception at a comedy club back before he became the Joker (and fought the hecklers), "The Thieving Magpie" by Gioachino Rossini was heard playing in the background, referring to a similar scene in The Clockwork Orange, where one of the characters ended up having a violent gang fight in a theater to the tune of the overture of the aforementioned song.
- Joker singing 'Cold, Cold Heart' during the credits may have been foreshadowing towards the DLC of the same name.
- Throughout the entirety of the Arkham Series, the Joker's actions have, in the eyes of Gotham's political spectrum, necessitated the need for higher security facilities, leading to the reopening of Arkham Asylum and the authorization and construction of Arkham City. While both projects were commenced with the aid of external parties manipulating the course of events, including Ra's al Ghul, Shiva, and Hugo Strange, Joker unknowingly played an integral role in seeing the fruition of these operations. While it is unknown if the villain had any knowledge of these plans, it is likely that he relished in seeing the fruits of his chaos unfold as it eventually led to the destruction of an entire portion of Gotham City, with the potential of the entire world being wiped out.
- One of his game over quotes paraphrases the song "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead!" from The Wizard of Oz.
- There were several references to Batman: The Killing Joke in various points in the game:
- Batman's case-file chart mentions that he never caught Red Hood, nor discovered his true identity.
- During the amusement park segment of the Gotham Royal Hotel mission, Joker, when explaining how he got the amusement park equipment, mentions that he acquired it from a real estate agent, and that "[Batman] should have seen the look on the real estate agent's face when we shook hands on the deal!" This is a reference to a scene in The Killing Joke, where the Joker managed to buy an amusement park and managed to shake the former owner's hand to signify the deal, which resulted in the latter being poisoned with Joker venom.
- As noted above, his psychiatric interview with Dr. Harleen Quinzel references his origin story from the graphic novel.
- The trophy achievement for defeating the Joker, "Maybe Sooner, Maybe Later," is a paraphrase to what Batman said during his visit to "Joker's" cell when discussing their bleak future in The Killing Joke. Similarly, the max level bonus for the Joker gang in multiplayer mode is called The Killing Joke.
- Not in the game itself, but Troy Baker during Comic-Con recited a monologue in the Joker's voice from The Killing Joke during the promotion for Arkham Origins.
- On the roof of the Gotham Royal Hotel, there was a poem in green lettering that read "The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall Try To Resist & I'll Kill Them All Here's To Gotham, Turned Upside Down! Come X-Mas Day, I Run This Town!!" This was a reference to a poem from Batman: The Man Who Laughs, written on a cell wall in Arkham, "One By One They'll Hear My Call, Then This Wicked Town Will Follow My Fall".
- At one point during the Blackgate Riots nearing the end of the game, Joker sings "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Gotham's Quite A Mess! Blackgate's Mine, You're Out Of Time, Which Means You'll Soon Be Dead!", this was a remix of the Joker's impromptu Jingle Bells song before escaping Arkham Asylum in his debut episode of the Batman Animated Series, "Christmas With The Joker." A similar reference is given with the second-to-last Blackgate escapee when Batman is subduing him, to the latter's irritation.
- In the Joker's second extortion file, it was mentioned that Joker was posing as Black Mask since at least the first Thursday of December, which conflicts with various character's statements that the Joker only started posing as Black Mask AFTER ambushing him at Lacey Towers, which had happened days beforehand. This is either a story error, or an implication that the Joker was posing to fringe soldiers.
- At the start of the first Bane fight, the Joker announces "Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you... the death of the Batman!". The Joker said the exact same phrase in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold adaptation of the Emperor Joker story arc when he prepares to kill Batman with a Rube Goldberg-style death trap.
- In some versions of Batman: Arkham Origins, the scene introducing the Joker (specifically, his beatdown of Roman Sionis) is heavily edited to have the Joker simply kick him over as well as cut away to Batman looking on when Joker delivers the finishing kick, instead of pistol-whipping him five times in rapid succession prior to kicking him over and actually showing the finishing kick.
- While wearing Black Mask's outfit, sans mask, the Joker strongly resembles his incarnation from the comic and film The Dark Knight Returns.
- Joker having his first fight inside of the Blackgate Prison Chapel is an ironic reference to "his" speech to his followers on how he managed to recover in Arkham City, "Imagine your favorite show. You've been through it all. The ups, the downs, the crazy coincidences. And then, BANG! They tell you what it's all about. Would you be happy? Does it make sense? How come it all ended in a church?"
Batman: Assault on Arkham
- At one point while ranting about Harley Quinn supposedly abandoning him in favor of Deadshot, Joker mentions that he'll "make five more just like [Harley Quinn]", alluding to his revelation that he had prior Harley Quinns before the current one and managed to murder them in Harley Quinn's arc in the crossover storyline Death of the Family.
- Two references to some of Joker's plots in different mediums were made when Harley Quinn was searching the Evidence locker for her mallet: A clown mask and a fish with a grin, referring to his robbery of Gotham National Bank in The Dark Knight and the events of the episode The Laughing Fish from Batman: The Animated Series.
- In the storyboards for the scene where Harley is trying to shoot at the Joker included in the behind-the-scenes feature, Joker says a slightly different line from the final version. In the storyboards, Joker says "Women! Can't live with them, can't kick them out of a moving car without them getting steamed!" In the final release, Joker says "Women! Can't live with them, can't kick them out of a moving car without them getting steamed!" In the final release, Joker says "Women! Am I right, officer? Can't live with them, can't kick them out of a moving car!"
- After Joker set off a cache of one of the Arkham guards' grenades and while approaching to steal his gun to kill him before "changing into something more comfortable," as well as when encountering the Suicide Squad near the laundry chute, he briefly whistles the version of "Jingle Bells" from the BTAS episode "Christmas with the Joker."
- When discovering that the "Batman" who had just died was actually Black Spider, he says "Denzel! What have they done to you?", referring to actor Denzel Washington.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
- If you keep constantly visiting the Visitor Center, you meet Joker's head in the TV. He'll talk to Batman as if Batman was visiting for a psychological therapy appointment.
- When visiting the Visitor Center, after the Joker's head in the TV finished talking to you, turn the camera around and after a few seconds turn it back and notice how the Joker "mannequinn"'s arms change positions.
- Of all the minor tweaks to his appearance, the Joker has been given a make-up based glasgow smile to make it look like he's always smiling. This was most likely inspired by Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight.
- Unlike the other inmates, Joker doesn't appear to have an identifiable or decorated cell in Arkham Asylum. The only cell that could possibly be his is one found in the penitentiary, because on the wall someone has written "Welcome to my humble abode". Alternatively, he could be kept in the "Extreme Isolation" area of the Asylum, which is the one place that the player can not explore.
- At the time, Joker disappearing into Extreme Isolation atop the cell which contained the TITAN thug meant nothing. However, due to the events near the end of Arkham Knight, that scene foreshadows Joker's ultimate fate of being sealed away in the darkest corner of Batman's mind forever.
- Unlike other henchmen infected with the Titan serum Joker keeps his mental state and can speak, as opposed to simply roaring.
- The throne of mannequins, dolls and plastic toys Joker sits on just before the finale is likely a homage to the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke where Joker tormented Gordon while sitting on a throne similar to the one used in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- At one point during the game, one of Joker's PA announcements has him saying "There were these two guys in a lunatic asylum ... Oh hell, you've heard that one before, haven't you?" This is a reference to the joke the Joker told Batman (and one of the jokes he told during his alleged stint as a stand up comedian that turned cold earlier in the story) in the ending of the comic The Killing Joke.
Batman: Arkham City
- After the showdown with Mr. Freeze, the villain's face temporarily becoming the Joker's for a few seconds within Batman's mind, due to the effects of Joker's blood, was not a result of the Titan poisoning, but rather part of a separate condition that was slowly causing Joker's consciousness to take control of Batman's mind via his blood flowing through his veins. This meant that Joker's blood was the direct cause of two diseases that were simultaneously infecting Batman during the events of Arkham City, with one doing so on a much more gradual basis, and was unaffected by the cure for Titan, as it was a separate condition entirely.
- This plot point was finally confirmed by series director, Sefton Hill, within a Q&A reddit post with various fans of the series, revealing that this scene was meant to foreshadow the psychological battle between Batman and the Joker within Arkham Knight.
- In an alternate ending that plays if Catwoman decides not to save Batman, a disturbing and panicked radio frequency will be broadcast by Oracle. She will plead for anyone who can hear her to send help as Joker and his forces have completely destroyed Gotham and murdered nearly everyone, including Batman and her father, Commissioner Gordon, ending by stating that Joker has won. During this ending, a rewound, sped-up message can be heard of the Joker, saying "thank you for the entertainment, Bats" if the message is slowed down and fast forward.
- Joker appears to be wearing a new darker, grimmer suit than the one he wore in Batman: Arkham Asylum. While Clayface poses as a healthy Joker he is wearing a suit identical to the original from Arkham Asylum.
- During the "Ghost Train" level, if the player switches to Detective Mode upon reaching the Joker his body will not show a skeleton, hinting that it is Clayface in disguise.
- In his patient interviews, Joker recounts his origin from Batman: The Killing Joke and even uses several lines from the critically acclaimed comic.
- During the credits, a voice mail received three hours ago by the Joker plays in which he sings Only You (And You Alone) to Batman. As The Joker finishes the song, he lets out a light chuckle that gradually turns into sobbing.
- On the floor in Joker's office in the Steel Mill is a positive pregnancy test, hinting to players at the time that Harley may be pregnant with the Joker's child. However, the Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC later refutes this with dozens of negative pregnancy tests with the strongest implication being that the first test was simply a false-positive as there is a warning for such an outcome on the container for the pregnancy tests in the DLC.
- It is eventually confirmed by Rocksteady that the positive pregnancy test was a result of Harley's strong psychological longing to bear Joker's child and to further showcase her love and obsession with the Joker. While Rocksteady never truly meant for Harley to be pregnant, they did not expect that players would find the easter egg so quickly, leading the developers to leave strong implications within the DLC that she was, in fact, not pregnant. This plot point was set into place to set the stage for Harley's ultimate descent into madness after she learns that she is not pregnant, leaving her with no lasting traces of the Joker, in Harley Quinn's Revenge and Batman: Arkham Knight.
- At the Spike Video Game Awards, the Joker won the "Character of the Year" award, along with Mark Hamill being nominated for the "Best Performance by a Human Male" award for his performance as the Joker.
- When the player enters the top of the cathedral when the Joker threatens to detonate the tower, if he or she waits after the countdown, Joker will foreshadow part of the ending to the game itself.
- Joker's design in this game can be used as an alternate skin in Injustice: Gods Among Us, exclusive for those who pre-order the game at Walmart.
- One of his KO'd henchmen quotes in the Predator gameplay is taken directly from the movie Die Hard.
- The lyrics for the song, Deranged, released as part of the Arkham City album, detail the Joker's view on his relationship with Batman and his belief that the hero needs him to exist and, even in the event of his death, Joker would have the last laugh as Batman would actually miss fighting him. This belief is later shown to be partially accurate as Harley Quinn's Revenge and Batman: Arkham Knight show Batman struggling to come to terms with the death of his hated enemy, until he is able to finally lay his memories of the Joker to rest and lock the last of the villain's consciousness away in his mind, forgotten, forever.
- When Joker (or more specifically, Clayface's depiction of him) explains why he refuses to state why he had all of a sudden recovered from his TITAN illness, gives an anecdote about a favorite show that they've been through all the ups, downs, and crazy coincidences and then at the end proceed to tell the audience what it's all about and implies people won't be happy at this, Joker offhandedly asks how come it all ended in a church. This was a reference to the official two-part series finale of the drama series Lost, where the cast after defeating the Man in Black ended up ascending inside of a church, as well as several complaints levied against the episode for, among other things, failing to address several questions levied by the viewers.
- Ironically, Mark Hamill, the voice actor for the Joker, would later work with Lost showrunner J.J. Abrams in another of his works, Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens.
Batman: Arkham VR
- The number of Joker's cell, 425, is a reference to the date of the character's official debut in Detective Comics and Batman lore: April 25th, 1940.
- This number can also be found and heard numerous times throughout the hallucination, further implying Joker's control over Bruce's mental state while he was asleep.
- Joker's bio and extensive list of crimes can be outlined to Batman, and the player by extension, from the Batcomputer.
- During a second playthrough, Joker can be heard commenting at certain sections throughout the game, hinting towards the plot development of the villain gaining further control over Bruce.
- He impersonates Alfred on the phone within the Wayne Mansion, asking why Bruce just doesn't let the butler die.
- During his extensively long list of crimes stated within his bio on the Batcomputer, he states his only regret was that he did not commit more.
- On the last coroner audio log in the Elliott Memorial Hospital Morgue, he blames Batman for the death of Penguin's men, foreshadowing the reveal that Batman murdered them with the use of the stolen CityVision bomb while under the villain's influence.
- Four pieces of evidence can be found within the Elliott Memorial Hospital Morgue, all relating to past crimes perpetrated by Joker.
- The crowbar found within Arkham Asylum, used during his extensive torture of Jason Todd.
- The gun used to paralyze Barbara Gordon in an effort to drive her father, Commissioner Gordon, insane.
- A packet of his Titan contaminated blood sent from Arkham City as part of his schemes to poison Gotham and force Batman to help him develop a cure for himself and ultimately win the gang wars within the prison.
- One of Nightwing's escrima sticks, which Joker, while in control of Batman's mind within the hallucination, used as an accessory to his brutal beating and murder.
- The tape of Jason Todd's apparent murder at Joker's hands can be found and played within the Batcave, with Alfred questioning why Batman forces himself to relive Jason's death so many times, revealing that Bruce watches the video fairly often out of guilt and remembrance.
- Four blood vials of Joker's infected hosts, Johnny Charisma, Christina Bell, Albert King, and Henry Adams, can be found in the Batcave and Batman himself can take a sample of his own to confirm Joker's blood infected him as well.
- A mysterious transmission can be found on the Batcave scanners, giving out several numbers. When deciphered by players, the message spells "Wake Up Bruce". This indicates that Batman's subconscious is aware of Joker's influence trapping him within the hallucination and is attempting to reach out to him in an effort to wake him up. Additionally, it may imply Alfred is attempting to wake Bruce up from his sleep and his voice is manifesting as the transmission within the hallucination.
- Within the Arkham Asylum Intensive Treatment Wing, a sign-in sheet has Joe Chill's name on it instead of Joker. This is a reference to Joker's role within other Batman mediums, specifically the 1989 Batman movie, depicting the villain as the actual murderer of Bruce's parents. It is also likely a reference within the Arkhamverse to how Batman sees Joker's entire nature as very similar to Chill's crime; random, unpredictable, and opportune.
- This theme was also partially explored in Arkham Origins, after Batman's first apprehension of the villain, in which he contemplated on Joker's violent and unpredictable nature.
- The crime-board found within the Wayne Manor challenge map in Arkham Knight, hinting towards Arkham VR, is likely Batman analyzing the hallucination for any clues that can help him prepare for Joker's increasing influence.
- The area that contains Joker's cell appears to be the previously unexplored area of Intensive Treatment within Arkham Asylum, known as 'Patient Isolation'.
- Joker trapping Batman in his cell within his mind, indicative of the villain gaining more control and influence over the hero's mentality, compliments the poetic justice that Joker receives at the end of Arkham Knight, when he is locked up in the cell by himself and trapped within the depths of Batman's subconscious to be forgotten forever.
Batman: Arkham Knight
- In the opening, the name of the retort used to cremate the Joker was "Robinson" alluding to Joker's original artist and one of his co-creators, Jerry Robinson.
- In the New Game Plus opening, the Joker, after the crematorium is activated, will suddenly spring to life yelling in agony, before lying back down and laughing as the flames consume him, and then narrating "This is how it happened. This is how the Joker died."
- In one of the game overs, Joker will parody the Game Over phrase from the Metal Gear series.
- Enemy chatter from some of the Militia members revealed that Joker had once somehow run for President of the United States, complete with his own TV ads. They also remarked that it was still a mystery as to how he even got onto the ballot.
- This may have been a reference to Batman: Dark Detective #1, which had on the cover Joker, Uncle Sam-style, requesting the readers to vote for him, or he'll otherwise kill them.
- Joker, as well as his demise, was also alluded to by Red Hood within his respective DLC, where he told Black Mask, after kicking him out a window and to his death, to say 'Hi' to Joker for him.
- Joker was also alluded to twice in the Scarecrow Nightmare Challenges DLC, both by Scarecrow: The first allusion had him congratulating Batman on the rumors of creating the Joker, and expressed it to be a waste that he couldn't keep him alive (implying that he respected Joker for causing a significant amount of fear among Gotham), and the second had him telling Batman how he thought, contrary to Batman's claims, that Joker's death was deliberately ensured by the Dark Knight.
- Scarecrow's respect for Joker and his implication that Batman deliberately ensured Joker's death is also ironic, as Scarecrow in the main game was himself responsible (although unwittingly) for completely destroying what remained of Joker's consciousness.
- As Joker's plans and exploits led to both the openings of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and Jason Todd's descent into the Arkham Knight, Joker is responsible, either directly or indirectly, for all the events that make up the entire series.
- During the Joker's hallucination late in the game, his Joker-mobile's ultimate attack (a missile salvo) is called "The Killing Joke", named after the famous graphic novel starring the Joker.
- The method in which Joker gets Batman to technically "break" his one rule is similar to the climax of Batman and Joker's fight in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, where Batman ends up breaking Joker's neck just enough to permanently paralyze him, with Joker finishing the job to frame Batman for murder when the latter wasn't willing to finish him.
- Joker implies, during his many comments, that one of the reasons why Batman decided to outfit the new Batmobile with weapons was because of the villain's consciousness subtly influencing him. While Batman never designed the weapons to react lethally and simply wanted to be better prepared for the inevitable war that was to break out in Gotham, Joker may have had a hand in the vehicle's designs.
- The character of Edward Burke within the A Matter of Family DLC appears to be a spin on the carnival owner that Joker murdered within the critically acclaimed comic, The Killing Joke, with a much more detailed and tragic backstory provided on his death and how Joker aquired the amusement park for his own designs.
- Mark Hamill was not originally set to reprise the role of The Joker in Arkham Knight. He had stated that after Arkham City he would retire as the character and leave on a high note. Hamill however, was so impressed with the concept of the story that he elected to return again.