Sunday, December 28, 2008


61. Batman vs. Joker (Dark Knight Returns)

The notion that superheroes, by existing, help create super-villains by being the action that draws the natural reaction. It’s a popular notion nowadays, but it wasn’t so much back when Dark Knight Returns came out, and Frank Miller played with this idea dramatically.

In Dark Knight Returns, the Joker has been catatonic for a decade - the same amount of time Batman has been out of the picture. Once Batman returns to the spotlight, so too does the Clown Prince of Crime.

The Joker fakes sanity so that he could be released - he then gets himself on to a popular talk show where he very publicly kills the entire studio audience (Batman tries to get there in time but is stymied by the police).

He escapes the studio and goes on a killing rampage at a local amusement park, killing a number of Cub Scouts and planting a bomb. Batman defuses the bomb and, in a fit of rage over their continuous dance the two have, Batman snaps the Joker’s neck - but stops short of killing him.

In one last attempt at getting at Batman, the Joker twists his head until the rest of his spine snaps, killing him and thereby framing Batman for his murder - one last piece of revenge.

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