From killing Jason Todd to shooting Barbara Gordon, there is no doubt that The Joker is one of the darkest and scariest villains in DC Comics. Not only does he commit heinous crimes, but he always does it with a smile on his face. Sometimes these acts are part of an elaborate plan, but more often than not they are just for the fun of it. We dug up 5 of the darkest moments in the Clown Prince of Crime’s history.
Wearing His Own Cut-Off Face
Appearance: Batman and Robin #15 (2012)
Crime: At the beginning of New 52, the Joker seemingly vanished off the face of the Earth. Ironically, his face was the only thing left behind. After being forced to cut it off by Dollmaker, the Joker's face stayed nailed to his cell wall in Arkham until its mysterious disappearance.
The Joker made his return a year later with a new look- his old, rotting face strapped over his exposed facial muscles. No one thought the Joker could look more terrifying until Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo proved us all wrong! The rotting flesh only got grosser over the course of The Death of the Family storyline. It was gruesome to look at and I, for one, am thankful they didn't make a scratch and sniff edition
While performing a one man version of Face/Off, the Joker managed to terrify and nearly break the Bat-Family. Fortunately, blood is thicker than… well, whatever straps held the Joker's face together and the Bat-Family prevailed in the end.
Killing Sarah Essen
Appearance: Detective Comics #741 (1999)
Crime: No Man's Land was a taxing time for everyone as earthquakes, a fractured trust with the government, and a city-wide gang war nearly destroyed Gotham City. None of this seemed to affect the Joker, as he thrives in chaos. He vied for control of the city, but in the end returned to his old tricks—namely trying to break the spirit of Commisioner Gordon.
This time he set his sights on Gordon's wife, Sarah Essen, a GCPD detective. Sarah tracked the Joker to an abandoned warehouse full of missing infants, and held him at gunpoint while he cradled one of the babies as tiny human shield. As a distraction, he lobbed the baby at Sarah who caught it, but dropped her gun to do so. The Joker seized this opportunity, shot Sarah and left her to bleed out in the warehouse, while the infants crawled unawares around her corpse. So not only did Joker land a crushing blow against Commisioner Gordon, he definitely created a Dexter or two in the aftermath.
Making Tim Drake his Mini-Me
Appearance: Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker (2000)
Crime: The Joker has succeeded in killing a Robin before, but In 'Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker,' he arguably does something worse: he corrupts a Robin until he becomes as dark and deranged as him. The Joker captures Tim Drake, and even after months of frantic searching, Batman and Batgirl couldn't find a trace of him anywhere. But when Tim finally resurfaces, they're shocked at what they discover: Tim has been brainwashed and changed into a little Joker, icy pale and demonically grinning. It's scary to think that Joker and Harley spent months mentally breaking one of Batman's smartest sidekicks and turning him into a mini-monster.
Tim eventually got better. That is, until the dormant Joker living inside of him returned to wreak havoc, but that's just further proof of how dark Joker's plan truly was.
Blowing up a School
Appearance: Batman: Cacophony #1 (2008)
Crime: In Batman: Cacophony, the Joker breaks out of prison and immediately feuds with former partner, Maxie Zeus. He heads to the school where Maxie's nephew attends to get the Greek's attention. When Zeus arrives, he successfully talks the Joker down. He leads him outside and safely away from the children—or so he thinks.
They banter back and forth about who would win in a gang war until Joker assures Zeus that he'll crush him like "a room full of unibrowed school kids." Immediately, the school full of children blows up and he leaves Zeus standing in shock and disbelief.
The joke could use a bit of a punch up, but the crime is definitely one of his most gruesome.
Making Ma Falcone Smile
Appearance: Batman: Rebirth #26 (2017)
Crime: Even the best need help sometimes. During "The War of Jokes and Riddles," the Joker contacted Carmine Falcone to kill the Riddler. "You have one hour," he told Falcone. When the hour is up, the Joker is waiting at Falcone' s desk with two rows of pearly whites arranged in a smile. He pulled out Ma Falcone's chompers one by one.
The Penguin, currently an astute lackey of Falcone, horrifically points out that Falcone's mother lives over 3 hours away. This means either the Joker is lying or, more likely, he pulled out her teeth long before making the phone call. He knew Falcone would fail, but decided to torture Carmine's innocent mother just for ghastly giggles.