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I've been reading posts and the like where people state that the Joker is like the Hitler of the DC Universe, and his kill count is in the high hundreds, if not millions. I've been going over a lot of old Joker stories, and reading through them to see if this is really true, and I have to say that it's greatly exaggerated. We know that he killed Sarah Essen Gordon. It's really debatable whether he killed Jason Todd and his mother or not. Remember, he had his henchman rig the bomb, and he might not even have been the one to lock them in. Also, while we're at it, how the hell did Batman know that the Joker beat Jason with a crowbar anyway? I have to wonder about that. It's debatable whether or not he killed Alexander Luthor as well, because no body was ever found. I don't think so anyway, it was left open ended. And I believe that his shooting Robin in the arm was retconned out of continuity. And his near killing of Huntress at the end of No Man's Land is never mentioned.

We've seen him kill a few other nameless characters, sure. It appeared that he killed the Royal Flush Gang also. But there have been plenty of issues where the Joker didn't kill anyone.

#Impulse #50- Batman appeared in this as well.
#The first or second new Robin mini-series by Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle
JLA Rock of Ages
#I don't think he kills anyone in the Knightfall/Knightquest issues that he appears in.
#From the Superman appearances that I read, he doesn't kill anyone. The worst that he does is poison Lois Lane, which she recovered from anyway. And that's never mentioned either.
#Hush and the Hush follow up(s) in Gotham Knights

I'm sure that there are more. But the Joker's body count is probably in the double digits and not the triple or quadrupple (spelling?) digits. I think that people are making the Joker to be worse then he really is. In my opinion, the worst thing that the Joker did was hold a gun to a babies head during the end of No Man's Land.

What say you?

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Omar Karindu

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242

Several of his Arkham escapes show him gassing literally dozens of guards to death, and Joker: Devil's Advocate and other stories repeatedly indicate that the Gotham legal system has records of triple-digit deaths attributed to the Joker.

And in Rock of Ages, his use of the Philosopher's Stone to raise a giant grin in South America kills thousands according tot he radio reports we hear in issue #15. The difference there is that the Stone is used to undo the murders by a temporarily-sane Joker, but the Joker would have killed quadruple digits if not for, of all people, Lex Luthor. In the Superman titles, we've seen him take over the universe with Mr. Myxyzptlk's 5-D powers and rain death ont eh populace. We also saw hims end a giant robot on a rampage through Metropolis to kill lots of people, all just to annoy Lex Luthor; those murders weren't magically undone. We saw him murder several dozen henchmen in the prose-only story during Morrison's run.

And this is without figuring in how many people were killed worldwide by Jokerized villains in the Last Laugh crossover, deaths the Joker was ultimately responsible for. (Hey, it's not like Hitler killed anyone with his own two hands either once he was Chancellor.)

All those dozen-plus murders we see puts him into triple digits when added to the five or six bodies he routinely drops in every story since Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams's "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge" had him kill four henchmen in a row way back in the 1970s. Consider that if he does that in nearly every appearance for 30 years of comics, plus the occasional slaughter of an even dozen or twenty here or there, and you've got a very high body count.

Thing is, we tend to hear about these massacres rather than see them, partly because when we see the Joker, it's usually as Batman stops his schemes. (The other reason is likely to avoid pushing the comic into M-rated territory entirely.) We don't see the schemes Batman isn't around to thwart. But look at those stories where he is thwarted, and at what he's trying to do in them: in Impulse, he's got a mass-murder scheme.

We've seen him blow up entire buildings, gas huge crowds of thousands of people (as in the recent Paul Dini story with the Joker impersonating a stage magician), and so forth. Dialogue confirms that off-panel, some of those plans have succeeded, apparently, and that'd be more than enough to push his body count into the high hundreds or low thousands.

None of that puts him near Hitler, of course, but it does put him an order of magnitude beyond the average serial or spree killer.

- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
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Numbers really don't matter. Whether it's five or 5,000, the Joker doesn't hesitate to kill. He suffers no remorse and doesn't let death, the threat of death or the possibility of death sway his plans in anyway shape or form.

The first Joker story I read was the classic Joker fish story of 475-476. It starts with Joker and a few of his henchmen walking into the office of a government bureaucrat. He wants to copyright jokerized fish. He says that unless he gets what he wants, he'll kill everyone on the copyright commission, one by one.. He and his men walk out of the office and are on the street when one of the thugs asks what's next. The Joker pushes him in front of a truck and says, "none of your business."

The Joker then uses ingenius methods to kill two of the copyright commissioners. Remember, he's tipped his hand and each of these men have police and Batman protection. As the Batman points out, the Joker uses fear to cloud mens' minds.

The point isn't body count, it's the use of fear to achieve his goals. Look at the film The Dark Knight. The Joker personally kills Bus Driver robber, maybe the bank manager, Gambol's three body guards, (one with the magic trick, two with knives while being "dead" on a pool table), Gambol, Brian the Bat vigilante, Mr. Harvey and Mr. Dent (to make one "Harvey Dent") the guys killed in jail when the gut bomb went off, the cop at the barricade. His men killed Rachel, the Chechyn, the Judge, the original commissioner and Lau.

By my count, that's 15 not counting the people in prison. A rough estimate to them includes Fatty, the guard the two paramedics, and we'll say five others around the cell, including other prisoners. Police and such might have been stunned, knocked out, etc.

So a total count of 24 definate deaths and another 10 or 20 possible deaths, gives us a total of fewer than 50 deaths. Yet with these deaths, the Joker is able to create city-wide panic. The bridges are jammed, the traffic is horrendous. Sal Maroni, survivor of the Mafia and various gang wars, murders and conspiracies, flees Gotham. He cooperates with the police. The National Guard is called in.

The point is it's not about quanity, it's about quality. The Joker kills without hesitation. One murder is a tragedy, two is a tragedy, three is a tragedy. Numbers don't make the Joker a terror. Comparing his numbers to Hitler is insulting. One or 5,000, he's a dangerous psychopath who will always be a danger. If they'd only remember to lock the cell door everytime he gets captured.

What I'd like to see is how many times has the Joker been captured in, say, the last three years. Seriously, someone make that estimate. The problem with the Joker is not his murder stats, it's that writers can't think of new and interesting villains. They keep trotting out the same villains over and over again.

But that's a rant for another day.

Or I could be wrong.

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