As I compile and order my thoughts and opinions for my final complete overall review for the “Death of the Family” event, one major thing has come to my attention: Some fans may not be happy with the lack of… well, death in this storyline. I will not waste said fans’ time with pointing out that the Joker not only destroyed the Batman family’s trust in their “King” and father figure, but also killed a whole crap ton of Gothamites along the way. Nope. Not going to point out the fact that the Clown Prince of Crime took out a majority of the police department, city council, and guards and inmates at Arkham Asylum. Totally not going to do that. Instead, I’ll offer up some past deaths caused by the lovable Mr. J. in times past. So, without any further pointing out, which I totally would never do, here’s a list of my top five favorites on the Joker’s kill list.
Took Place in “Salvation Run”
In an often-times overlooked crossover miniseries to one of DC’s almost infinite (cough) amount of crises, Amanda Waller had her Suicide Squad capture almost all of the villains of the DCU and transport them to an alien world. Naturally, instead of working together, they chose sides and fought one another. Joker got irritated with Psimon, a longtime Teen Titans villain, and decided that it would be best to simply bash his brains in. With a rock.
2. Jason Todd
Took Place in “A Death in the Family”
The original “death” that shocked the comic book community. Some would argue that the fans killed the second Boy Wonder, but let’s face it, guys… DC was going to have the Joker kill that little punk even if you all called in and voted to save his life. Perhaps one of the greatest moments in both characters’ histories, it showed just how evil the Joker really was. And just how much Jason Todd, though a turd, was actually a pretty decent hero. He never gave up. And hey, he even returned from the dead to prove just how great he really was!
3. Mr. Freeze
Took Place in “Robin II: The Joker’s Wild”
The first comic I ever read. Joker needs a new gang. Mr. Freeze has a gang. So Joker squirts him with acid, breaking his helmet open and exposing him to the elements, instantly killing the character. It wasn’t until his revival by fan favorite Batman writer Paul Dini that the character would ever be taken seriously. And now he remains one of the most beloved tragic villains of the entire Gotham City rogues gallery. Thanks, Joker. That was your plan all along, wasn’t it?
4. Alexander Luthor Jr.
Took Place in “Infinite Crisis”
The kid who almost saved the multiverse, at the cost of a lot of innocent heroes’ (and villains’) lives, was gunned down, in an alley, by the Joker. Geoff Johns brilliantly uses the Clown Prince of Crime sparingly in this entire epic crossover event. Once torturing and killing the entire Royal Flush Gang, asking why he didn’t get invited to join Alex’s team. And then at the very end, after the dust has settled, shooting Alex in the face and having temporary ally Lex Luthor explain that “he should have let the Joker play.” Yay! Joker the saved the day! Wait… What?
5. Sarah Essen-Gordon
Took Place in “No Man’s Land”
And possibly the most heart-wrenching of all the Joker’s murders, the beloved wife of Commissioner James Gordon. She tried to prevent the madman from killing all of the newborn babies of Gotham City’s No Man’s Land and was executed. On Christmas. This is quite possibly the only time I’ve ever seen the Joker not smile. He took no satisfaction from this kill. He was simply proving a point. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that point was exactly, but it certainly got everyone’s attention.
So there you have it, you bloodthirsty ingrates. Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and the rest of the Batman family team of creators didn’t HAVE to kill anyone. I mean, it’s not like you had to wait very long for a death. Oops. Hopefully you’re not one of the four people in the country who didn’t read Batman Incorporated last week. And on that note, I now return you to your regularly scheduled Damian Wayne candle light vigils.