The Joker – Batman: the Animated Series
“Well, that was fun! Who’s for Chinese?”
– The Joker – “The Man Who Killed Batman” – Batman: the Animated Series
We’re changing things up a bit as we strive to make this research more useful. The main change is we’ll go into more detail with the Villain Matrix score.
Slow down, don’t argue yet. I know the Joker is charismatic, but that’s different from the Villain Matrix‘s definition of Charisma.
Definition: a special charm or appeal that causes people to feel attracted and excited by someone (such as a politician) – Webster’s
Ability to control or manipulate others without special powers or tech: 1 to 4.
He gets a 4/4 on this. He manipulates Batman into playing his little games, threatens Gotham with destruction, and kidnaps the police commissioner. And that’s just a few of his feats.
He gets a 1 for being Intimidating and 1 for being Scary. Sorry, Harley, he’s not Handsome/Beautiful, so no 2 for you.
He’s got some Suave style, but it’s not his dominant manner. I’m going with 1 for Scary and another 1 for Deceptive.
He doesn’t really appear Trustworthy on face value, and he’s a clown, so no on Likability.
Strength : 1/5
Look, physical strength isn’t his strong suit. He’s a normal human as far as strength. This system takes into account modified strength, which can include exoskeleton armor, mechs, etc. A 1 equals Average strength. He doesn’t use armor/mods of any sort in this series.
Resources : 4/5
Money, minions, territory, manna, powers, favors. Averaged out (so someone could have minimal minions but all the gods owe him a favor, which ranks at 5):
He gets a 4. The Clown has access to atom-bomb auctions, the Monster.com of crime cronies, enough money to get access to robot clowns and Joker gas, and has hyenas. You gotta admit hyenas are worth something.
Intellect : 4/5
IQ is the only component. Joker isn’t a genius – he’s no Bruce Wayne – but he’s intelligent enough to give Batman a run for his money. Joker makes elaborate plans and carries out impressive logistical feats. He’s no dunce, even if he is a clown.
Wisdom : 3/5
Worldly wisdom/knowledge of how the world really works:
He gets a 3 for Moderate. I’d give him more, but he thinks he can copyright the fish in the bay because they have Joker grins. He does know how to pull strings, though, so he gets a solid 3.
Knowledge of human behavior and psychology:
He knows the psychology of the general populace. He especially knows the psychology of Batman. Joker’s well aware of what will get under the Bat’s skin and bring him out of the cave. He’s no Hannibal, but he gets a solid 4.
This is a 3, Moderate. He has the foresight to know how the PD and Batman will react, but not the foresight see how he’ll be beaten every time. His plans do have some large holes, you have to admit.
Ability to prioritize, overlook, move on:
This was a tough one. He holds a grudge, but not really toward Batman, the very person you’d logically expect him to hate. Instead, he likes “playing” with Bats. But he did try to blow up the Mayor’s kid’s birthday party, so… He gets a 2, Average.
Endurance : 4/5
The man gets physically pummeled by Batman in some shape or form almost every time they meet. And he keeps coming back for more. I wouldn’t want to tangle with Bats a first time, much less a 5th. That earns a 4.
He endures Arkham Asylum, not to mention being defeated by Batman every episode. Takes a lot of mental fortitude to keep coming back. Another 4.
Tenacity in the face of problems:
This ties into mental fortitude. He keeps coming back to the Batman problem. His schemes vary widely, too. Pretty tenacious in my book, so he gets a 4.
Flipflop : 1/5
How likely would it be that they ally permanently with the good guys:
The Joker is the Joker. He’s not going to side with Batman, and he didn’t in B:tAS. Although it would be an interesting storyline if he did… Suicide Squad-esque.
Evil Factor : 5/5
Mitigating factors: He’s got no Restraint. Nil for Moral Code. I do give a -1 for Limits, though. He doesn’t unmask Bats or outright call out a hit on him, after all, but that’s really just him trying to get more “fun.”
How far to the dark side are they are willing to go to achieve their ends:
He’s not Satan, but he’s only one shy, so he gets a 4. He’ll torture, kill, and do pretty much whatever’s necessary to get his point across.
Remember we’re dealing with Batman: the Animated Series Joker, not the many other incarnations. Even so, he still gets a 5/5. See the above explanation. He tries to kill his enemies in some pretty gruesome ways, like with sharks, and has no qualms about detonating a bomb at a kid’s birthday party.
Here’s another change: There’s not much of a bio for Joker in Batman: the Animated Series where backstory is concerned. Joker says Batman is who’s responsible for Joker being the “happy soul” he is, but it’s not elaborated upon. In the semi-related final season of the series, which isn’t really B:tAS, it’s hinted that he’s a failed comedian.
Thus, we fire up with Joker blasting out of Arkham on a rocket-powered Christmas tree while he sings his famous rendition of Jingle Bells, Batman Smells. He then kidnaps Summer (reporter), Commissioner Gordon, and Detective Bullock. This is his “family,” one that will bring his real aim: Batman.
After Batman defeats him, and I’m assuming a few days go by before Joker’s on the loose again, Joker releases Joker Gas in Gotham to change everyone into laughing idiots. They go into a seizure of uncontrolled laughter. While they’re slowly dying of laughter, Joker rob or burgles them. Pretty slick.
After another defeat, we find Joker hiding out in his abandoned-funhouse office. When Mayor Hill declares that Joker is like Batman, the Clown Prince of Crime flies into an understandable rage. He infiltrates the Mayor’s son’s birthday party as a clown. The trick? A bomb in the cake. Bruce saves the day, but the son stows away with Joker. Oops. Cue Batman to rescue the kid from himself.
An undetermined time later, Joker threatens an accountant who runs afoul of him on the highway, and gets the poor guy to be his pawn.
In Season 2, we get off to a great start with Joker’s laughing fish. He poisons the bay so that all the fish grin. Goal? To copyright them and have everyone pay him royalties. This doesn’t work on so many levels.
Next up, Joker rouses himself from Arkham to destroy a new casino called Joker’s Wild. He’s rightly annoyed that someone would use his image. Ties in with the last copyright idea, eh? Joker went through a little legal phase here.
Later he appears briefly with the whole Rogues’ Gallery as they exchange Almost Got Him stories regarding Batman. Watch that ep if you want to see the twist!
The next time we see Joker, he’s mourning the “death” of Batman. He does so by locking the “killer” in a box and dumping the box in a vat of acid. It seems Joker is quite attached to Batman, or rather the idea of taking Bats down himself.
For a change of pace, we get to see more of Harley. She’s taking a break from her and Joker’s “challenging” relationship and hanging out with Ivy in the plant lady’s little shop of horrors. It’s so sweet how the clowns work out their differences in the relationship…hah, that’s a joke, see?
We’re still in Arkham when we see Joker again. He’s playing Judge at the trial of Batman. The purpose of this was to show that Batman was to blame for all the villains’ situations and personas. Amazingly, it turns out they’re responsible for their own lives.
There are a few more episodes, most of which focus on Harley. In the end, it looks like the Joker might have finally died at the hands of Batman, but of course we know this isn’t true. I don’t count Season 4 of the series as being technically Batman: the Animated Series, but it’s still not likely that Joker died. You just can’t kill Joker. He’s immune.
Orchestrating sick jokes.
Using smiling and/or laughing as weapons.
Intimidation via threats of death and/or violence.
Using unconventional means of escape.
Brainwashing via chemicals.
Outwitting/outmaneuvering his foes when he can’t break them with brute force.
Seizing every opportunity he can.
Intimidation, Intelligence, Cunning, Wealth, Comedy, Clowning, Card Throwing, Gas, Networking, Manipulation, Leadership, Minion Selection, Fashion, Laughing, Grinning, Robbery, Escape
Underestimating Batman. Every. Single. Time.
Desiring to defeat his enemies slowly and in showy fashion.
Using predictable hideouts.
♦ Notable achievements:
Kidnapping Summer, Gordon, and Bullock
Auctioning an atom bomb
Giving Batman a run for his money every time they face off
Almost killing the Mayor’s son
Turning all the fish in the bay into grinning mutants
Making all of Gotham’s citizens almost laugh themselves to death
Almost killing the man who “killed Batman”
♦ How the Joker can help us succeed in life:
Dress the part.
Hire like-minded people.
Escape whenever possible.
♦ Joker Quotes:
“I’ll bet Batman wishes he had a family just like mine. Personally I think relatives are a bore, so Batman can have them… if he can find them by midnight! Otherwise…”
“Arrr! Try me famous Joker fish! There’s Smiling Smelt! Giggling Grouper! And Happy Haddock!”
“And I’ll be smiling again, just as soon as we take that man there and slap him in that box there, and roll it into that vat of acid there!”
♦ Further reading/reports:
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