“You complete me.” Yes, the Joker has watched Jerry Maguire and declared his emotional reliance on Batman. For all of their bickering and fighting, the costumed characters are simply two sides of the same coin. Though driven by different goals, Batman and the Joker see the world through a similarly distorted lens. Both of their actions extend beyond the rule of the law, and while Batman aims to preserve justice, the Joker embodies the rebel without a cause. Without their hallowed rivalry, however, their lives would lose their purpose.
As it turns out, Batman and the Joker have shared more than a few adventures together. Though the Dark Knight wouldn’t deign to admit it, their cooperative efforts are almost always more fun than their solo missions. From taking down the Penguin to disarming nuclear bombs, Batman and the Joker have set aside their differences and worked towards a common purpose on more than one occasion.
Here are 15 Times Batman And The Joker Teamed Up.
15. When They Beat Owlman
Fight Batman and you’ll (probably) lose. Impersonate him and you’ll face the dual strength of Batman and the Joker. This predicament came to bear in The Brave and the Bold, when Owlman broke out of the Batcave, donned the cowl, stole the Batmobile, and besmirched the Dark Knight’s reputation throughout Gotham City. With his back against the wall, Batman turns his age-old enemy into a much-needed ally. The Joker had to do some convincing, of course, as Batman had his reservations.
If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing the Joker riding shotgun in Batman’s car, then “Game Over for Owlman!” is the episode for you. Joker himself can hardly contain his excitement:”We’ll make the bestest team ever! Joker and Batman!” Batman keeps his cool, using his silence to make the clown switch the marquee to, “Batman and Joker.” Though the pair soon return to their perennial rivalry, Batman and Joker successfully took down Owlman, the Caped Crusader’s greatest impostor.
14. When They Took Down The Penguin
When the Joker killed the Penguin on live television, all hell broke loose. Though it looked like the Clown Prince of Crime offed his fellow evildoer, the Joker assured Batman that he’d been framed. In The Brave and the Bold #191, the natural laws of Gotham City are swiftly upended with the unholy alliance of the Dark Knight and his eternal enemy. Ignoring his conscience, Batman instead listens to the Joker’s cries of innocence and asks, “So why should you care who really got the Penguin?” In other words, “sell me on this one, buddy.” Joker confesses to wanting to satiate their one shared desire, “Revenge, Batman!” The Caped Crusader then utters the royal “we” and sets off on an adventure with the Joker. Things take a little getting used to (like the Joker struggling to resist his desire to run Batman over with his car), but they eventually get the hang of things.
As it turns out, the Joker was telling the truth all along, and the Penguin faked his death as part of a ploy to capture the Catholic Cardinal. Batman and the Joker foiled the plot and caught the Penguin hiding in a horrific nun’s costume. With the umbrella-obsessed foe apprehended, Batman and the Joker returned to their old ways.
13. When They Broke Into Arkham
In the bowels of Arkham Asylum, Batman finds himself surrounded by the worst of his Rogues Gallery. From Scarecrow to Professor Pyg, Killer Croc to Two-Face, Black Mask, Zsazs and more; they’re all there, but Batman is not alone. He has had a mole working undercover in Arkham for weeks, and on this particular night, Batman has come to reap his reward.
Though he keeps his enemies at bay, the Dark Knight eventually succumbs to the onslaught and is vaulted out of a window and onto the seedy Gotham streets below the sanitarium. Out of the shadows emerges The Joker, whose aesthetic in Scott Snyder’s The Court of Owls Part One is perhaps the creepiest of all his depictions. The pair return to the melee and subdue the Rogues Gallery in grand fashion. Later, in the Batcave, Bruce Wayne tells the Joker to remove his EMP mask. In an instant, the Glasgow-smiling clown disappears to reveal the grinning mug of Nightwing, who had been Batman’s inside man at Arkham all along.
12. When They Got Infected With a Virus
Call it Batman: Road Trip. In the significantly delayed Europa, Batman is plagued with a fatal virus and no known cure. Life seems bleak, but in Brian Azzarello’s criminally underrated (and bizarrely touching) tale, this is just the beginning of the story. Batman isn’t the only impending victim of The Colossus Virus. His inseparable “frenemy,” the Joker, also suffers from the disease.
Putting aside their differences, the pair set out on a vacation of the most pressing order. Gallivanting across Europe, Batman and the Joker are cast as players in a Dan Brown-like global adventure. From Gotham City to Berlin, Paris, Prague and Rome, Batman: Europa cements the utter dependency both characters have on one another. The more the toxins take hold in their bodies, the more they hallucinate and bond over their suffering. Like irascible twins forced to share bunk-beds, Batman and the Joker cohabitate through Europe and reveal their vulnerabilities along the way.
11. When They Became Siamese Twins
2015 was a big year for Batman. Not only did it precede the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it saw the Dark Knight merge with the Joker in groundbreaking ways. By the hand of Brother Eye, the HAL-like sentient satellite, Batman and the Joker somehow became the Bat-Joker, otherwise known as the Jokerborg. Controlled by the Eye, this demonic creature merged the Joker’s capacity for evil with Batman’s raw intelligence.
As for the operation, Frankenstein himself did the honors. Fusing the two beings into one, the monster effectively created a sort of Terminator hell-bent on killing Terry McGinnis and protecting the End Future timeline. Built to wreak destruction, the Bat-Joker saw the mortal enemies’ struggle continue despite sharing a 360-degree rotating head. The Joker embraced his twisted new role, while Bruce Wayne resisted his inevitable partnership with the Joker. Together, they battled Terry McGinnis, Tim Drake and a different Bruce Wayne (from the past), though McGinnis ultimately dismantled his two-faced enemy.
10. When They Saved a Kidnapped Girl
The death of Jason Todd will forever be Joker’s crowning achievement. He relished in the brilliance of the plan and the brutality of its execution. In Detective Comics #726, “Fool’s Errand,” the Clown Prince of Crime stacks the deck against Batman. A young girl has been kidnapped, but since the abductor allegedly killed himself, the trail has gone cold. Searching for signs at Arkham Asylum, Batman invades the Joker’s cell and interrogates him.
Unfortunately, this was all part of the plan. Batman knows the significance of the date, but Joker spells it out for him: “this is the anniversary of the day I blew your little sidekick to tiny, eensy bits.” After Batman slaps Joker across the face, the Clown further pries into Batman’s mind and reveals that he has kidnapped the girl to commemorate the crowbar beatdown of the Boy Wonder. Tired of the Joker’s antics, Batman bluntly asks for the location of the girl and promptly receives it. After Batman finds the girl exactly where the Joker claimed, he realizes a sick truth: the Clown simply wanted Batman to trust him, and not always expect the worst from the Joker’s twisted games.
9. When They Tripped On The Same Toxin
However loathsome the Joker may be, his manic condition isn’t entirely his fault. He’s in a constant state of chemical unbalance, a victim of an extended drug trip. The Joker is a junkie who juices on his own unique toxin, the fuel of his villainous plots and heinous humor. In “The Man Who Laughs,” the Joker is at his most malevolent, killing everyone from millionaires to newscasters with the help of his deadly poison.
After investigating the genesis of the Joker’s toxin, Bruce Wayne steels himself to take a dose by his own accord. He’s a full-time detective and a part-time chemist, and by his logic, he can’t fine-tune the antidote unless he personally experiences the toxin’s effect. Though it’s not formally stated, it seems Batman literally wants whatever the Joker’s having. Within an instant, Bruce begins to bellow a sinister laugh, his skin turns pastel-white with green eyes to match, and he turns away from the fiery hearth to reveal the same visage as his immortal enemy. Batman and Joker tripped on the same toxin, and by extension, shared the same worldview for a fleeting moment.
8. When They Defeated Red Skull
What’s the difference between the Joker and Red Skull? Other than their DC and Marvel constituencies, their patriotic passions define them both. As the Joker exclaims, “That mask must be cutting off the oxygen to your brain. I may be a criminal lunatic, but I’m an American criminal lunatic.” Readying his fatal toxin for Red Skull’s face, he prepares to take down the Nazi for Uncle Sam: “Keep back, boys! This creep is mine!” Unfortunately, Red Skull and his cronies have the upper hand and take the Clown Prince of Crime direct to Berlin.
Enter Batman and Captain America (the stars of this 1997 Batman/Captain America crossover), the DC and Marvel legends who hijack the cargo plane carrying Red Skull, the Joker and “Big Boy” the atomic bomb custom built for destruction on Washington D.C. Though the story started with Cap and Bat seeking the Joker, who was initially hired by the Red Skull, Joker’s surprisingly fierce patriotism overpowered his insanity and compelled him to loose the nuke and drop it over the Atlantic. With Batman at the controls of the plane, Joker, Red Skull and “Big Boy” all made oceanic impact at the same time. This unexpected team-up ranks among the Joker’s most heroic acts.
7. When They Killed Alexander Luthor
Batman lives life on the edge. However diplomatic he may seem, he’s always one careless decision away from becoming a full-time murderer. Were he left to his own devices and away from the company of his friends, Batman would surely have amassed a much higher body count. Take the death of Alexander Luthor, for instance. After Luthor nearly killed Nightwing and neutered him of his powers, Batman grows furious and tracks Lex’s son down, holding him at gunpoint. With a gritted jaw and bared teeth, Batman rests the barrel of his gun just millimeter’s from Alexander’s gingery head. Before Batman can pull the trigger, Wonder Woman orders him to stand down and spare the boy’s life.
Just a few panels later, the Joker steps in with intensity to match. He cocks the gun, aims it at Alexander Luthor, and pulls the trigger. Though Batman and Joker may not both be present for the killing, it’s clearly an execution started by the Caped Crusader and completed by the Clown Prince of Crime.
6. When They Took Down Ra’s Al Ghul
Before Talia Al Ghul shot and killed the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime got friendly with her father. Indeed, Ra’s and the Joker got chummy over a game of chess (Joker won), talk of international politics, a world without any remaining people, and more charming subjects. Unfortunately, the Joker didn’t fit into Ra’s Al Ghul’s new world order and swiftly bit the dust. When Barbara Gordon broke the news of Joker’s trouble to Batman, however, the World’s Greatest Detective got desperate. Barbara begged Batman to stay out of the mess, but the horned one bellowed, “I can’t let this go, Barbara.” He set off to find his old enemy, and while mid-flight in the Batplane, he received the news of the Clown’s death: “Did you say the Joker was dead?” Stop everything, folks, Batman is in mourning.
Upon sleuthing his way into Ra’s Al Ghul’s compound, Batman threw Joker into a Lazarus Pit and brought him back to life. Batman: the healer, the forgiver, the man who resurrects. The best part is, when Joker woke up covered in the orange viscosity of the Lazarus Pit, his mind was reset to a state of normalcy. “I feel strange…I’ve been thinking, remembering all I’ve done. All the people I’ve hurt.” These moments passed quite quickly, but rest assured: Batman’s heroic acts gave the Joker a hint of compunction and regret. Imagine that.
5. When They Founded the Justice League of Arkham
After Hector Hammond erased the memory of the Justice League, extreme measures were taken. Having no recollection of their previous joint venture, Batman and Nightwing banded together with some unlikely allies to form the Justice League of Arkham. What previously seemed like bad behavior was nothing in contrast to the Advance Man’s plan to poison Gotham’s water supply and wipe out its population.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Batman and Nightwing freed the bulk of their Rogues Gallery to join their fight against their new lead villain. Ventriloquist, Riddler, Catwoman and Poison Ivy were in tow, but it was the entrance of the Joker into the Arkham Justice League that tipped the scales. Using a firehose to shut them up, Batman personally intervened to quell the discord between Riddler and Joker. Later, when the Clown Prince of Crime and Batman took down the Advance Man, the Joker reveled in their victory: “Oooh! Teamwork! Does this mean I get to wear the red vest?” Batman wasn’t ready to promote him to Robin status, but he seemed appreciative of the Joker’s efforts.
4. When They Shared A Twisted Laugh
Did Batman kill the Joker? Since Alan Moore published his schismatic work in 1988, the final panels of The Killing Joke have remained a highly polemical subject. Wherever you stand on the comic’s conclusion (the story’s film adaptation seems less ambiguous), few can contest that Batman shared an unsettling moment of levity with the Joker. If this were the conclusion to a Brave and the Bold episode, that’d be one thing, but this is the grand finale to the most disturbing and sadistic Joker story on record. What he did to Jim Gordon and his daughter is unabashed evil, so for Batman to even allow Joker to indulge in a metaphorical story is suspect, but busting a gut with the sinister Circus freak is simply a bridge too far.
3. When They Fought The Punisher
Batman ultimately took down Frank Castle, but not after he suffered the meanest uppercut in all of DC/Marvel crossovers. The Punisher is one mean dude, so menacing that it took both Batman and the Joker to put him in his place. Unfortunately for the purple-suit wearing prima donna, however, the Punisher was just seconds away from shooting him in the head before Batman arrived on the scene.
The Dark Knight seldom admits to fear. He’s brazen, he’s bold, and he’s got more KO’s than anyone else in Gotham City. When he sees the Punisher, however, all of his confidence sprints to the exits. Knowing that he’s in for the fight of his life, Batman turns to his ally du jour and insists, “Run. Run for your life.” The Joker listens, skedaddles out of the alleyway, and leaves Batman to handle the rest. They’re not much of a tag-team, but they do count for something.
2. When Batman Saved Joker From Death Row
Though the Joker may seem to always be on death row, Chuck Dixon formalized the character’s dangerous reality in Devil’s Advocate. In this one-shot story, the Joker is quite literally facing the needle after allegedly poisoning countless stamps issued by the United States Postal Service. What drove the Joker to punish the innocent? According to the District Attorney, during a recent collection of stamps commemorating the best comedians in Gotham, the Joker was left off the list and couldn’t stand the injustice.
Unfortunately for the Clown Prince of Crime, none of these allegations were true, and he was being framed for murder. Batman came to the villain’s rescue and diverted his detective skills to effectively becoming the Joker’s lawyer. Sure enough, Batman was right, the Joker was innocent, and another man ultimately admitted to the crime. To underscore the significance of Batman’s benevolence, the Dark Knight literally stopped his greatest enemy from being put to death. If he wasn’t guilty for the stamp attack, he was guilty for a thousand other crimes. Nevermind that. Batman pays fealty to justice, even when it involves his most enduring enemy.
1. When They Fought Together in Arkham Knight
“Take a hint ol’ boy. We may have had our differences, but you and me, we’re made for each other!”
The Joker’s death in Batman: Arkham City seemed truly final, but with such a great villain at Rocksteady’s disposal, they couldn’t let him disappear so easily. In the epic conclusion to the video game developer’s successful series, Arkham Knight explores the ramifications of Batman’s life without the physical presence of the Joker. As it turns out, the Joker’s worst tricks are played on the mind and free from the constraints of the physical world. Thanks to a grossly under-monitored blood transfusion, the Joker’s manic mind lives on in frighteningly life-like projections within Batman’s mind.
They may have shared a physical body once before, but this is far worse. The Joker haunting Batman’s mind renders Bruce Wayne vulnerable to the unhinged nature of the Clown Prince of Crime. Like an amoeba, the Joker inhabits Batman’s inner sanctum and slowly eats away at his core being. What results is a battle of the wits, one that forces Batman to banish the Joker from his mind altogether. Though they coexisted for a time, Batman stuck to his guns and proved that he and the Joker are happiest at a safe distance.
What other times have Batman and the Joker teamed up? Let us know in the comments!