Joker Already Broke Batman Worse Than Bane Ever Has or Will

Batman and Joker have been fighting for decades in the comics, and despite whatever horrible things Joker has done to Batman, the Dark Knight has always managed to keep going. But one event broke Batman so badly, Superman had to steal his memories to save him.


It’s difficult to quantify exactly the amount of trauma Joker has put the members of the Bat-family through. Joker killed Jason Todd and orchestrated the death of his father, he killed James Gordon’s wife, he shot Barbara Gordon, he brainwashed Dick Grayson, and he has personally tormented Batman for decades. Yet despite all of this, Batman has been able to continue on, not only fighting regular crime in Gotham City but also fighting against the Joker. However, the Caped Crusader does have a limit, and Joker found it by vastly expanding his power.

Joker’s God Powers Broke Batman

emperor joker breaks batman

The events that finally broke Batman were detailed in the storyline of Emperor Joker, specifically Action Comics #770 by Joe Kelly, Kano, Marlo Alquiza, and Moose Baumann. In the story, Joker has managed to steal Mister Mxyzptlk’s powers and reshape reality in his own image. Mxyzptlk’s powers make the interdimensional imp the ultimate nuisance, but they turn Joker into a dark god. Using Mxy’s powers, Joker locks Superman up in Arkham, separates the Justice League, turns Lex Luthor into a clown, and puts Batman through the worst torture he’s ever faced. The Dark Knight suffers endless pain and repeated deaths. Working together, Superman and Batman are able to strip Joker of his powers and set reality right. However, Batman still has the memories of what he’s been through, and the cosmic being known as the Spectre confirms there’s no coming back.

While Joker was warping reality, he made it so Batman would die every night at midnight, then be revived and killed all over again the next day. The comic is unclear exactly how long Emperor Joker was in control, so this could’ve lasted a few days, months, or years. Considering how mentally destroyed Batman is by it, it’s likely the latter. Seeing Batman so severely traumatized, Superman does what Superman does best – he saves his friend. With the help of the Spectre, Superman transfers Batman’s memories and trauma into himself, curing Batman by completely removing the events from his memory. Superman knows this isn’t something Batman would want, but has to act, both to save Batman and to stop Joker getting the last laugh.

Joker Tortured Batman Beyond His Limits

superman heals batman's mind from joker torture-1

Fans see Batman as a stalwart hero who can never truly fail or break, but he is a mortal man and has definite limits. When Joker gained godlike powers, he broke Batman not through a genius ‘gag’ or scheme, but through sheer, unrelenting torture. Bruce Wayne is an expert at processing trauma – when Darkseid tried to clone him in Final Crisis, Bruce’s memories were so extreme that the clones destroyed themselves – but Joker proved even he can only take so much horror.

Batman and Superman respect each other as heroes, but they’re also friends, and when it came down to it, the Man of Steel couldn’t allow Bruce Wayne to remain broken by Joker. However, as Emperor Joker made clear, Joker did manage to bring Batman so low, he couldn’t rise again on his own – a fact that makes the Dark Knight’s continued decision to face his nemesis even more heroic.

Leave a Comment