Joker is not only Batman's greatest enemy but also one of the sickest, most deranged, twisted villains to ever exist in any comic book line. That makes it very fun when Elseworld stories pop up that reimagine what Joker would be like as a hero. It also makes it interesting when something happens in the mainstream DC Comics timeline that forces Joker to act in the name of goodness and do the right thing -- even if it isn't for all the right reasons. When Joker is good, it never feels right but is entertaining nonetheless.
With that said, the worst of The Joker is something that makes 90-percent of the villains in Marvel and DC Comics look like choir boys in comparison. Joker is clinically insane and has done more to hurt people over his career than just about any villain in anyone's rogue gallery. He doesn't care if he is targeting Batman, Superman, a police officer, an innocent bystander, one of his own minions, or even a child. Joker is an unsympathetic psychopath that never seems to get what is coming to him in the end. With so many huge moments over the career of the Clown Prince of Crime, here is a look at 10 times Joker was actually a good guy and the 10 times he was his most twisted.
20 WHITE KNIGHT - GOOD
Batman: White Night is an interesting story. In this alternate reality world, Joker is Jack Napier -- the same identity he used in the Tim Burton Batman movie. Joker is also cured of his insanity in this story, which makes him a good man who actually becomes a council member in Gotham City. No longer a villain, Joker is now a person who wants to stop the corruption in the city -- think Harvey Dent before he became Two-Face in The Dark Knight.
The entire purpose of Batman: White Knight was to reverse the rolls and make Joker a hero and Batman the villain. In this world, the use of Batman as a blunt weapon was never enough to stop crime but the intelligence of Joker was what the city needed as he set plans into motion that finally lowered the crime rate.
19 DEATH IN THE FAMILY - TWISTED
Possibly the most famous twisted action that Joker did in the mainline continuity came in the storyline Death in the Family. In 1988, DC Comics had a fan voting asking them if they should keep Jason Todd or eliminate him for good. Due to rigged voting, DC Comics ended up with a result that forced them to eliminate him and they chose The Joker to pull off the twisted and deranged task.
In Batman #428, Joker was fighting the second Robin -- Jason Todd -- and had him in a warehouse. Before this, in a surprising moment, Jason met his real mother only to have her in the pocket of The Joker, and she handed her own son off to Batman's greatest enemy. Joker then tortured Todd and took a crowbar to him before blowing up the building, taking the lives of Todd and his mother -- and there was nothing Batman could do about it.
18 BATMAN: GOING SANE - GOOD
In Batman: Going Sane, Joker believes that he has finally offed Batman. With his greatest enemy gone for good, something happens and Joker suddenly regains his sanity. With no reason to continue his life of crime -- since Batman was his reason for being a villain -- Joker begins to live a normal life for the first time.
Joker changes his name to Joseph Kerr and completely gives up his life of crime. He seems very happy in his new life. These stories took place in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight#65-68. This would only last for three issues before he ended up reverting back into Joker after going insane once again -- just in time for Batman to return and stop him.
17 THE KILLING JOKE - TWISTED
The Killing Joke is both the most infamous and polarizing Joker story ever told. This graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland is possibly the closest that DC Comics came to creating an origin story for Joker. It was also not supposed to be canon, but it ended up changing the entire existence of one of DC Comics'most powerful female characters.
It ultimately featured one of Joker's most twisted moments. Joker was trying to prove that the best men could go insane if they were pushed hard enough and he targeted Jim Gordon. In this book, Joker invaded Barbara Gordon's (Batgirl) home and shot her in the stomach, leaving her paralyzed before snapping some photos to taunt Commissioner Gordon with. Yes, this created the fantastic Oracle character, but it was one of the most horrific things Joker ever did.
16 BATMAN: R.I.P.D. - GOOD
Released in 2008 in the pages of Batman by Grant Morrison and Tony S. Daniel, with connections to Detective Comics, Batman and the Outsiders, Nightwing, and Robin, Batman: R.I.P.D. pits Batman against the Black Glove, who have set out to destroy everything that the Caped Crusader stands for.
The Black Gove invited the Joker to join them, which was a huge mistake on their part because -- never trust Joker. While he was in no way a hero, Joker worked here to help Batman. He took the lives of many of the Black Glove members and tricked them into sending out a signal that helped Robin, Nightwing and the League of Assassins capture them -- but was it to help Batman or just to make sure he kept his enemy intact?
15 SUPERMAN: EMPEROR JOKER - TWISTED
Joker has done a lot of bad things. He has no morality when it comes to human life and he has done numerous evil and twisted things just because he finds it funny and entertaining. However, when it comes to the number of people that he hurt at one time, it doesn't get any more twisted than it did in Superman: Emperor Joker.
Joker decided he was ready to branch out and set his sights on Superman. This was all set up when Mr. Mxyzptlk showed up and told Superman that Joker had stolen 99-percent of his power. Since Mr. Mxyzptlk is one of the most powerful beings in existence, this is not a good thing. Joker warped reality to his own amusement became all-powerful, and in a very twisted and sick moment -- he ate the entire country of China.
14 LEGO BATMAN MOVIE - GOOD
In the LEGO Batman movie, the main villain was the Joker, who then gathered together a whos-who of villains to help him. Everyone from Godzilla and Voldemort to Daleks, Agent Smith, the Wicked Witch of the West and more. It was so bad that all the rogues' villains in Gotham City joined forces with Batman to stop the bad guys.
However, something happened at the end. Joker, through the entire movie, just wanted Batman to admit that he was his greatest enemy and that he hated him more than anyone. When Batman finally looked at himself in the mirror, he was able to admit he needed others -- including Joker. When Batman admitted he hated Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime did a good thing and helped Batman save LEGO Gotham City.
13 INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US - TWISTED
Most of the time, Joker does things that amuses him and doesn't care how many people he hurts doing it. That was the origin of the comic book and video game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. However, Joker never saw the full extent of the results of his twisted actions in this storyline. That is because Joker went too far and drove Superman to insanity, who then ended the life of the Clown Prince of Crime before becoming the world's greatest threat himself.
Joker drugged Superman and convinced him that Doomsday was back and destroying things. He fought Doomsday, without knowing that it was a hallucination and he instead accidentally ended the life of Lois Lane, who was pregnant with his child. A nuclear bomb devastated Metropolis and then Superman went to the prison and executed Joker.
12 DARK NIGHTS: METAL - GOOD
Dark Nights: Metal introduces a new villain known as the Batman Who Laughs -- a villain that is a mix of Batman and Joker that starts to terrorize everyone. This is a character from Earth-22, which is in the Dark Multiverse and was one of seven evil versions of Batman released. Realizing that he couldn't beat the Batman Who Laughs and the evil Barbatos by himself, he goes to the Joker and gets him to help in the battle.
It was interesting because the Batman Who Laughs was a hero who lost his sanity due to his battles against his world's Joker. This unexpected team-up helped Batman and Joker stop the evil plans of Barbatos, and helped to end the threat once and for all. The Batman Who Laughs was Batman with no morality and knew the Caped Crusader's every move, but when Joker arrived, his unpredictability evened the playing field.
11 THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS - TWISTED
When Dark Knight Returns started, Joker was no longer a threat to anyone. He was in his 60s and was just chilling out at Arkham Asylum in a peaceful, almost catatonic state. This is because Batman retired and Joker had no reason to continue on. However, when Batman came out of retirement, Joker decided to come back as well -- more twisted than ever.
Joker took the lives of a number of people after returning, brutalized Selina Kyle and then committed the ultimate act of revenge against Batman. In a fight in front of citizens, Batman snapped Joker's neck -- but non-lethally. People thought Batman offed Joker and ran. Joker decided to finish the job himself, twisted his own neck, and basically framed Batman for his demise.
10 COUNTDOWN - GOOD
In Countdown, there was a new Joker -- one from Earth-3 -- and this universe switched the roles of Batman and the Joker completely. Unlike other Elseworlds stories where Joker caused Batman to go insane and then switched roles himself, in this world, Joker was always good and Batman was always the villain. Although, on Earth-3, Batman was known as Owlman, and Joker was called the Jokester.
Jokester's origin was of a young boy who was bullied and grew up to be a heroic figure in Gotham City. In this story, he grew up to become a comedian named Jackie who was able to deal with his pain by making jokes. After he started to make fun of Owlman in his act, the vigilante sliced open Joker's mouth, which is what caused the permanent grin. Jackie then became the Jokester and made it his life's mission to fight Owlman.
9 DEATH OF THE FAMILY - TWISTED
Scott Snyder revisited Death in the Family in the New 52 when he had Joker break out of Arkham Asylum and set out to destroy the entire Bat Family. This entire twisted scheme started with one of Joker's most demented plans, as he had the Dollmaker cut off his face and then escape Arkham, disappearing to begin working on his new plan.
The fact that Joker kept his face and pinned it to the wall, before occasionally slipping it back on and wearing it as a mask makes this storyline more than a little disgusting. There was even a moment where he put his face on upside down and pinned Robin to the ground, with bugs and maggots crawling out of it. He ended up torturing every member of the Bat Family one-by-one before they finally worked together to stop him.
8 SUPERMAN: DISTANT FIRES - GOOD
Superman: Distant Fires is a story that supposes that the entire world fell to a nuclear war, wiping out most of the population. The nuclear Armageddon also had the side effect of stripping superheroes and villains of their powers. It also had an interesting side effect of curing Joker of his insanity. The story is mostly about Superman, who is still fighting to defend himself from atomic mutants and giant rats.
Superman soon learned he was not the only survivor as Guy Gardner, Wonder Woman, Flash, Billy Batson, Joker and more were all living in a city known as Champion. It is here that Joker was a force for good, helping to build cities and develop ways to help protect people from the often dangerous mutant invaders. Interestingly, while Joker was good, it was Billy Batson who was evil and caused everything to fall apart in the end.
7 SARAH ESSEN - TWISTED
What Joker did to Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke was twisted and wrong. What he did to Jim Gordon's wife Sarah Essen was not only sick and twisted but it was demented on every level and showed that Joker was nothing if not a deranged psychopath. Sarah was a police officer, much like Jim, and she worked hard to protect people and keep them safe in a dangerous and corrupt Gotham City.
In No Man's Land, Sarah found Joker in a room that was full of newborn babies. Joker had a weapon in one hand and a small infant baby in the other. Sarah knew that she couldn't take down Joker or he would drop the baby. Joker then did the unthinkable. He dropped the baby anyway. Sarah dived and saved the baby but Joker shot her as she did, her life ending as she was saving the life of the most innocent of beings.
6 THE LAUGHING FISH - GOOD
The Laughing Fish had Joker wanting to prove that he was the greatest villain that Batman would ever see -- kind of similar to his beliefs in the LEGO Batman Movie. However, in this storyline, someone new came along named Rupert Thorne. This man set out to discover the secret identity of Batman in order to destroy the Caped Crusader.
Joker knew that if this man revealed to everyone who Batman was, it would destroy the hero so he needed to step out of his comfort zone and stop this man from taking away his greatest nemesis. Thorne wanted to have Batman's acts of vigilantism outlawed so Joker showed up and accosted him, threatening him if he did anything to reveal the identity of Batman. It wasn't for noble reasons, but it still protected Batman.
5 HARLEY QUINN - TWISTED
There was one person in the world who loved and idolized Joker. As one might expect with someone as sick and twisted as Joker, he would repay that love and admiration with acts of violence and hatred. When Harley Quinn first appeared, she was a psychiatrist trying to help him. Instead, Joker tortured her and turned her into someone like him. The villain Harley Quinn was born and Joker continued to torture and abuse her to no end, no matter what she did to help him.
He manipulated her. He discarded her when she wasn't useful. He physically abused her and laughed about it. What is really twisted and disturbing is that he got worse as the years went on. Look to the New 52 and both Death of the Family and Suicide Squad and see Joker going as far as to chain her up with skeletons lying around the room.
4 DETECTIVE JOKER - GOOD
In the pages of Catwoman Annual #3, Joker took on the role that Batman normally plays. This annual was an Elseworlds story where Batman and Catwoman were married and were actually criminals working together. In this world, Joker was the hero -- a police detective named Jack Bozer whose face was scarred when he was pushed into a vat of chemicals.
Catwoman was the brains of the criminal duo and Batman was the brawn and they set out to pull off the biggest crime ever. However, a pair of detectives known as Joker and Riddler were there to stop them and Dick Wayne, the son of the criminal duo who would become Nightwing, was there to help the side of good. It all worked out and Joker eventually became a celebrated police commissioner.
3 BATMAN: CACOPHONY - TWISTED
By the end of the limited series Batman: Cacophony by filmmaker Kevin Smith and artist Walter Flanagan, Joker regained his sanity and felt complete remorse for everything that he did over his entire criminal career. He even had the first rational conversation he ever carried out with Bruce Wayne in that story. With that said, no remorse in the world will ever be good enough for forgiveness for the twisted moment that he was guilty of doing in this series.
That came when Joker was angry that someone stole his Joker toxin, turning it into a drug that was sold to children. The dealer, Maxie Zeus, was getting rich off Joker's own creation and he wasn't going to put up with it. One way that Joker made sure that Zeus wouldn't sell his toxin to more kids was by blowing up the school while all the kids were in class. It might be the most disturbing, twisted, and sick thing Joker ever did.
2 JOKER'S MILLIONS - GOOD
Head over to The New Batman Adventures to see something that made Joker decide that he wasn't going to be a villain anymore. While it makes no sense at all since Joker is not someone who cares about money and is simply insane, in the episode Joker's Millions, he inherited a fortune from King Barlowe. Now wealthy, he decided that he didn't need to be a criminal at all anymore.
He used part of the $250 million he inherited to hire attorneys to help erase his criminal past and then he was declared sane. He also threw a "gone legit" party and ended up saved by members of the Bat Family when attacked by a former Barlowe bodyguard. He bought a mansion and legitimately went straight, actually throwing money to the needy throughout Gotham City. When Joker learned that the inheritance was not all it seemed, he went bad once again.
1 MONTY - TWISTED
Possibly the seminal Joker story was not The Killing Joke but the Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo graphic novel Joker. This came out after The Dark Knight hit theaters and tailored this Joker a little more to Heath Ledger's performance from that movie -- but more sick and twisted. Joker's insanity was aided by some drug usage and excessive violence.
Proof came when Joker went to visit one of his business partners, Monty. He took Monty into the back room for a meeting and then when Monty returned, it was clear that this was a Joker that no one wanted to cross. Joker skinned Monty alive and pushed him onto the stage of his club, with skin nowhere but his face and hands remaining.