Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #6 looks back at the start of the Joker’s killing spree, as well as the media reaction that painted him as a hero.
Warning: contains spoilers for Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #6!
Full of toxicity and intensity, the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker has become infamous among fans. Recent comics have depicted a more independent Harley parting ways with the psychotic Joker, but in the dark new series Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity, the two have been completely redesigned. Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #6 focuses on the Joker as a crazed killer, but with a bit of a twist.
The issue opens with Joker preparing a gift for criminal psychologist Dr. Harley Quinn. Readers get a close look at this revamped villain in perfect mad fashion style. As the comic continues, the spotlight shifts to Joker’s killing spree from years prior. His first killings are brutal in nature, leaving behind a violent crime scene. He also leaves a coat hanger in the victim’s mouth, forming a false smile for investigators to find. While these appear as incredibly merciless murders, the media finds a twisted way to discuss them.
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While watching the news, the Joker finds them talking about his motives. While his actions may be unappealing, the media reveals that the Joker’s victims were all guilty of abusing their young sons. They paint the killer not as a psychopath, but as a vigilante. They even go as far as to compare him to Batman. The odd comparison only angers him, and he is shocked to find that the feeling he instilled in the public has not been fear, but comfort.
No version of the Joker has ever truly aimed to provide safety to the public, and this portrayal of him is no different. It may be hard to understand how anyone could ever view a killer as a hero. However, within the context, it’s not as wild as one may think. Gotham had gotten used to the comfort that Batman had brought to the city. During the time of the Joker killings, Batman had been missing for a few weeks. He left behind a once-protected city to rely on overwhelmed law enforcement. It’s no surprise the public would look to the first person who imitated Batman’s actions for some kind of reassurance.
This issue really shows where the name for Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity originated. Somehow, even through his blatantly psychopathic behavior, the Joker is painted by the news as a sort of grim hero; a new twist on the mantle “The Dark Knight.” Gotham has spiraled into a hopeless landscape full of fear. Driven by that fear, the city has no understanding of the danger they are driving themselves into by glamorizing the actions of the Joker.
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