Top 10 Joker Schemes in the DC Universe

Let’s decide the Top 10 Joker Schemes in the DC Universe!  The Clown Prince of Crime is always up to no good, but which of his diabolical plans actually take the cake and stump the superheroes? Read along to find out!

10. Superman: Emperor Joker

When The Joker steals Mister Mxyzptlk’s powers and uses them to rewrite the universe, only Superman and Batman can face him.  Discovering a world where the Justice League are all criminals, and the world’s ‘heroes’ are twisted villains, the Man of Steel confronts the Clown King of the World, who discovers that he cannot kill Batman in this reality or any reality- The Joker gives up his powers, knowing he’ll never have the satisfaction of victory over the true heroes.

9. Batman: Going Sane

After seemingly defeating Batman, The Joker has nothing left to do but go sane.  This collection compiles a four-issue storyline from Legends of the Dark Knight where Joker adopts a civilian identity, calling himself Joseph Kerr.  He has deluded himself into thinking he just moved to Gotham City and begins a relationship with a woman named Rebecca Brown.

8. Batman: Arkham City

In the Arkham City video games, The Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) looms large as a serious threat to Batman and the whole in-game world.  Following the outlandish events of Arkham Asylum, The Joker is dying as his blood mutates from the venom he injected into himself.  He orchestrates one final, massive wild goose chase with Batman involving villains like Clayface and Talia Al Ghul, just to mess with the Dark Knight before The Joker dies from his poisoning.

7. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

This animated feature takes place in the future of Gotham City, showing the resurfacing of The Joker after nearly 40 years of Gotham believing him to be dead.  Batman supposedly killed his foe after the torture of Tim Drake, but when Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis are attacked by The Joker in the Batcave, they learn the truth of how the Clown Prince of Crime cheated death a first time.

6. Injustice: Gods Among Us

In Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Joker sets the world off into a dark timeline when he uses Scarecrow’s toxins to trick Superman into murdering his wife Lois Lane.  Making the Man of Steel think she was Doomsday, The Joker successfully causes chaos, but Superman kills the clown in revenge, sparking the formation of a totalitarian dictatorship under the ruthless Kryptonian who lost all sense of morality.

5. The Dark Knight Returns

In order to frame Batman for murder, the psychotic villain commits suicide when the hero refuses to do him in.  After torturing a number of innocent people and consistently goading the Dark Knight, The Joker manages to snap his own neck, while telling Batman, “See you in Hell!”, framing Batman for the death of his greatest foe.

4. The Laughing Fish

Based on a classic Detective Comics issue, one of the more humorous plots orchestrated by The Joker appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode The Laughing Fish.  After fish in Gotham’s harbor begin to surface with terrifying, deformed smiles, Batman discovers that The Joker has been putting toxin into the waters, but not to cause any harm to the city.  No, The Joker hoped to apply for a copyright on the fish and their creepy grins, meaning he would take a cut of all sales in the Gotham area.

3. Joker’s Favor

Also known as the first appearance of Harley Quinn, Joker’s Favor is a famous episode of Batman: The Animated Series in which the Clown Prince of Crime spares the life of an accountant named Charlie Collins- for a price.  The Joker calls in this favor two years later, asking Charlie to pick up Harley Quinn from the airport and help plant a bomb at an important Gotham dinner.  This episode is incredibly important to the Batman canon, and the fans’ first chance to see The Joker in action with his best girl Harley.

2. Death in the Family

The Joker is famously known for his terrible role in Death in the Family, murdering Jason Todd by beating him with a crowbar and leaving him for dead in a warehouse of explosives.  DC Comics readers actually got to vote on Todd’s fate, deciding that the new Robin was unlikeable because he was feisty and aggressive.  When it was decided he would be killed off, writer Jim Starlin had The Joker do the dubious honors.

1. Christmas With The Joker

In Batman: The Animated Series, after The Joker escapes Arkham Asylum, he unleashes his own Christmas special on the unsuspecting Batman and the Batfamily.  When Bruce wants to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, he finds that the only thing on the television is his nemesis, who has hijacked the airwaves and turned the holiday upside-down.  Batman tracks The Joker through a series of power surges, and eventually gets the holiday back on track, bringing back a normal Christmas for Gotham City.

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(Originally published June 22nd, 2018).