Arguably the most popular heroes of their respective universes, Batman and Spider-Man also boast the most prolific and recognizable rogues' gallery in comic book history. Sitting atop each of these respective lists are the two villains who have done the most damage to our heroes: The Joker and The Green Goblin.
Both have made their rivalries deeply personal, killing many of our heroes’ family members and loved ones. This begs the question: which of these two would win a fight against each other? In this list, we present 5 Reasons Joker Would Beat Green Goblin In A Fight (& 5 Why Norman Osborn Would Win).
10 JOKER'S EDGE: The Goons
In most of his incarnations, The Joker has never been a proficient hand-to-hand fighter, usually relying on his weapons to defend himself. When poison-tipped hand buzzers aren’t enough, The Joker relies on hired muscle to put his plans into action. In recent years, The Joker’s goon squad has been compromised of similar-minded psychopaths like Harley Quinn: deranged individuals with no qualms about murder and sporting a fanatical devotion to their leader.
Although a skilled combatant with a hefty bag of tricks up his sleeve, even the Green Goblin would be overwhelmed by the swarming throes of fanatic killers with no compunction against self-sacrifice firmly fixated on ending his life at the order of their boss.
9 GOBLIN'S EDGE: The Family
Norman Osborn is by all accounts a ruthless criminal, but there's one area in his life where he's less calculated and callous, and that's with his family. That having been said, his family's well being is usually what he decides it will be, and Norman is not above coercion and brainwashing to bend most of his heirs (like his son Harry or the Stacy twins) to his will.
As most of his heirs are also meta-humans, a team comprised of Osborn's Goblin-Formula-powered family would easily decimate The Joker and his ranks. Bound by blood and ambition, Team Osborn would soar to victory in almost a heartbeat.
8 JOKER'S EDGE: His "Wonderful Toys"
Much like his arch-nemesis, The Joker has a wide array of gadgets at his disposal to wreak havoc on the good citizens of Gotham. Over the years, these weapons have ranged from simple knives and crowbars to practical-joke themed items such as acid-spitting flowers or poison-laced Joker cards. His crowning achievement is his patented Joker Gas, which leaves all its inhalants deceased, but with their faces contorted into a grotesque grin.
Although Osborn is not without his own bag of tricks, the Joker’s innocuous design can fool his uninitiated enemy into believing the crazed clown is holding nothing but an innocent novelty gag- until it kills him. This combination of lethality and seeming harmlessness could be the trump card that gives The Joker the win.
7 GOBLIN'S EDGE: Goblin Gadgets
A genius in the field of experimental research and weapons development, Norman Osborn has, over the years, built a vast array of lethal Goblin-themed gadgets to help him in his war with Spider-Man. Glove-concealed sparkle blasts, pumpkin bombs, and razor bats are all standard weapons in the Goblin’s arsenal, and one The Joker would be hard-pressed to counter.
Another of Osborn’s trademark weapons is his patented Goblin Glider, which grants him the gift of flight. Launching an airborne assault with any one of these weapons would, at least, provide the Green Goblin with a significant tactical advantage against the grounded Joker, and at best, give him the win.
6 JOKER'S EDGE: The Quick Victory
The Joker may be insane, but he’s not stupid. The master of the short game, he’s capable of devising improvised plans for mayhem that more often than not, allows him to fulfill his immediate goals. This has proven difficult for the GCPD, Batman, and even the Justice League to thwart, as his twisted mind produces layers of misdirects that often leave his adversaries holding the bag.
This was most prevalent in Death of the Family, where the Joker was able to keep the Bat-Family occupied while he snuck into the Batcave to terrorize an unsuspecting Alfred. Responding to a prompt threat at the onset of a battle may prove to lure Norman Osborn out into the open, where a series of multiple and guided misleads will give The Joker a quick victory over his befuddled foe.
5 GOBLIN'S EDGE: He Plays the Long Game
The Goblin Formula did not only grant Norman Osborn his physical gifts and abilities but also provided him with an enhanced intellect of genius proportions. When his insanity is sufficiently stifled by chemical suppressants, Osborn is a master strategist who has no issues playing the long game to assure himself of victory.
And we do mean long: following a disastrous defeat at the hands of Spider-Man, Osborn retreated to Europe for years to convalesce, allowing his adversary his victories while slowly enacting a comprehensive plan to systematically destroy Peter Parker’s life on all levels. Although accustomed to matching wits with a master strategist, The Joker would be unprepared to face someone who would allow him years of victories to lull him into a false sense of security.
4 JOKER'S EDGE: Unpredictability Factor
If there’s one edge the Joker has over any opponent, it’s his unpredictability factor. Diagnosed as insane beyond categorization, the Joker’s actions are just as dubious as his moods.
As the Batman can attest to, anticipating the Joker’s next move is close to impossible, and for the similarly strategic-thinking Norman Osborn, interpreting the Joker’s pattern of thinking to plan a mode of attack would be exceedingly difficult. Much like Batman, the Green Goblin would have to rely on ‘counter-punches’ - allowing the Joker to play his hand first and come up with devastating countermeasures to defeat him- if at all possible!
3 GOBLIN'S EDGE: Unlimited Resources
Being the head of a billion-dollar, multi-national military research and development company like Oscorp has its perks, as Norman Osborn can attest to. Aside from access to advanced weaponry and superhuman Goblin serums, Norman has a wide range of fiscal, legal and political resources he can rely on to utterly obliterate even the most slipperiest of foes.
When combined with the network and connections he made during his time as director of S.H.I.E.L.D., a truly indomitable adversary is born. With such resources, there really is nowhere The Joker could hide from Norman’s reach: he can find him through his network of spies, incarcerate him for good through his network of lawyers, and pay anyone from a prison guard to a cellmate to assassinate him once and for all.
2 JOKER'S EDGE: He's Not Afraid to Die
In recent years, The Joker has become less concerned with common crimes such as theft and extortion and more with proving his unique worldview: that all it takes is ‘one bad day’ to drive the sanest man insane.
The lengths to which The Joker will go to achieve this are extreme, such as mass murder and mutilation. Moreover, The Joker has shown little to no regard for his own life in this respect, so long as he can prove his twisted point. In facing an enemy whose extreme insanity breeds extreme self-assuredness, Norman Osborn may not be adequately prepared to fight someone who has no qualms about sacrificing himself.
1 GOBLIN'S EDGE: Meta-Human Strength
First encountered as a normal, unassuming businessman, Norman Osborn’s physical strength and abilities seemed average. However, upon exposing himself to the Goblin Formula, Osborn gained a superhuman physical strength that would allow him to lift upwards of 9 tons, and the agility, stamina and healing factor that would allow him to go toe-to-toe with Spider-Man.
As the Joker possesses no meta-human powers, abilities or combat training, the Green Goblin’s enhanced strength, reflexes and recuperative abilities give him the edge over the Joker in a physical fight. Quite simply, if the Goblin grabs a good hold of the Joker, he can snap his neck like a pencil, putting an end to this fight quickly and permanently.