Throughout comic book history, some pretty dark and insane characters have been created. Typically depicted as villains, these very insane individuals have made for some of the most interesting antagonists. Two of comics’ more famous psychopaths are easily the Joker and Carnage.
In their respective universes, the two have managed to pull of some of the most horrific and violent actions imaginable. However, fans have often compared the two in terms of their similar psyche. Looking at specific factors between the two, here is our input on Carnage vs Joker, and who is truly more psychotic.
11 Enemy Power Level: Carnage
Especially with the symbiote at his side, Carnage is an incredibly powerful villain. As a result, it would take something that is at least equally powerful in order to take him down. While Joker is one of the deadliest single individuals in all of DC Comics, he is still just a man. Furthermore, he is typically just a villain for Batman and the rest of the Bat Family, all of whom are just average people trying to make a difference.
Carnage’s biggest enemies commonly consist of Spider-Man and Venom. Though neither of them are the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, hey still have more power than members of the Bat Family, making them arguably harder opponents. Since Carnage has taken both of them down at some point, he is the winner of the first round.
10 Powers: Carnage
Though it may seem unfair to judge the two characters in this manner, Carnage will always have the advantage of superpowers on his side. Since acquiring the symbiote, Cletus Kasaday has been an even deadlier killer than he was before. Now, however, he is all the harder to capture and contain. The abilities that the symbiote provides him allow Carnage to be even more graphic and brutal than he ever was before.
Unfortunately for Joker, he has no extra abilities to help him on his psychotic adventures. Because of this, Cletus has a significant advantage both over the Joker as well as in the Marvel Universe.
9 Brain Power: Joker
Cletus may be the more powerful of the two characters, but Joker is certainly the smarter of the two. Throughout his publication, the Joker has crafted some of the most insane and detailed plots against the Dark Knight. He has also crafted his own Joker gas formula, proving that he knows a lot about what he is doing from a chemistry standpoint. In actuality, most of what makes the Joker so deadly is in how calculated he can be at times.
Even so, his moves and thoughts often appear erratic and unpredictable, making him even harder to figure out. Kasaday, on the other hand, has never been seen to be so calculated. Only recently, with the launch of the Absolute Carnage event, has he been seen to have a plan behind his massacre. As a result, Joker proves to be the smarter of the two, making him the victor in this regard.
8 Allies: Joker
Despite being one of the most insane characters ever created, Joker still has a few allies who are able to aid him in several different ways. Though his relationship with many of those allies is often strained or forced, Joker frequently has at least someone to help him on his quest against Batman.
Carnage, though, is much more of a solo act. While he has been seen teaming up with others in the past, he typically doesn’t associate himself with anyone else, partly due to his constant desire to kill. From Harley Quinn to other Batman villains to members of the Legion of Doom, Joker actually has a bit of an advantage over Carnage in this case, however strained or toxic his relations with those allies may be.
7 Experience: Joker
Since he made his debut in 1940, Joker has garnered far more experience as a character and as a killer than Carnage. For years, the Joker has been a constant thorn in Batman’s side, only growing darker and deadlier as time goes on.
Also unlike Carnage, Joker’s high popularity means that he is featured in more stories, further adding to his experience as a character. That’s not to say that Carnage is at all unpopular with audiences, but there’s no denying the impact that Joker has had, even going beyond the comics themselves. While it is a bit unfair to give the win to Joker, his extensive history does prove that he has much more experience.
6 Personality: Tie
For all of their differences, the one thing both characters have in common is their similar personality. Both Carnage and Joker are unimaginably psychotic. Their lack of empathy for anything makes them some of the deadliest individuals in their respective universes. Though there are differences in the way the two approach their crimes, they are each on a similar train of thought.
Likewise, while Joker is most known for his personality, the fact that Carnage is equally crazy puts the two on a more even field. Because of this, there’s no way to determine a “better” personality without relying too heavily on one’s own opinion.
5 History: Joker
While many details of Cletus’ past are still a mystery, there are a few details that remain canon within the Marvel Universe. For however dark his past may be, nothing is confirmed about the Joker. Most people consider the popular story, Batman: The Killing Joke to be the definitive origin for the character, but Joker himself acknowledges how he isn’t exactly sure himself. He then notes how he prefers to think of his past as “multiple choice” further demonstrating how insane he actually is.
This outlook on Joker’s past also makes him more of a mystery, and thus all the more deadly. Without any details from his past, it makes it incredibly hard to psychoanalyze the Joker, making him more of an enigma than many other characters.
4 Persistence: Joker
Despite his grudge against both Spider-Man and Venom, Carnage doesn’t constantly seek to wreak vengeance upon the two. Instead, he just wishes to be left to his killing. Joker though, has a personal vengeance against Batman. As of the New 52, it was revealed that Joker actually considers himself to be the Dark Knight’s closest friend. For every horrifying act that the Joker has attempted, he feels that he is helping Batman to improve.
In the literal sense of the word, insanity, Joker’s constant failures only make him try harder, theoretically making Batman a better hero in the process. For how messed up his reasoning is, it is hard to see the joker ever giving up anytime soon, making him the victor in this regard.
3 Equipment: Joker
Simply put, Joker relies far more on gadgets than Carnage does. Though it could be argued that carnage still utilizes weapons, most of his tools come from the powers of the symbiote itself. Over the years, Joker has designed some signature gadgets that often fit with his own theme.
Things from acid flowers to fake guns, to electric joy buzzers have all been associated with the Joker at several points. Some of these gadgets have even proven to be just as, if not more deadly, than Carnage’s own symbiote. In regards to equipment, it is obvious that the Joker is the winner.
2 Greatest Feat: Joker
No villain has likely caused more trouble than Joker has for Batman. In one of the character’s most famous blows to his adversary, Joker violently beat Jason Todd, the second Robin, to death. This single moment has arguably held the biggest impact on Batman, ever.
In the years following this moment, Batman would constantly struggle with Jason’s death. When Jason eventually returned from the dead, Batman once again struggled with finding a way to forgive himself for his failure. Unfortunately for Carnage, he has yet to accomplish something that has held as grand an impact, making joker the definitive winner in this case.
1 Winner: Joker
Going beyond the comics, Joker has had a far greater impact within the real world itself than Carnage can even dream to match. Joker’s history with the Dark Knight has firmly established him as one of the greatest villains of all time. Though the two characters are equally crazy and homicidal, Joker’s pension for batman and individual actions far exceed anything Carnage has yet to accomplish. As a result, Joker is the definitive winner between the two.