Well, it’s been many months since I decided to crack open a comic in the hopes of creating a DC version of this series but finally, like Odin rising from Odinsleep, I have returned! I’m going to begin this epic quest of epicky villainy with two of my all time favorite villains, The Joker and Amazo. As always, if there are villains you’d like to see featured here, let me know in the comments or tweet them @IHOGeek!
It’s hard to say where the Joker begins….his origin story has never been confirmed and the Joker himself is unsure of what his past truly is. It could be because he’s bat shit crazy or depending on the writer, he’s completely sane, but chooses to lie. If we take the story that’s most often repeated, the Joker’s real name is Jack, a regular joe who quit his job to pursue his dream: a stand-up comedian. He doesn’t do very well and finally, desperate to support his pregnant wife, he turns to crime. It’s during one of these crime-filled outings that he finds out his wife and unborn child have died in a household accident and filled with grief, he tries to back out of the night’s gig. I think from here on out we all know the story of how he fell into a vat of chemicals which left his face bone white and dyed his hair green. Chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous, the Joker is definitely one of Batman’s most formidable foes. He’s killed Robin, shot Batgirl, and has stolen Mr. Mxyzptlk’s power in order to kill Batman over and over again. As for why he is obsessed with Batman (and oh, yes, I would mark him as obsessed), who knows the reason he lusts after Batman, be it for his death or just to be close to him. Before the DC52 reboot, the Joker had been charged with attacking Commissioner Gordon’s wife (and cleared of that particular crime later) before being sent to Arkham Asylum. After the DC52 reboot, all we’ve seen of the Joker is that he has escaped from Arkham and after being chased by numerous policemen, orchestrates himself right back into the asylum, meeting up with a shadowed man who cuts off his face. Where are you hiding, Joker?
Graceful and agile though he is, again depending on the writer, Joker can be deadly with his bare hands or can be knocked aside by a random movement. He definitely uses Joker Venom every chance he gets (a lovely chemical that makes you literally die with laughter), either by itself or deployed by one of his many gag weapons. Aside from these “skills”, the Joker has been proven hard to kill, has immunity to many poisons due to self experimentation, is highly intelligent, and is quite the skilled hacker.
For a great story involving the Caped Crusader’s crazy nemesis, try Joker by Brian Azzarello. (This was hard as many stories intertwine and while I’d normally suggest Batman R.I.P. for my favorite Joker incarnation, it’s smack dab in the middle of chaos.)
Best quote, IMO: “I think you like having me around. After all, what would you do to fill the long, lonely evenings without moi?”
The Justice League had much to fear when Amazo showed up as this android could replicate any superpower and permanently absorbed every single power of the original League back in the 60’s. Dangerous enemy, much? As with all sentient A.I. who go bad, Amazo was created by a mad scientist bent on achieving immortality who ultimately attempted to create a serum that gave him ever lasting life but succeeded in only extending said life for 500 years (ironically being imprisoned by the JLA for 500 years at his defeat). Anyway, Amazo is locked away in the JL trophy room, ready to be activated at the whim of universal catastrophe. Red sun radiation “wakes” the android and he quickly defeats several members, forcing them to watch his spiral of destruction before realizing he wants to die and seeks out his creator who refuses to help. Copious amounts of Amazo versions do good and bad throughout the world, including a “son”, and finally Amazo’s essence is trapped in the gravity well of Antares.
The only thing Amazo can do is absorb powers (kind of like Marvel’s Rogue) from superhumans. Granted, this gives him Green Lantern’s might, Superman’s strength, Hawkgirl’s Nth metal goodness, but absorption is HIS one and only power.
For a good story in which he takes down Green Arrow, try JLA: The Nail.
Best Amazo quote IMO: “I am not a creature of ego.”