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Times The Joker Was Actually Right

Whether it's on the big screen, the small screen, the comic book panels, or any other media, the Joker isn't known for his rational and morally sound decision-making. He's a kill-crazy, cackling psychotic whose very presence is a nightmare. You'd think of all the professions you might pursue in Gotham City, at this point, stand-up comic would be any sane person's last choice. Not because the place couldn't use a few laughs — any city with all those looming stone gargoyles needs as many chuckles as it can get — but because you'd think of all the noises any Gothamite might want to hear, laughter would be the last. 

Still, having premiered in 1940's Batman #1, the Clown Prince of Crime has been around for almost eight decades. And anyone who's been around that long is bound to do something right. It might be by accident, it might be for purely selfish reasons, and it might be for utterly insane reasons. As much as he wants to see Batman defeated, for example, Joker wants to be the one to make that defeat a reality. So every now and then, he trips up other bad guys just to make sure Batman's doom doesn't get poached from him. 

As difficult as it might be to imagine, here are some times that the Joker was actually right.

Joker helped defeat the Batman Who Laughs

In the 2017-2018 DC Comics line-wide event Dark Nights: Metal, DC's heroes face antagonists from the Dark Multiverse. In particular, they're assaulted by evil, lethally violent versions of Batman, and perhaps the most vicious of them all is the Batman Who Laughs — a black leather-clad, bone white-skinned Bruce Wayne with a spiked metal headband covering his eyes. The Batman Who Laughs is a version of Bruce Wayne driven mad after murdering the Joker, essentially a merging of the two characters. 

When Batman confronts his dark echo in 2018's Dark Nights: Metal #6, he has help. The villain overpowers him, but the Joker appears and shoots Batman Who Laughs from behind while he's monologuing. Together, Batman and Joker are able to defeat the darker Bruce Wayne, and Joker doesn't hold back. He uses an improvised cleaver made from a bat-a-rang to chop off the dark Batman's fingers from his left hand.

There isn't any discussion of exactly why Joker is willing to help Batman, but it's not difficult to guess a few motivations. The fact that a Batman exists who was driven mad after committing murder must be too delicious a temptation for Joker to resist meeting. Plus, he's unlikely to get another opportunity to maim a Batman with another Batman helping him. The absurdity of the situation is probably enough to keep the Joker laughing for a few weeks at least.

The Joker saved Batman from himself

The villainous Batman Who Laughs was first introduced in Dark Nights: Metal, but after his defeat, he returned for a few appearances in 2018 issues of Justice League before finally showing up in his own mini-series alongside another alternate reality Bruce Wayne, the gun-toting Grim Knight.

This time around, the Joker forces a new strategy upon Batman. At the end of Batman Who Laughs #1, the Joker fools Batman into thinking he's looking for protection. Instead, the Joker enters the Batcave and shoots himself — infecting Batman with his Joker toxin. As he passes out, the Joker says "The only way you'll beat him... is to become him." The issue ends with Batman taking on Joker's bone-white skin and hyena-like laugh. Initially, Batman does everything he can to fight Joker's toxin. By the end of the third issue he decides the Joker's right and he needs to see the world from the Batman Who Laughs' point of view. In spite of Alfred's passionate objections, Batman stops fighting the Joker toxin and allows it to run its course. 

Batman manages to defeat the Batman Who Laughs in the final issue of the miniseries. Once the darker Bruce Wayne is defeated, Batman loses his battle with the toxin and attempts to beat the now helpless Batman Who Laughs to death. Alfred tries and fails to stop the hero, who is loudly thanking the prone Batman Who Laughs as he pounds on him for what he calls "the best feeling in the @!#s^& world!" That's when the Joker appears, pointing a gun at his old nemesis. He tells him "You're welcome," and fires. Joker's shot stops Batman without killing him, giving Alfred the chance to clear Bruce's system of the toxin. 

Joker became a white knight

In 2017-2018, writer/artist Sean Murphy showed us a different side of the Batman mythos in the mini-series Batman: White Knight. The series doesn't exactly turn the Batman/Joker conflict on its head, but it shines a light on Batman's hypocrisy. 

Unlike the Joker of DC's prime continuity, this Joker shares the alter ego of Tim Burton's Batman, Jack Napier, but his white skin is the result of make-up rather than a fall into a chemical vat. White Knight opens with Batman capturing Joker yet again, when the clown-faced criminal tries to rob a building containing pills he wants to treat his mental health. After beating Joker to a pulp, Batman forces an entire bottle of the pills down his throat, which temporarily cures Jack Napier of his psychosis. A sane Jack Napier manages to legally free himself from Arkham Asylum, arguing that Batman and the rest of Gotham's law enforcement never try to handle his mental illness with treatment, but instead go right to violence. He's freed, becomes one of Gotham's most popular citizens, and eventually helps to save Gotham from a super-weapon. 

The Joker of White Knight isn't squeaky clean, and he isn't above dark means to justify his ends. Using the Mad Hatter's technology and Clayface's unique physiology, Napier secretly takes mental control over almost all of Gotham's signature bad guys and uses them for what he sees as noble goals. Tragically, he transforms back into the Joker at the end of the series, but not without saving Gotham first. 

In 'Hush,' the real villain framed the Joker

One of the most well-remembered Batman stories of the 21st century is "Hush" by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. A hefty chunk of the Dark Knight's rogue's gallery shows up in the story. There's Riddler, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, and Clayface. Batman even has a throw-down with a mind-controlled Superman. Of course, no epic Batman tale could be complete without the Joker, and the Clown Prince's appearance is memorable, even though he ultimately proves to not be the villain of the story. 

After a tussle with Harley Quinn in 2003's Batman #613, the issue ends with a gun-toting Joker crouching over what appears to be the corpse of Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, Tommy Elliot. In spite of appearances, we eventually learn that Joker didn't shoot Elliot, and in fact, Elliot isn't dead. Instead, he's the villain whose name the story comes from, Hush. But seeing Joker over an apparently lifeless Tommy Elliot is too much for Batman, and he casts aside his usual restraint, beating Joker bloody and ultimately deciding to murder him. Catwoman steps in to stop him, but it's only the intervention of James Gordon, who holds his gun to Batman's head, that saves the Joker's life. 

Now, the fact that Joker didn't kill Tommy Elliot doesn't exactly put him on the side of the angels, but at least this one time when he tells Batman, "I'm innocent," he's right. 

Joker was a detective who brought Batman to justice

In 1996's Catwoman Annual #3, we visit an alternate reality where the Joker is the good guy chasing down the criminal duo Batman and Catwoman. In the first few pages, we see Officer Jock Bozer — a police officer going after Batman and Catwoman — get kicked in the face by Catwoman and fall into a vat of chemicals that transforms him into the Joker. 

Rather than going nuts, this world's Joker becomes Gotham's best cop, and eventually, he's promoted to police commissioner. In the course of pursuing Batman and Catwoman, Joker finds an ally in the reporter Edward Nigma, who Batman and Catwoman try and fail to murder when they fear he's getting too close to figuring out who they are. The issue ends with the deaths of both Batman and Catwoman, as their son Dick Grayson betrays them to Commissioner Joker. 

Joker and Riddler recently became police partners in the comics as something of a tribute to Catwoman Annual #3, but the partnership is actually part of DC's main continuity. In 2019's Batman #75, the "City of Bane" storyline finds that Batman's back-breaking villain has taken control of Gotham and made the rest of the Dark Knight's rogue's gallery his lieutenants. The comic opens with Detectives Joker and Riddler investigating murders by Two-Face and reporting to the new Gotham police commissioner, Hugo Strange. 

Joker did the right thing in The LEGO Batman Movie

In 2017's The LEGO Batman Movie, the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) isn't happy with the Dark Knight, though this time things are personal in a, well, kind of awkward way. Early in the film, Batman (Will Arnett) assures Joker that he is not, in fact, his chief enemy. The conversation is purposely designed to sound like an argument between lovers. Batman tells the Clown Prince that he doesn't mean anything to him. Joker's lips tremble as he struggles not to break out in tears.

The Joker, enraged at this rejection, assembles all of Batman's rogue's gallery in one massive Lego villain army, even bothering with useless wastes like Kite Man, the Polka-Dot Man, and Condiment King. But by the end of the film, Batman is able to put aside his cold, grim facade to save Gotham. With the City literally cracking in half, Batman enlists the aid of Joker and his villainous army to help hold the city together. He's only able to convince Joker to help by admitting to him that yes, he is Batman's biggest enemy, and Batman does indeed hate him. 

An alternate universe Joker sacrificed himself to save the world

Based largely on the 2000 DC graphic novel JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, the animated movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths shows us a version of the DC Universe where the moral paradigm is backwards. The movie opens in an alternate reality where instead of the Justice League protecting the Earth, the Crime Syndicate rules over the world with an iron fist. Instead of Superman, there's the unforgiving Ultraman. Instead of Batman, there's the scheming and nihilistic Owlman. This Earth's chief freedom fighter is Lex Luthor, and Crisis on Two Earths opens with this more heroic Lex and his old friend the Jester — this backwards world's Joker — racing to escape the Crime Syndicate in order to make their way to the world of the Justice League so they can recruit their aid. 

Lex escapes and succeeds in finding and recruiting the Justice League, but the Jester doesn't survive the opening scene. Pursued by Syndicate members Angelique and J'edd J'arkus (this world's versions of Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter), Jester knows that neither he nor Lex will succeed unless someone stops their pursuit. So Jester makes the ultimate sacrifice, killing himself and the two Syndicate members in the process, allowing Lex to escape. 

Joker went sane all too briefly

If you've seen 2008's The Dark Knight, then it's likely you remember the interrogation scene when, among other things, Heath Ledger's Joker laughs when Batman (Christian Bale) suggests that he wants to kill the Dark Knight. "I don't want to kill you," the Joker answers. "What would I do without you?" 

But 14 years before Christopher Nolan's movie came out, 1994's Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65 would begin a story called "Going Sane," and this tale would show that The Dark Knight was nowhere close to being the first time someone had considered that the Clown Prince of Crime wouldn't know what to do with himself without his nemesis. At the end of the issue, Joker is at a loss when he believes he's finally succeeded in killing Batman. With all of Gotham's media reporting Batman is missing and presumed dead, Joker's belief seems all but confirmed.

In the following issue, he's renamed himself "Joseph Kerr." He falls in love with a woman named Rebecca and is close to tying the knot, but eventually the Joker persona re-emerges. In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #68, a flashback scene shows us what triggered his regression. As the reformed Joker and his fiancee take a romantic stroll in the woods, Joseph takes out what he believes is a map, but is actually a newspaper revealing the missing Batman is alive and has reappeared. The promise of a new life apparently can't compete with the endless struggle between the Clown and the Bat. Joe tells Rebecca he'll be right back, but instead he retreats into his old persona and goes after Batman.

In 'Distant Fires,' Joker helped humanity survive

In the 1998 prestige format one-shot Superman: Distant Fires, it isn't clear if the story's nuclear holocaust is caused by human error, computer error, or the world's major powers getting tired of having a weapon without using it. Regardless, most of humanity gets wiped out, and in the immediate aftermath, one of Earth's only survivors — Superman — loses his godlike powers. Fighting his way through tribes of cavemen-like mutants and giant, radioactive animals, Kal-El eventually stumbles upon a community of survivors, including some old allies like Wally West (aka the Flash), Wonder Woman, and J'onn J'onzz. 

More surprising is that the Joker is living among the post-apocalyptic survivors. We don't see a lot of Batman's former nemesis, but what we do see of him is surprisingly tame. Without getting into specifics, we learn only that the nuclear holocaust forced sanity upon the Joker. When we do see him, he's working hard to support the community he's joined, like building a power generator to bring electricity back to the survivors' lives. 

LEGO Joker helped save the world

In the video game LEGO DC Super-Villains, the Joker is one of many DC bad guys who temporarily works on the side of the angels. When the Justice League disappears and are replaced with versions from an alternate reality, Lex Luthor and his legion of villains soon figure out that the likes of Ultraman, Power Ring, and Johnny Quick aren't the noble heroes they pretend to be. 

These new replacement heroes are, in fact, the Crime Syndicate — the evil twins of the Justice League from Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths — but with the Justice League M.I.A., only classic Legion of Doom members like Lex Luthor, Grodd, Black Manta, and of course, Joker can stop them. We eventually learn the Crime Syndicate is working in cahoots with the interstellar warlord Darkseid who's keeping the Justice League captive on Apokolips. Eventually the Justice League and Legion of Doom unite to get Darkseid, all his Suicide Jockeys, and the Crime Syndicate away from their world ... presumably so they can get back to beating each other up again. 

Joker worked against the Black Glove

As he does from time to time, the Joker helps Batman and his allies in the 2008 event Batman R.I.P., a story that deals with a group called the Black Glove that's intent on destroying the Caped Crusader and company. Assuming that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, the Black Glove recruits Joker. Unfortunately for the Black Glove, investing in Joker's loyalty is a dumb move. Joker begins betraying the Black Glove almost as soon as their "alliance" forms, murdering numerous members of the group and ultimately activating a transmitter that allows Batman's allies to track them down. 

Why does Joker do it? A lot of it is pure disdain. The Black Glove prides itself on being inspired the Joker, while the clown sees them all as being completely amateurish. He views them as being unworthy of Joker's time, and he probably sees them as unworthy foes for Batman. Remember in The Dark Knight when one of Joker's henchmen tries to unmask Batman? The crook gets shocked by something hidden in Batman's cowl. Joker laughs at the henchman, jumps up and down on him, and finally spits on him. The lackey is unworthy to even touch the Batman in the eyes of The Dark Knight's Joker, and it isn't a stretch to assume the Joker of Batman R.I.P. feels similarly about the Black Glove.

The Joker stopped an insane Lex Luthor

There was a brief attempt at an ongoing Joker solo series in 1975. Joker lasted only nine issues, but the series offers some interesting reading. Joker's most ridiculous story comes with its sixth issue, when Joker duels the pipe-chomping Sherlock Holmes himself, and the following issue sees an interesting conflict between Joker and the mastermind Lex Luthor. 

In Joker #7, Lex invents a device meant to steal personality traits from others. He means to use it to steal the willpower from the hero Green Lantern, but the Joker eavesdrops on his fellow supervillain. He ruins Lex's plans when he crashes into Luthor's lab and grabs the device himself. The result is that Lex's genius is transferred to the Joker, while Joker's insanity forces itself upon Lex. 

Joker is initially fine with the switch. He fakes his usual insanity around his henchmen so they don't suspect anything. He monitors Luthor's actions, and Superman's least favorite citizen of Metropolis seems to have given up trying to take over the world in favor of committing random crimes without caring whether or not they succeed. 

Joker's newfound genius warns him that both he and Luthor will die from the switch if it isn't reversed soon. Joker designs a device to reverse the personality switch, and after a rooftop chase with Lex, is able to save the world from an even less stable Lex Luthor.