Very few villains have had the same impact as the Joker. What was originally just another comic-book villain has managed to swiftly become one of the most studied and reproduced characters of all time. The Joker's insanity has been portrayed everywhere, from the original format of comic books to endless movie and television adaptions. Joaquin Phoenix's take on the character in the upcoming Joker is only the most recent in a string of many, many more.
Creativity never seems to be an issue when it comes to creating a new villain, in whatever form it is. But somehow, coming up with a character who seems to be as interesting and as layered as the scariest clown of them all seems to be a challenge few can overcome. In Joker's history, there have been countless instances when the crazy was cranked up several notches. But out of everything Joker's ever done, what was worst? Let's count down the ten craziest Joker moments of all time!
10 Brainwashed Tim Drake
For what was supposed to be a kid's movie, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker dealt with some pretty heavy stuff. In Warner Bros' defense, trying to make the Joker a child-friendly cartoon isn't exactly easy. And they didn't seem to stretch any brain muscles with that, considering the movie shows Terry McGinnis (or Future Batman) witnessing then-Robin Tim Drake being brainwashed by Joker and Harley Quinn.
Even though Tim ends up killing Joker in a bloody deleted scene, the past comes back to haunt him, and he leaves his Robin life behind. Plus, as an adult, he's so scarred by the past events that he becomes a clown figure himself, chasing after Batman.
9 Killed Rachel And Doomed Harvey
Heath Ledger's version of Joker still remains in most people's memories as the ultimate embodiment of the character. Ledger's performance was so top-notch that the actor was awarded an Oscar after his tragic passing. The honor was more than deserved, considering how incredibly well Ledger translated the character's iconic madness onto the screen.
In one of the most horrible acts committed by the Joker, in The Dark Knight, Batman's nemesis manages to play one of his twisted games, tricking the hero into finding both Rachel and Harveyat exactly the wrong time. Not only does Rachel, Bruce Wayne's love, tragically die, Harvey also begins his slow descent into madness as a result.
8 Blew Up A School
The Joker was featured in a number of different comic books ever since he was first created. One of these appearances was in the 2009 issue entitled Batman: Cacophony. These issue featured the character Maxie Zeus, who decided to use the Joker's poison and mix it with ecstasy to produce a new drug.
Joker wasn't exactly pleased with the idea of his poison being used by children, so he did what any deranged psychopathic killer would do — he blew up a school full of children. You know, just another day at the office for Joker. It's not like he hasn't done worse, as we're about to prove.
7 Beat Jason Todd To Death
Being Robin is probably not a good career choice to anyone who values being alive. Especially not when you live in the same universe as the Joker. Even though what he did to Tim Drake was absolutely horrific, it still doesn't quite beat what he did to Jason Todd in Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo's A Death in the Family.
In yet another move to spite Batman, the deranged clown bludgeoned teenager Jason Todd in the head several times with a crowbar. And just in case that wouldn't do the trick, he made sure to leave the kid's unconscious body next to an explosive. Needless to say, it blew up, killing Todd for good.
6 Tortured Harley Quinn
Each actor who takes on the role of the Joker will find a different way to make the character theirs. And that's exactly what Jared Leto did when he was cast as the crazy psychopath in the movie Suicide Squad. He did receive quite a bit of heat because of his performance, but Leto still brought something new to the table, different from all the previous actors.
One thing that surely wasn't missing was his treatment of Harley Quinn. There's yet to be a portrayal of the Joker where he doesn't treat his "girlfriend" like garbage. Or worse. And in Suicide Squad, he sure delivered on this matter, by severely electrocuting Harley Quinn's brain. Several times.
5 Paralyzed Gordon's Wife
The Joker's insanity has been a recurring theme ever since he's been introduced. And a great example of this was the 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke, where the entire narrative pretty much revolves around the clown trying to drive Gordon completely mad. In Joker's first attempt, he shoots Gordon's wife, Barbara, but she survives.
However, surviving is the best she gets. The horrible attempt left Barbara Gordon paralyzed, and to top it all off, the Joker forces Gordon to look at several pictures of his wife naked, insinuating that he abused her severely. Even though Gordon remains sane, Barbara can no longer be Batgirl and is left with some serious psychological trauma.
4 Spent An Eternity Torturing Batman
There was an instance in comic book story when Joker was blessed (and everyone else was cursed) with incredible cosmic powers. Now, here's the thing— as a man, the Joker is already one of the worst villains of all time — including the ones with actual powers. So you can only begin to imagine what giving him extra abilities would do.
When he did get them in Emperor Joker, he managed to do a lot of crazy things, including actually eating China. But the worst of them all was when he trapped Batman in a loop of dying, being resurrected, tortured in the most horrible ways, dying, and repeat. It's a literal loop of horror.
3 Skinned Monty
One of the most terrifying personifications of the Joker on paper was the 2008 graphic novel Joker. It's an interesting new take on the villain, since we get to follow his release from the Arkham Asylum, all told from an outside perspective. And one of the things the poor narrator witnesses is enough to make a grown man cry.
The Joker has some lingering businesses, businesses that take him to a strip club to find an old lackey, Monty. We don't know exactly what Monty did, but we do know what happened — the Joker skins him alive. He literally rips the entire skin from Monty's body, eventually killing him.
2 Broke His Own Spine
Batman is known for refusing to kill anyone he defeats. It's his deal, we respect him, and all that jazz. But when it comes to the Joker, sometimes one has to wonder whether or not it would be best to just end it then and there if the opportunity arose. Well, the opportunity did arise in 1986's The Dark Knight Returns.
After a very nasty battle where Batman's coming on top, the Joker finds yet a brand new way to spite him...by killing himself. Joker's spine was already broken, and he managed to stretch his neck enough for it to break, thus ending his own life — and making Batman break his golden rule in the process.
1 Cut Off His Own Face
Trust Joker to be crazy enough not to only wreak havoc wherever he goes, hurting hundreds of people in the process, but also to go to the extreme when it comes to himself. No matter how much insane stuff the villain as pulled, nothing will ever match the instance when he cut off his own face and used it as a mask.
The point here is that we never really know why he did it. There's probably no good reason and that's the worst part. Because if someone is crazy enough to do something like this, then there's no question on whether or not he would be able to go to extremes when it comes to hurting other people.