Thursday 27th November 2014,
Comic Booked

Death of the Family Event: Joker’s Death Toll

Jeff Hill 03/07/2013 Features, Reviews

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.

 

1. Psimon
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.

 

Joker's Death Toll Picture 2

 

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.

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About The Author

Jeff Hill is a moderately reformed frat boy turned writer/teacher living the dream in Lincoln, Nebraska. He does freelance work and writes fiction, none of which is about corn or the husking of corn. His work has appeared in over a dozen publications and his mom has a binder full of printed copies for any doubters. Plus, he's the Chief Creative Officer of Comic Booked. So that's pretty neat, too.

  1. Christof Aggamemnon Bogacs 03/08/2013 at 1:53 am

    Not to mention crippling BatGirl!

    • kcassidy 03/08/2013 at 8:15 pm

      That's exactly what I was gonna say. Although this was a kill list, what he did to Barbara was infinitely worse than killing her. He left her battered and alive, and tortured her family through her. Looking back at Death of the Family, whether he knew she was Batgirl when this happened (and The Killing Joke did happen in New 52 or something damn close based on flashbacks) is the ultimate question. Which makes his torture of her that much more evil.

      • jeffhillwriter 03/09/2013 at 1:56 pm

        I thought about including that… But wanted to keep it to strictly deaths. If I wrote an article of, say, top five evil things he's done, obviously that would be there. And that list would probably be more like top 500.

  2. davidgillette 03/11/2013 at 6:52 pm

    While I'm cool with the metaphoric use of Death of the Family, I think Snyder overplayed his hand on this one. Looks like Morrison still gets the nod with Damian's death.

    • jeffhillwriter 03/12/2013 at 12:33 am

      I'm okay with that. I think Morrison deserves the right to kill off his own creation and we as readers deserve the right to read a storyline without an unfixable murder of a character we love just for the sake of a grand finale focusing on gaining more news/sales. I loved both Death of the Family and Morrison's run… And am excited to see them weave in and out and cause ripples for years to come throughout the entire Batman family line.

  3. RAPHAELMORAN 03/13/2013 at 11:22 pm

    Didn't he also kill Batman's parents…. Oh wait that was only in the stupid Burton movies!!!

    • jeffhillwriter 03/30/2013 at 10:31 pm

      I actually kind of liked that idea for that particular movie, but again, you can't please everyone. And I am arguably one of Tim Burton's biggest supporters.

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