10 Best Stories Where Joker Beat Batman In DC Comics | ScreenRant

With The Batman coming to the big screen next year, fans are wondering if this version of the Dark Knight will be going up against his biggest nemesis - the Joker. The character is not confirmed for the movie, although rumors are (unsurprisingly) swirling about the possibility, as he is undoubtedly the biggest villain in Batman's rogue's gallery - and with good reason.

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Not only is he compelling, he's been able to best Bruce more than once - something that few of the villains have truly been able to do. Throughout The Joker’s long history of villainy, there have been a number of times he has been able to win in his fights against the Caped Crusader.

10 A Death In the Family

'A Death In the Family' represents one of the most influential moments in comics for both Batman and the Joker, and helped to redefine how the two characters interacted. Written by Jim Starlin in 1988, this storyline follows Jason Todd, the second Robin, after he is relieved of duty by Batman and travels to find his biological mother. However, the conclusion of the arc is what makes 'Death In The Family' so infamous. In a stunning display of brutality, The Joker beat Jason Todd with a crowbar, eventually leaving both him and his mother to die in a bomb explosion, with Batman arriving too late to save them. While Jason Todd would eventually return to life, neither he nor Batman was the same afterward - and while this is not technically Joker beating Batman, but Robin, there can be no underestimating the devastating impact this had.

9 Death Of The Family

Part of DC’s New 52, Death Of The Family saw the explosive return of the Joker after an extended period of absence. This version of the Joker is even more sadistic and macabre than he normally is, and wears his own removed face as a mask, in one of the most iconic recent Batman panels. This storyline follows The Joker deducing Batman’s secret identity of Bruce Wayne, and his direct confrontations with other heroes such as Nightwing, Red Hood, and Batgirl. This eventually culminates with multiple heroes, including Batman, being captured after witnessing The Joker’s nightmarish takeover of Arkham Asylum. While Batman would eventually drive The Joker off, he does not capture him, and Death Of The Family marks the start of a darker, more sadistic version of The Joker that would persist throughout the New 52, and even beyond.

8 The Dark Knight Film

The Joker is prominently featured in The Dark Knight, the second movie in the Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan. And while this is not a comic, it's such a vital part of the Batman mythology that it is difficult to exclude. While its predecessor, Batman Begins, features classic Batman villains such as Scarecrow and the League Of Shadows, The Joker feels vastly different from the villains that come before. His single-minded drive towards chaos sets him as a dark mirror of Batman’s drive for order, and he irrecoverably scars the world the films are set in. While the Joker is eventually captured by Batman, he still manages to win, in a way. He manages to corrupt one of Batman’s greatest allies, Harvey Dent, into Two-Face (one of the best scenes in The Dark Knight), and force Batman out of his crime-fighting career for a decade.

7 The Dark Knight Returns


'The Dark Knight Returns' is a classic Batman tale, and its version of Batman and The Joker’s relationship is at the forefront of the story. 'The Dark Knight Returns' takes place outside of DC’s main continuity, and follows an aged, retired version of Bruce Wayne who is forced back into his ways of vigilantism. However, his increased activity as Batman wakes a catatonic Joker from years of apathy, and the two eventually square off during a country fair. Eventually,  the Joker kills himself and frames Batman, making him appear as if he has reneged on his vow to kill. While The Joker isn’t alive to see it, he drives a massive rift between Batman, law enforcement, and even other heroes such as Superman, just as he intended.

6 The Batman Who Laughs

The massive crossover event 'Dark Knights: Metal' saw the introduction of the Dark Multiverse, a world born out of the fears of heroes and villains alike. One being from The Dark Multiverse that resonated strongly with audiences was The Batman Who Laughs, a twisted, Joker-like version of Bruce Wayne. In fact, the Batman Who Laughs was created by The Joker from his universe, Earth -22. After baiting Batman into killing him, a specialized Joker toxin contained in The Joker’s body slowly turned Batman into a fusion of Batman’s genius and The Joker’s insanity. Even though he dies, The Joker of Earth -22 unleashed a being that nearly destroyed the multiverse as a whole, and created a dangerous threat for the Batman of the prime universe.

5 The Killing Joke

'The Killing Joke', written by Alan Moore, is a landmark DC title that continues to have ramifications into the modern day. In 'The Killing Joke', The Joker attempts to prove that ‘one bad day’ can break any person, and he sets his eyes on Commissioner Gordon to prove his point. The Joker invades the house of commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara Gordon, and brutally attacks her, leaving her a paraplegic. Even though Barbara continued to fight crime as both Oracle and Batgirl, The Joker’s attack left an indelible mark.

4 Emperor Joker

Mxyzptlk is a frequent foe of Superman. An imp from the fifth Dimension, Mxyzptlk holds almost unlimited power, and sees his encounters with the main DC universe as a mere game. However, in the 2000 storyline 'Emperor Joker', he inadvertently gave that power to The Joker, who reshaped the universe to his sadistic whims. While he altered the lives of almost every major DC hero, he forced Batman into a perpetual cycle of painful death and resurrection, until Superman eventually freed him and defeated The Joker. In fact, the trauma from the events was too much for Batman, whose mind was partially erased to free him from the pain.

3 Endgame

After the disappearance of The Joker after 'Death Of The Family', 'Endgame' saw the villains return as he tried to conclude his enmity with Batman once and for all. The Joker’s massive plan involved everything from poisoning all of Gotham to infecting the entire Justice League with Joker toxin, to claiming that he was an immortal god. Eventually, the two foes fought, in a climactic battle that killed both of them.

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While both Batman and The Joker were resurrected, albeit with no memory, The Joker still won, in a way. Not only did Bruce Wayne have to go through the arduous trial of regaining his own memories and becoming Batman once again, but their resurrection using the metal Dionesium provided part of the impetus for the later invasion of the Dark Multiverse.

2 No Man’s Land

'No Man’s Land' ran through almost all of 1999 through many Batman titles, and saw Gotham City declared to be no longer a part of The United States, forcing Batman and his allies to protect those trapped within it. The Joker was only seen sporadically throughout the event, until the very end, where he kidnapped a number of infants and held them at the Gotham City Police Department. Sarah Essen Gordon, Commissioner James Gordon’s wife, is subsequently killed by The Joker when she attempts to rescue them. While The Joker is arrested afterward, the death of Sarah Gordon persisted, emotionally wounding Commissioner Gordon despite Batman’s efforts to support him.

1 Joker War

'Joker War' saw another climactic confrontation between Batman and The Joker, but saw the latter in a greater position of power than ever before. After usurping control of Wayne enterprises and Bruce Wayne’s fortune, The Joker outfitted both himself and his henchmen with Batman’s strongest tools in order to terrify Gotham City.  While 'Joker War' saw a number of other displays of Joker’s abilities, including brainwashing Nightwing and creating an army of Joker Toxin zombies, The Joker still managed to escape, ready to wreak havoc another day.

NEXT: 10 Villains Who Have Never Fought Batman In A Movie

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