The Joker has shown himself as one of the most despicable creatures in the DC Universe over and over again. Having committed countless indiscriminate mass killings, sadistically and selectively torturing select members of the Bat family, and brutally harming and manipulating his supposed girlfriend Harley Quinn, Batman’s archenemy has made it clear that he views everyone around him as nothing more than substance. To use it in his latest “joke”. There are no lines he won’t cross to deliver a punch.
at Suicide Squad: Get the Joker! #3 (by Brian Azzarello, Ml Maleev, Matt Hollingsworth, Jared K. Fletcher), Joker uses a group of children as live shields to protect himself from members of Task Force X. This gruesome act of self-preservation not only calls back to one of the Joker’s most memorable moments brutality. It also proves that the alleged crime lord “crazy” has a solid grasp of reality and clearly understands morals well enough to know how to weaponize it.
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The Joker turned the tables on the Red Hood and his hit team, Task Force X, by knocking out Amanda Waller into a coma with a crowbar and stealing the detonator into the team’s explosive tracers. Then he used his newfound influence on the life of the team to force them to protect him. Now pursued by a second, more deadly incarnation of Task Force X led by the Peacemaker, the group retreats to the Joker’s lair in a deserted seaside amusement park, where the Joker reveals that he has recruited and indoctrinated a small army of homeless children. When the Peacemaker’s team tracks them down, the Joker orders his “family” to charge the murderous killers with improvised weapons, allowing him to escape while the terrified team shoot the children in self-defense.
While not an exact salute, the Joker’s vile use of child soldiers in Suicide Squad: Get the Joker! #3 It parallels one of the most heinous crimes of his Prime Earth counterpart. Near the end of the No Man’s Land saga, where Gotham is cut off from the mainland after a devastating earthquake devastated the city, the Joker kidnaps several newborn babies from the maternity ward. When Jim Gordon’s second wife, Sarah Essen, tracks the Joker back to his lair, the clown crime prince expels the child he’s been cuddling with in the veteran detective. While Sarah dove to catch the helpless infant, the Joker shot her in the head, killing her on the spot.
Over the years, the Joker has committed many atrocities, but his use of children as human shields is easily one of the most brutal things he has ever done. Sarah Eisen, a hardened police officer who had watched Gotham’s worst city progress, directly begged the Joker to stop when she realized what he was about to do. Even Task Force X, a team made up of some of the DC Universe’s most prolific killers, were openly shocked and disgusted when they set their sights on the Joker’s “escape plan,” demonstrating that even the worst criminals find the Joker’s actions horrific.
More than anything, the Joker’s willingness to put children between him and his enemies shows that he is not insane, at least not the legal definition of insanity. Despite being responsible for countless murders, the Joker has always avoided severe punishment by having several of his attorneys argue that he is not guilty by reason of his insanity. They basically assert that the clown crime lord is not aware of the difference between right and wrong. Thanks to this, the Joker always avoided going to prison and ended up in Arkham Asylum, from which he inevitably escapes to resume his endless crime spree.
However, his actions in Suicide Squad: J Joker And “No Man’s Land” proves that the Joker is in complete control of his mental abilities and understands the difference between right and wrong. If the Joker is mentally unable to understand the concept of morality, he will not know that most people do not want to see children get hurt. In threatening the lives and safety of children to cover his escape, the Joker has proven himself sane enough to understand morals and use them against those who wish to bring him to justice.
Despite his insistence that he belongs to a mental hospital, it has been hinted several times that the Joker is simply using laws designed to protect the mentally ill to avoid being held accountable for his crimes. While it is undeniable that the Joker is mentally ill, his willingness to use people’s aversion to violence against children proves that he is sane enough to understand and manipulate morals for his purposes.
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