The following article contains spoilers for The Joker: Year of the villain #1
The Joker: Year of the Villain has already been making waves in Batman lore. The one-off series written by John Carpenter and Anthony Burch and penned by Phillip Tan is setting into exploring a new facet of the Joker’s psychology. It opens in familiar territory as one of Jokers henchmen, Six of Hearts, breaks the Clown Prince of Crime out of Arkhan Asylum. After breaking The Joker out Six is taken under Joker’s wing but it quickly devolves into exploring the often observed romantic element of the relationship between Joker and his archnemesis Batman, quickly going into a deep dark sexual territory.
The Panel shown above clearly shows that this story isn’t going to be your typical “Joker causes a crime, Batman stops it” story. After stopping The Condiment King from robbing a gas station and several of Joker’s henchmen, the clown expresses his need for something “weirder and Kinkier” like him and Six go out and get a hold of a pair of Batman and Robin costumes. As the new Dynamic Duo patrol Gotham’s rooftops, we get a look at the new mentally unstable Robin’s backstory. Six was mentally and physically abused by his father and we get a few panels where he obviously craves and wants Jokers’ approval. Slowly throughout the book, Six manages to see the parallels between Joker and his father and quickly regrets his decision as the wannabe Dark Knight slaughters numerous anonymous henchmen.
The night of Mayhem and weird role-play comes to a head as Six decides he needs to think about his life choices and goes back to his home after 5 years. It’s revealed that while his mother did shower Six with love, she always excused his fathers’ behavior. When Six returns home to tell his mother that he forgives her, its shown that she is being held captive by Joker still in his Batman costume. A fight ensues that sees Six get the upper hand and starts stranging The Joker. Joker then reaches up and puts the Batman cowl on Six’s head all the while asking to be choked harder with his eyes rolling back in ecstasy. Six, of course, is stunned as it is quickly revealed this whole set up was to live out a sexual fantasy where The Clown Prince is ultimately murdered by Batman. As Six falters Joker expresses his disappointment and says Six will now live the ultimate sidekick fantasy. We are then treated to Joker mercilessly beating Six with a crowbar eerily reminiscent of the famous story “A Death in the Family” where Jason Todd was seemingly brutally murdered.
Joker leaves Six clinging to life and leaves with the parting words, “By the way, if you could swear eternal vengeance I’d appreciate it. It’ll be much more fun to murder you after you spend a couple of decades training yourself.” And after murdering a group of people, and living out part of his ultimate fantasy, The Joker walks off into the night.
What do you think if this new aspect of The Jokers’ psyche? Is it a little too much? Or is it the next logical progression of things? As always let me know in the comments below!