Warning! Contains spoilers for Batman #135!Part of what makes the Joker one of the most dangerous criminals in the DC Universe is how insane he is, but recently DC revealed that the only thing more dangerous than an insane Joker is a perfectly sane one.
Batman #135 by Chip Zdarsky, Mike Hawthorne, Jorge Jimenez, Mikel Janin, and Adriana Di Benedetto, demonstrates the kind of shocking destruction a “sane” Joker is capable of doing. While trapped in a universe without Batman, Bruce Wayne comes into contact with Darwin Halliday, the same man who would have become the Joker, but never did due to the lack of Batman. Halliday craves nothing more than to witness the moment Joker is born, so his mind can be fractured in the same way and he can go insane. But what he finds out is he can’t be driven insane like that. He realizes his purpose isn’t to become the Joker, it’s to create Jokers. To this end Halliday starts traveling through the multiverse, creating Jokers as he goes. But the most important thing about this revelation is that both Halliday and more interestingly, Batman believe Halliday is a sane version of the Joker.
Batman Confirms Halliday Is Sane
Joker has a history of driving doctors insane due to how crazy he is. One of the major things that make Joker so unbelievably dangerous is how unpredictable he can be. While some writers have floated the idea of Joker having a form of super sanity, there’s still no denying that whether he is super sane or just insane, his brain works differently from other people’s. There have been entire alternate Earths that were shattered under the weight of Joker’s insanity, such as Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League – Batman. Joker’s irrational mind makes him hard to predict, but it also makes him unable to think rationally, which is something Halliday is perfectly capable of doing.
Even Old Man Bruce Knows Halliday Is Sane
While Halliday’s actions may seem a bit crazy, the fact he’s trying to break his mind in the same way as Joker shows that he’s still sane to some level since his goal is to actively become insane. That’s what makes Halliday so terrifying: he’s a version of Joker with all the evil and sadism, but the ability to think rationally. Everyone agrees the Joker isn’t sane at several points throughout the comic, with multiple different versions of Batman referring to Halliday as “the sane Joker.” While Joker is certainly a threat to Gotham City and the Earth at large, Halliday very quickly becomes a multiversal threat. Once Halliday realized his purpose was to create Jokers, not become one, he immediately goes on a rampage through the multiverse, creating, empowering, or even reviving Jokers depending on the universe he enters. This is a significantly larger threat than Joker has ever posed on his own, and it’s made all the more impressive by the fact it was only possible due to a machine Halliday himself makes. Joker is certainly a mechanical genius, but he’s never built a multiversal teleporter as Halliday does, which is likely due to Halliday’s mind not being addled by insanity.
Halliday is quickly brought down by Batman, but the amount of destruction he unleashes is still startling. While the insane Joker has managed to terrorize Gotham City and even been a threat to the Justice League, Halliday manages to terrorize the entire multiverse, proving that the only thing worse than the Joker’s insanity, is apparently a sane Joker.
Batman #135 is on sale now from DC Comics!