The Joker is without a doubt one of the darkest villains in the DC Universe, but a recent comic shows that even he can still be redeemed.
Warning: Spoilers for Batman #130!The Joker is one of the most dangerous and darkest villains in the entirety of comic books, not just DC Comics, but recently it was revealed that despite this overwhelming darkness, Joker can still be redeemed.
The Joker has been a thorn in Batman's side for the better part of 80 years, not to mention the many times he's fought other DC heroes, such as Superman. Joker has killed a confirmed 671 civilians, but the number is likely much higher due to events like Joker War and other atrocities he's committed. The actual number is likely in the high thousands, which makes Joker one of the worst serial killers in comics. While Joker isn't the smartest Gotham villain, many would argue that he's definitely the darkest. However, despite all of this he still could be saved, according to DC.
In Batman #130's backup story "I am a Gun" written by Chip Zdarsky with artwork by Leonardo Romero, Batman is struggling with his Zur-En-Arrh personality taking over. Zur-En-Arrh was created to protect Batman from psychological attacks, which is exactly what the Joker is. Zur-En-Arrh tries to convince Bruce that Joker and all his other rogues must die, only for Bruce to imagine a version of Joker as he was before descending into madness. This version tells Batman, "I wasn't always this way. Something…something's broken in me." After ruminating that maybe Batman should kill him to end the violence, he says, "But Batman…he saves everyone, right? It's what he does. Who's going to save me?" Batman's true mission hasn't just been to save Gotham, but to save everyone in it; this includes Batman saving the Joker. And while this is ultimately Batman's own hallucination of wanting to save Joker, this isn't the first time Joker himself has expressed a desire to be saved.
The idea that Joker wants to be saved is not a new concept in DC; it's actually gone back almost 40 years at this point. And it's a concept that has continually popped up over time. In Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's infamous The Killing Joke, Batman specifically reaches out at the start and end of the story with an offer to help save the Joker, an offer Joker even seems to consider before rejecting. In Grant Morrison and Howard Porter's JLA #15, Martian Manhunter temporarily re-orders the structure of Joker's brain, granting him temporary sanity. With his mind finally fully sane, Joker immediately expresses regret over his actions and horror at what he's done, as well as the desire to repent for his sins. In Enrico Marini's beautiful graphic novel Batman: Dark Prince Charming, Joker tells a child he's kidnapped, "When I was your age, I would imagine someone like Batman — a hero — coming to rescue me. How would I have turned out if that had happened?"
Joker is without a doubt one of the vilest villains in all of comic books. But despite all the unrelenting darkness and the horrible crimes he's committed, DC Comics has shown that at the end of the day Joker still wants to be saved and maybe someday Batman will finally save him.
More: Batman Admits His One Similarity to the Joker
Batman #130 is on sale now from DC Comics!
Dashiel Reaves is a writer for ScreenRant, growing up he was always around comics due to his parents involvement with Batman The Animated Series and various other comic book properties! He absolutely adores comics, and always has for as long as he’s been able to read. Now that he’s a writer for ScreenRant he wants to try and share his love and passion for them for anyone who wants to read it! When he’s not reading comics, he enjoys playing video games or baking sweet foods to eat while reading comics!