DC has some amazing hero vs nemesis face-offs, but the most famous has to be Batman vs Joker. It isn’t just comic book and cartoon famous, it is movie famous, and arguably one of the biggest rivalries in modern media.
To honor this rivalry, we’ve picked out this duo’s greatest battles:
5. The Killing Joke (Graphic Novel)
The Killing Joke raises some fascinating questions and then spends its run answering them all, making it an intriguing comic and battle between foes:
The author not only puts us inside The Joker’s mind but provides background material on a figure whose history has been re-written over time. This background material strongly suggested that all it took was one bad day for someone to go insane.
For a long time, this confrontation has been a fan favorite, since it brings readers into the minds of both Batman and The Joker, shedding light on why they are the fiercest of rivals.
WARNING: Don’t watch the 2016 animated feature, it isn’t as good as the graphic novel, which is available on Amazon for $25 as a hardback.
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4. The Dark Knight Returns (Animated Feature)
Normally we’d say pick up the graphic novel or the four-issue comic series, but on this occasion, the animated feature does do the source material justice. If a collector, you should go and find the four-issue comic series from 86.
Despite how bizarre it may sound, given how long these characters have interacted, Batman and The Joker have an intimate and profound bond. So, when The Dark Knight returned, it came as no surprise to see the Clown Prince of Crime emerge from the shadows of history to meet his long-time adversary.
This time, though, Batman took no prisoners and set out to put an end to the craziness once and for all. For collectors, the 30th Anniversary Edition is available on Amazon for $17+ as a paperback.
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3. Batman Beyond (TV Series)
If you’re looking for a win for the Joker, and want to see the rivalry come to an end in an alternative take, the animated TV Series Batman Beyond is a must-watch.
Throughout the series, the stories have a sense of finality and are some of the finest in the character’s legacy. This provides a conclusion to each character’s narrative and gives fans a complete arch. And this is why Batman Beyond ranks #3 on this Batman vs Joker list.
Spoiler: If you’re curious about the conclusion, the Joker returns from exile, and kidnaps Tim Drake (the third Robin in DC’s comics), brainwashing him into a miniature version of The Joker. This breaks Batman, which ultimately ends his feud with The Joker once and for all.
2. The Dark Knight (Movie)
Forget The Avengers and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is THE BEST superhero movie.
It is a movie that concentrates on the psychological threat that the Clown Prince of Crime poses to Gotham and Batman. Throughout the movie, the Joker continues to corrupt the minds of Gotham’s citizens while causing them significant bodily injury and danger.
In this movie, Batman doesn’t win with strength or tech, but when the people of Gotham make a move that the Joker didn’t bet on. At that moment, the tide of the battle changes.
If you’ve not watched this movie, watch it now by checking justwatch.com to see where it is streaming.
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1. Joker’s Revenge (Comic)
The Joker has always posed a mental menace to The Dark Knight. Time and again, Batman has had to outwit his archenemy to save himself or someone else:
However, in this issue, The Joker pursues five of his old pals in one of the Clown Prince of Crime’s most insane schemes ever. This leads to The Joker attempting to have Batman devoured by a shark in a shark tank. Of course, the bat escapes before defeating his opponent once more – yet, in terms of Batman vs Joker battles, if you love 70s comics, this is the best of them all!
You can find the 1970 comic book on Amazon’s Comixology here.