Tag Archives: Justice League

Thanos vs Darkseid: When Marvel And DC Crossed Over In Comic History

It might shock many fans to know that there is canon evidence of Thanos and Darkseid meeting in a battle to the death.

It’s a story of worlds colliding and two universes spilling one into another. The comic powerhouses of Marvel and DC gave fans one helluva’n epic crossover. One with plenty of victories on both sides, and, let’s be honest, the one thing fans needed to know: who would win in a fight, Thanos or Darkseid?

image via DC and Marvel

So we’re going to take a look at both characters, study their abilities and accomplishments, then prove to be proper geeks and wager which one will walk away victor over the other.


In 1970 Darkseid is revealed to the world of comics and ferociously became a menacing threat.

image via DC

This 8-foot tall mastermind rules from the Hell-existence of Apokolips and is an atrocity against all living things.

His divine power has proven to be the main scourge against those who oppose him and few have ever stood before him and lived to tell about it.

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Powers Include:

Omega beams – red laser beams that cut across matter and end it by a mere touch.

It takes a god to meet godlike strength though and Superman is one of the few who has withstood a powerful blast from one of Darkseid’s Omega Beams.

Anti Life Equation – the devastating ability to control sentient life. A domination of the will.

Emotional turmoil breaks the dikes of the mind– And releases the flood in which we must fish, Desaad! Perhaps in this very city is the mind which will yield the Anti-Life Equation! The ability to control all free will!” Darkseid

– DC Fandom
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Imperial strength – Small example, he crushed a Green Lantern ring with his bare fist. Something thought to be impossible to do. He wields exceeding might and a cunning mind to match his brute power

More powers – Immortality, the power to read minds and control them, and a fondness for breaking people’s souls. Not to mention he’s a genius and has turned thousands of worlds to ash heaps.

He’s easily taken down the Justice League before, but, rather than killing them he’d much rather corrupt them, destroy their will rather than their bodies, and force his once-enemies to serve under his throne.

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Not to mention that in his infancy he battled Olympian Gods, the full military might of Atlantis, and taken on the Amazons in their prime. All on his own I might add.

And did he break a sweat? Fuck no!


He is a descendent of the Old Gods, an ancient order perhaps older than time, an order he resented. By manipulation and lies, he sat back and allowed his own kind to decimate themselves while he rode in to drain and store up their energies for his own.

He forsook his given name, Uxas, and retitled himself Darkseid. Feeling now superior in his newfound might and majesty he took on his father, Yuga Khan, slew him in battle, and ended the ancient order, then proclaimed himself a New God.

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As aforementioned, he rules from Apokolips, an industrial Hell-scape planet, a thriving world of agony serving as a manifestation of its Master’s dark imagination.

He also possesses incredible powers of regeneration which grants him the gift of rebirth. He cannot be killed and will come back again, and again.

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He is Satan in the mythos of DC and to battle the Devil one needs a Messiah, Kal-El.

And Superman has been able to hurt and drive Darkseid back. Though it did take the whole Justice League to stop the daemonic will of the New God.

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By his hands alone planets have crumbled. Hundreds of thousands of planets have been left in ruin in his wake. He is relentless in pursuit of his goals as well as in battle. Perhaps his most deadly weapon is in fact his mind.


Three years after the comic world met Darkseid, Thanos was introduced in Marvel Comics. He first appeared in The Invincible Iron Man # 55 of February 1973. To be fair, to those who say Darkseid is a copy of Thanos, the facts are the other way around.

image via Marvel

The ‘90s is when Thanos’s infamy took off (primarily due to Infinity Gauntlet 1991) and is how the character is now known among comic fans. I say comic fans because most people today know the Mad Titan thankfully due to the highly successful MCU where he’s served as the proverbial thorn in the Avengers’ side.

Marvel Studios spent ten years building the character’s infamy throughout their Avengers films. The end result was seen in Avengers: End Game where the whole Marvel Cinematicverse came together to fight Thanos and his army in a climatic battle.

Thanos is 6 feet tall and purple-skinned with a gnarly-looking chin. He is a descendent of the Eternals and a Titan. Due to a mutation in his genes (due to his lineage) he not only has the powers of an Eternal but to a magnified degree.

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I might also point out that (at least in his early days) he was dating Death herself. It might shock modern Marvel fans to learn that originally the Infinity War was, in part, a plan Thanos made in order to impress Death. Yup, he was a simp.

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He has super stamina and speed, plus a cool ability to absorb and master cosmic energy. He can manipulate matter itself and weaponize it to lethal effect. He is a master tactician. He is a warlord, trained by the best warmasters on his homeworld of Titan.

He’s easily beaten both Thor and Odin (gods), defeated a raging Hulk, and, took a double-fisted stab from Wolverine’s blades then shook it off as though it was nothing. He’s also punched Captain America’s shield into smithereens. And in the movie, threw a fucking moon at Iron Man.

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That shit’s hardcore.

He’s fought every major Marvel super hero you can name and remained on his feet while they each lay broken under his boots.

Origins And Accomplishments:

He was born on Saturn’s moon Titan, and, as aforementioned, is a descendent of Eternals.

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He led a mass genocide against his own race, slaughtering his own kind, and left Titan a wasted moon, or planet (something hinted at in Avengers: Infinity War) if you prefer, all just to impress the love of his life, Mistress Death.

He’s also known for murdering his own offspring, because what a nice guy.

Oh Snap

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What he’s most known for today – thanks to the cinematic interpretation of the character – is zealously gathering the Infinity Stones.

Or, to be more specific, using the infamous Infinity Gauntlet to snap away half the galaxy.

However, the events of Infinity Gauntlet (what Avengers: Infinity War/End Game are based off of) differ greatly as far as comic and film are both concerned.


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Well, you see, there was this girl…

Yup, Thanos had a crush on (possibly) the most powerful being in the universe. That being Mistress Death, as in Death. No not Lady Death, but you get the picture. Lady Death is still my crush.

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Unlike his galactic goals in the Avengers films, Thanos was out to impress that special lady in his life.

To the point where he’s literally on his knees groveling at her feet. It’s actually really awkward at times.

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But being brought back from the dead must do that to a guy. Mistress Death did seek Thanos out from among the dead and brought him back for a specific purpose.

Mistress Death knew there were more living beings across the universe than it could handle and so chose Thanos to do her dirty work. In return he worshipped her. He gladly would have been her sub.

It’s something that’s not talked about today, but, and shockingly I say this, before Anakin Skywalker was gushing over Padme, Thanos was desperate to get the slightest smirk of recognition from Death.

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It almost plays out like she’s the hot goth chick who couldn’t care less. And I’m dead serious this is how the comics canon went.

She uses him as her tool to vanquish half the sentient life across the universe. And he does so faithfully, almost as if on a whim.

Could you imagine if they went in that direction for the cinematic universe?

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Infinity’s Finale

Unlike the events of the film Avengers: Infinity War or End Game, Thanos’s master plan -to snap away most life across the cosmos – is undone by Adam Warlock.

Cinematically Infinity War and End Game largely adapt Infinity Gauntlet, but what I love more about the actual comic run is the sheer number of Marvel heroes present for the fight. 

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Primarily, the two most important characters, both Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer, are, sadly, largely absent from the films. And they’re both paramount to the story.

Not to mention Galactus’ role as well as his fellow Cosmic Beings. Speaking of which, Silver Surfer tackles Thanos on a cosmic level while Warlock defeats the Mad Titan from the heart of the Infinity Gauntlet itself – the Soul Stone.

We’re even given a cool glance into the Soul Realm where Warlock operates.

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From within the Soul Stone Warlock discovers a deeply buried truth about Thanos – he doesn’t feel worthy of unlimited power. Because of this Thanos purposely sets up scenarios where he will be defeated just as he’s enjoying the fruit of his labors.

That alone chips away at his super villain rights.

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Unlike Palpatine from Star Wars, Jafar from Aladdin, Magneto from X-Men, or Darkseid in DC, Thanos knows he is unworthy of limitless power and allows himself to be constantly thwarted by mortals time and time again.

And therein could be the emotional appeal with his fans. The guy just wants the girl he loves to recognize his devotion. And despite all of his cunning and hard work he is a ‘man’ with self-doubt. He’s kind of just as fucked up as the rest of us.

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I may offend people now with what I’m about to say, but there are other villains in Marvel comics I’ve liked more than Thanos. Such as Galactus who just roams around the universe looking for planets to devour. I always thought that concept was scary on a Lovecraftian level.

Like imagine waking up one day and seeing a massive face filling the whole sky as Galactus prepares to eat Earth.

Thanos held godhood in his grip, he masterfully took down his enemies, wiped his ass with the Avengers, and basically called the universe a big bowl of bull fuck. He even went so far to become Eternity himself but then ‘conveniently’ lost the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet to his daughter Nebula who then restored the galaxy back to normal.

Long story short Warlock ends up with the IG and promises to govern creation as a benign god.

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Thanos held omnipotence but inadvertently gave it all up.

It’s worth noting that Thanos was once defeated by Squirrel Girl. I had to look this one up too because I had no clue who the Hell she was. I was too busy reading Uncanny X-Men and McFarlane’s Spider-Man run I guess. But she has a bushy tail and can talk to squirrels. Her victory over Thanos is listed as ‘ambiguous.’ Well now I wanna see a movie about this fight!

A Mad Titan vs. The New God

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  • Cinematically Thanos takes the win here. As of yet we haven’t seen Darkseid reveal all the Hell of Apokolips upon audiences. Not yet. A thing, thanks to Zack Snyder, will be remedied very soon in upcoming Justice League.

So Thanos will have some cinematic competition soon (March 18, 2021).

Physically, Darkseid stands two-feet taller than Thanos but in pure strength, it would be a very brutal, and, possibly, equal fight. However, Darkseid is without morals and has conquered multiverses in his evil pursuits.

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Also, Darkseid’s fetish is to destroy his foes’ souls. So I could see Darkseid targeting Mistress Death, turning her to his side by using the Anti Life Equation, and then punching her face off and make Thanos wear her bones like a necklace.

And Darkseid has no self-doubts. He knows he is worthy to rule everything and will not stop until its all his.

image via DC and Marvel

Unlike the devastation wrought by a snap of Thanos’s fingers, the cataclysms brought about by Darkseid cannot be undone. He will not relinquish power or put himself in a position to be compromised.

It would be a battle of intellect between two genius strategists too. Both have commanded legions of armies across the galaxy. However, going by their individual philosophies alone Thanos seeks to bring harmony to the galaxy by means of genocide. Darkseid seeks to rule it all.

Ok enough speculation. What actually happened when the two crossed over?!

When the two finally came face to face the question was answered: who would win in a fight?

image via DC and Marvel

Thanos approached the battle with respectful threat. Darkseid, however, dropped all candor, called Thanos a pale imitation of himself (BURN) and proceeded to tear the Infinity Gauntlet off Thanos’s arm – hand included in gauntlet. And just like that, the battle was over.

image via DC and Marvel

Now holding the power of the coveted Infinity Gauntlet Darkseid, having no need or use for it at all, tosses it aside. After all, he’s managed to annihilate over half the multiverse without the aid of mystical and cosmic stones.

Also, since the gauntlet was made in the Marvel universe it was purely useless in DC’s universe. Because of reasons.

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When the story of Marvel vs DC was being planned out publishers from both sides made decisions for how certain battles would conclude. But they also allowed fans to determine the outcome of certain battles as well.

So this battle left some fans cheering while others were pissed.

Is this controversial? Oh, fuck yes, I know it is. And knowing its potential divisiveness was not lost on me. However, this is an event from our past, a moment many fans wanted to see, a crossover that needed to happen.

Fan of Both Sides

I grew up reading Marvel for the most part. With Batman and Superman being the exceptions of course.

As result, I got to know (and love) lots of Marvel’s rogues and my absolute favorites were always Magneto, Dr. Doom, Venom, Carnage, Apocalypse, Mephisto, Galactus, Scorpion, Electro…and this could go on and on.

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Thanos, as far as the comics are concerned, just never really impressed me much. I admit I’m more of a fan of his cinematic portrayal than the ‘90s era comic run. And the dude was beaten by Squirrel Girl. That’s just hilarious.

As I got older I began reading more DC and thanks to Watchmen, Killing Joke, Dark Knight Returns, and Death of Superman enough of my interest was piqued that I’m still collecting comics today.

I’m more of a retro Marvel fan, meaning my favorite era is certainly the ‘90s when Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane were part of the artistic team.

Fuck sake McFarlane made Lizard and Hobgoblin Hellishly awesome! Not to mention Venom!

As a fan, I’ve seen Thanos reinvented on the silver screen and I applaud it. Amazing stuff, seeing the Avengers assemble and come to life to battle the Mad Titan was a treat!

But, also, as a fan, I cannot wait to see Snyder’s original vision of the Justice League finally take off and bring me Darkseid at long last!

It’s an event I’ve waited for for a very long time.

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Our heroes are now brought to life! And with them a host of challenging super villains. Whatever side you find yourself on don’t let fandom divide us. We’re a family and just as our comic publishers crossed over for fun there’s nothing wrong with loving both sides or having a side you favor.

For goodness sake Thanos got beaten by Squirrel Girl! I just found out about that and holy shit I love it. It’s little things like that that keep me smiling.

It’s a mean world out there and if heroes taught us anything it’s to stand (strong) together.

The Joker – Iconic Moments of Mayhem And Madness That Define The Clown Prince of Crime!

The life and crimes of Gotham’s number one threat, the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker, are the stuff of darkly splendid legends. His perchance for mayhem and murder truly knows no bounds as he cuts at the heart of everything culture is built upon.

Be it comic books, cartoons, video games, or movies Joker sits enthroned as the greatest fictoinal villain of all time.

image via DC comics

Joker has won over generations of fans by his diabolical whimsy and carelessness for human life.

To him, it’s all a bad joke, all of it. Everything in life is a gag and he’s gonna make people suffer for it.

image via DC comics

He makes us laugh while disgusting us at the same time. He can slam a man’s eye straight into a pencil and we’re left in shock. Then we applaud him.

He’s a murderer, a mass murderer, and he’s able to use anything he can get his hands on to spill blood.

He’s playful and he’s homicidal. There’s nothing and no one out there like him.

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His trail of multiple massacres runs deep and as far back as his earliest days. Not to mention unlike many other rogues, he continually is reinventing himself and scaring the Hell out of us (Love That Joker) in the process.

This list is a combination of only a few of the definitive (diabolical) moments that stand out in his career of crime.

image via DC comics

Crimes, cruelty, and carnage are all on the menu so pray the Bat is on the prowl as we enter Gotham’s seedy underbelly to follow Joker’s blood trail.

When Joker Killed Robin

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If Joker has one driving goal it’s to prove that Batman is no better than himself. In Joker’s mind, Batman just hasn’t realized it yet so he pushes the Dark Knight to his limits hoping to break him.

Back in 1988 Joker took things too far by even his own standards in Batman: Death in the Family. This time around Joker beat Robin to a oozing pulp with a crowbar then left him to bleed out on the floor with only the tick-tick-tick of a time bomb to sing the Boy Wonder his final lullaby.

Now, this is sick but I’ve recently learned that originally Joker was going to rape Robin before beating his head into human mashed potatoes. Given the fact that Robin was a minor at the time really ups the creep factor on this one. And…well who knows what happened off-panel?

This mournful event is felt to this very day. It recently served as the catalyst for Rocksteady’s outstanding Arkham Knight, the conclusion to their highly successful Arkham videogames trilogy.

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Naturally, there is so much more lore surrounding the murder of Jason Todd and maybe one day I’ll devote a review to the storyline, but suffice it, for now, to say it changed and increased the Batman mythos.

Gassing Gotham

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This always stood out to me ever since I was young. In BATMAN (1989) Jack Nicholson takes on the character’s role with impish flair.

Towards the end of the film, Joker’s managed to collect mobs of Gotham’s citizens into narrow streets under the pretense of tossing 20-million dollars at them. Their greed overrules common sense and they gather in the hundreds cheering the man planning to murder each one of them.

Getting a little bit more than they bargained for though their lungs are soon filled with lethal doses of Smylex Gas, the poisonous cocktail handmade by Joker himself to leave the city dead on their feet. Get it? HAHAHAHA!

But during the whole thing, Joker is laughing! Laughing as he slays hundreds of innocent people.

Not to mention that during the entire film he’s trying to steal Batman’s girl, a thing my girlfriend thought was just dastardly.

But yeah that parade scene always stood out to me. Left a heavy impression on my eight-year old mind and clearly summed up what kind of character the Joker was. And to be frank I really loved it a lot.

Crippling Batgirl …And Other Things

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Joker’s always targeted those closest to his foes. In this case, he was aiming for Commissioner Gordon by targeting his daughter but, in the process, (and unknowingly) left a bullet lodged in Batgirl’s spine.

As shown in Alan Moore’s seminal story The Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon simply answers a knock at the door and ends up shot. The scene is so simple and truly upsetting. She’s not wearing her Batgirl costume, she’s not in a darkened alleyway, not even out on the streets of Gotham.

She’s home where she should have been safe.

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Joker just walks up to the Gordons’ front door and knocks. He could have been the little old neighbor lady down the hall or girls selling some mother fucking girl-scout cookies.

Anyone, it coulda been anyone, but it was the Joker. Gun locked and loaded in his hand and a big smile on his face.

He then strips her naked and takes photo after photo of her bleeding nude body to later rub in her father’s face. Talk about cruel.

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Might as well add this too: know how I mentioned that originally Joker was going to rape Robin? Well, Batgirl was crippled and left naked for God knows however long with Joker and his sadism. So….yeah…

Babies and Bullets

Joker had it in for Jim Gordon. He shot the poor man’s daughter and then shot his wife.

Jim’s daughter recovered, his wife wasn’t so lucky. But how he went about killing the woman! So she catches him – waiting – with an armful of babies.

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She’s got a gun but now faces a terrible human dilemma. She can’t shoot the man while he’s holding babies.

Seeing her distress – and since his soul is a rotted plumb core – he throws babies at her! While she’s busy, ya know, catching flying babies Joker takes the opportunity to shoot the woman dead.

I think the most shocking moment, in this case, is seeing babies crawling all over the dead woman’s body.

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You Get What You Fucking Deserve!

More recently Joaquin Phoenix followed in Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s steps and donned the big red smile to wow fans and audiences with his Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker. This film broke records and floored me as a life-long fan. I would be remiss for not bringing it up.

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Early on in the film, Joker makes his first strike when shooting three Wayne-Enterprise employees. True, they were beating him on the subway and it’s arguable he acted in self-defense. That could be said for the first two he shot at least. The third he chases down and shoots in cold blood.

Realizing what he’s done he flees the scene to get as far away as possible. Once he has a moment to himself and is allowed to think about what he’s done – and how three young men are dead now thanks to his hands – he doesn’t show remorse or any regret for what he’s done.

Instead, he dances. He dances as if he’s finally been liberated. And it’s all thanks to violence.

via Warner Bros.

I was sitting in the theater thinking ‘Yeah! That’s exactly what I’d expect out of him.’ He might as well have danced on their graves.

Everything He Does in The Dark Knight Returns, Man

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It’s no secret I’ve got a boner for this comic. It’s my number 1 favorite Batman story and I’ve had to buy the TPB twice because of reading it the death.

Frank Miller is why I love Batman to this very day. He took Batman out of the camp and returned him to the shadows.

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Maybe someday I’ll do a review on that storyline – because Lord knows there’s so much to explore in it – but for now, suffice it to say Joker steals every single scene he’s in.

From the moment he breaks out of his comatose state at the mere mention that The Bat is back out of retirement (‘Darling,’ anyone?) to his lifeless body in the tunnel of love Joker manipulates and murders his way to a finale that is nothing short of FUCK YEAH AWESOME!

image via DC comics

He goes on Letterman and kills the whole audience. He sells poisoned cotton candy to boy scouts. And yes, they die. He takes a Batarang to the eye and still fights. The maniac pushes the Bat and pushes him, and pushes him until Batman almost loses himself and snaps the clown’s neck. He stops himself though proving how unbreakable he truly is.

Joker goes ahead and snaps his own neck and dies side-by-side next to his Darling Bat. Laughing with his last breath as he does so.

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I love every moment of it.

Attacking Gotham At It’s Very Soul

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What can honestly be added to the searing portrayal of the character by the late Heath Ledger? Ledger makes The Dark Knight what it is and posthumously won an Oscar for the coveted role of Joker.

His Joker was unlike anything we were prepared to see. A ghoulish Hellknight bent on proving that deep down everyone was just as ugly as himself.

image via Warner Bros.

He calls himself an agent of chaos and earns the title fairly. The movie begins with him leaving a trail of chaos in his wake and the madness he inspires doesn’t slow down. He’s like a supernatural force sent to destroy all that Gotham stands on.

He marks newly appointed DA Harvey Dent, breaks the man’s soul – while breaking the Batman’s heart – and brings Dent down to his own level.

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An action done solely to prove a point. To prove that no one, not even Gotham’s shining White Knight, is above corruption. All it takes is a little push to shove anyone over the edge and into pure madness.

In destroying Dent’s reputation Joker is pulling the heart out of Gotham’s chest.

And he does it with a smile that can never go away.

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His favorite weapon? People’s paranoia. He masterfully turns everyday people against one another and once he sets the dominos a fallin’ sits back to watch the (world burn) show.

RIP Heath. We miss the Hell outta ya.

Mad Love

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What can make a beautiful young woman in her prime turn away from a prominent career in psychology to a life of crime? Love for the wrong man, or so it was for Harleen Quinzel. Joker played her like a fiddle and brought her down to his demented level.

One version has him throwing her into a similar acid dip that (supposedly) made him what he is today.

In another, she willingly drops herself into the chemical bath to come out as the newly christened Harley Quinn, Joker’s little creation. His very own Eve.

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It’s questionable if she enjoys the life of crime or if she only did it out of devotion to her Puddin. It’s easier to accept that she is enjoying herself otherwise hers is a life of tragedy deeper than originally believed.

Her smile is only skin deep and weakly hides the life of pain and abuse that she’s suffered at the vicious hands of the Joker.

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And her loyalty to the man was incredible. So much so that she stood ready to let him cut her pretty face off – just for kicks – in Death of the Family.

Broken in mind, in body, and in her heart she gave up everything for the (mad)man she loved.

It’s amazing that she was originally created to just be a sidekick for the Joker and only first appeared on the Batman Animated Series.

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She quickly rose as a fan favorite and today has her own comic line and her very own movie. So what if it’s a horrible film, we got a Harley movie! That’s a big step up for a little sidekick character.

The Batman Who Laughs

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Again this is very recent but I can’t help but feel nostalgic over this one already. What I mean is it’s like those great moments back when we were young comic readers and they’d release something so epic we just knew it was going to be timeless.

I feel that way over DC’s Batman: Dark Knights Metal where we are introduced to the Dark Multiverse.

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DC fans will know all about the Multiverse and how it’s played into Crisis storylines over the years. For many fans Crisis on Infinite Earths was a huge game changer and left them howling for more.

Metal did that for me too. It introduced a brand new Crisis story and it was darker than it’s ever been. If the Multiverse is made of matter the Dark Multiverse is made of dark matter. Anything and everything that could go horrifically wrong can and will do so. It’s hellbent to happen.

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In DKM we’re shown Negative Earths where Batman is forced to face his worst nightmares leaving him no choice outside of desperation. This is how the Batman Who Laughs is made.

They say killers aren’t born they’re created. That at least is true in this case.

Joker finally goes too far and the age-long question is answered: what would happen if Batman killed Joker?

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Snapping Joker’s neck releases a lethal dose of his toxin – a toxin cleverly hidden in his body and can only be activated once his heart stops – which is inhaled by Batman. It’s just enough to infect the Dark Knight and there’s no curing this one.

This is exactly how Joker planned it.

What we’re given is a Hellish fusion of the two characters: all the brains and brawn of the Bat and the evil cunning and heartlessness of the Joker.

The Batman Who Laughs has a lifetime of both memories, knows both men’s inner secrets, their weaknesses, and proves to be the most violent challenge the Justice League has ever met.

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Worlds fall by his hands as he makes his way through the Negative Earths to find his way into ours. Our world only infuriates him, or, at least, it would if it wasn’t all so goddamn funny! All the chances we have that he was denied back on his calamity earth. The last moment God-sends that save us on a daily basis. Little things that were not made ready to him.

It feeds whatever void he has churning in his lost soul.

So he comes to introduce his way of life to us all. And he has an army of Dark Knights at his command and the power of a Demon backing him.

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The moment that made this character for me was during a fight he had with Batman. “You know what your downfall is, Bruce?” he says through his ghoulish grin. “You think you’re fighting him, but you’re not. It’s you in here.”

That’s my interpretation of the event at least.

And he doesn’t come off as merely a rehashed ‘evil batman’ kind of character either, nor does he feel like Joker 2.0.

image via DC comics

Despite the fact that he’s both characters combined he genuinely feels like his own person. He’s not restrained by being of two minds, in fact, I swear, he’s liberated from them and is his own devil. And he looks like something crawled out of Clive Barker’s kind of Hell.

You’d also think he’d be a one-hit-wonder kinda baddie but he’s already starred in two massive Crisis storylines (Dark Knights Metal, Dark Knights Death Metal) and had his own title story.

Out of all the great many evil things Joker has done I – and bear in mind I’m a life-long fan of the comics and all their incarnations – truly think the Batman Who Laughs is his greatest act of evil.

We’re given a glimpse of a Batman – the legend and the hero we all grew up believing in and loving – who is truly and forever lost without any hope of redemption. One thing that’s been paramount to the Bat’s mythos is his indestructible ability to rise above anything that’s thrown at him.

Batman’s that kid who saw his parents killed in front of him. That tragedy made him train his mind and body to fight for justice and make sense out of a painful world. He’s buried plenty of loved ones since then and had to pull himself out of a wheel chair to don the cape and cowl and bring good back to Gotham.

Point being: nothing has ever being able to take the Bat out. No matter how bad it was. He always rose to the occasion and triumphed over the odds.

But this time Joker really got him. And gave us a Batman who’s lost his soul.

Setting this beast loose didn’t just destroy the world, oh no. This thing isn’t a world killer, he’s a universe slayer. And he’s fucking great at it! It’s not like he wants to rule them. He just wants to see them all burn.

Ultimately the entirety of DC’s comics changed forever after the final conflict with this villain (Death Metal). That’s the hideous strength of this character and partially why he’s become an instant fan favorite.

So that’s it! This is in no way a complete listing and I know there is still plenty out there that wasn’t covered here. We just don’t have enough hours in the day to list all the classic moments from Joker’s criminal career.

These are, however, my personal favorite ones over the years. I strongly suggest watching and reading all the material listed here.

But let us know in the comments below if you’d like more content just like this. A Part 2 or maybe another favorite villain’s list? As always I’m Manic Exorcism and keep checking in here at Nightmare Nostalgia for continual doses of the good ol’ times.

The Death Of Superman – Retrospective of The Impact A Comic Had On Culture!

The Man of Steel Was Going To Die(?) 

image courtesy of DC

I have this vivid memory of it. I was outside playing in the backyard when my mom came rushing out to find me. ‘They’re going to kill Superman,’ she said. ‘It’s on the news. Hurry up and come see.’

I dropped my toys and flew indoors. I hadn’t missed anything, and, yup, it was all over the news. Superman was going to die.

That’s all I got from the report and something inside me grew very sad. Images of Christopher Reeves and a flowing red cape captivated my young imagination. In one instance I could see the world’s greatest superhero soaring across the sky as people clapped and cheered. The next, a silent coffin with the Last Son of Krypton resting forevermore. 

image courtesy of DC

It was sobering. No, it was something more than that, and even still to this day, and though I’m a writer, I still cannot correctly identify what it was I felt. I was young and my world was safe. I had my imagination that was brought to life with my love of heroes, monsters, and the villains they had to face. In the end, the heroes always won, but, if Superman could die that meant no one was safe any more. 

It meant life was fragile if even the strongest among us could die. 

How Can You Kill Superman?

image courtesy of DC

I guess that’s the billion-dollar question, isn’t it? A mystery Lex Luthor and his ilk have been trying to crack since the Golden Age of comics. Nothing worked though. Despite all the masterful cunning, the tireless strategies, the weapons, the traps, and the attempts Superman always pulled through. He was the shining example to all kids that good would always win the day. 

Superman enjoyed a lifetime of success.

image courtesy of DC

In the earliest days, George Reeves stunned young audiences as he donned a cape and brought Superman from the comic pages to serial episodes. Then, decades later, another Reeves would put on the cape and made a whole new generation of fans believe a man could fly with Dick Donner’s cinematic triumph, Superman! The first successful superhero movie and the standard by which all other comic adaptations would learn from. 

Comic books, radio shows, TV specials, and the big screen all proved that Kal-El was unstoppable. Nothing could hold him back, no bar could block him, and no one stood a chance at defeating him. 

image courtesy of DC

Or so we all thought. Superman wasn’t even my favorite superhero, but I did love him, even if I was more of a fan of the Bat of Gotham. But with the news of Superman’s coming end, I finally started buying his comics. I could not miss this! 

Making the Kryptonian Human

Superman was enjoying a revival of interest among fans between the ‘80s and ‘90s. Writers at DC decided to make Superman a more relatable character, someone who grew up among us and deeply related to us in every way. This was not just an alien from far away. But a country boy from Kansas. The trick was making the character stay true to his dual identities while being honest with the people he loved. 

image courtesy of DC

The first – and frankly biggest step made by the character throughout his entire legacy – was when Clark Kent, mild-mannered, soft-spoken, and loveable dork finally revealed his secret identity to the love of his life, Lois Lane. That alone was huge news and there would be no going back from it. 

This, in turn, led the writing team to prepare for the only logical next step in Superman’s life – his wedding day. After Lois Lane learned Clark’s identity the two were even closer than ever before. She could finally open up and admit her love for both men she loved, Superman and Clark, who, lucky for her, were the exact same person. 

The dual nature of Clark Kent and Kal-El – one of the fundamental principles of the character since the very beginning – was at long last being reconsidered and, as Superman allowed people to get closer to him, the façade was being lowered and Superman was becoming more personable, more human.

He was becoming much more relatable and far more vulnerable than he’d ever been for decades.

image courtesy of DC

Clark could not go on lying to the woman he loved and trusting her with the truth of his identity made the two inseparable. And readers were drawn to the character like never before. 

So plans for the wedding were laid in place. It was to be a week-to-week storyline that would fill an entire year. Things were looking good until the producers of the then hit TV show, Lois and Clark, met with the DC writing team and put a halt to the planned nuptials. 

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman planned to end the show with the two characters being married. Which meant the producers weren’t thrilled about DC’s comic book plans to marry the two off before the show could run it’s own course. Superman’s wedding would have to wait.

image courtesy of DC

That crashed DC’s plans for a whole year and a brand new story arch had to be written up and told and fast!

“Let’s Just Kill ‘im” – Jerry Ordway

What was said out of frustration during one of their many brainstorming sessions actually caught on and one by one the team thought about the possibility and nodded in agreement. “Yeah, let’s kill ‘im” and the most impactful comic story began to take shape. 

This wouldn’t be the first time Superman died or was supposed to be dying. But there was something exceptional about this particular story.

First of all, it had to do with all the characters now so connected to Superman’s life, people who now had a whole lot to lose with the death of their hero, their friend, their son, and their lover. This time around Superman had a human heart, one we all felt. One that would break all of ours if it suddenly stopped beating. 

It’s been said that up until this storyline there were some absolutes. Lois Lane was untouchable, Metropolis could never be destroyed, and Superman was forever. With this one storyline though DC proved that nothing in life is certain and even our strongest heroes (fictional or no) can be laid to rest. 

image courtesy of DC

It’s incredible to think but the Death of Superman taught myself – and many other kids like me – not only the fragility of life but how very precious it was. And that we need to love and uphold goodness and those who stand for justice. 

Doomsday Was Coming

What could kill Superman?

image courtesy of DC

That was my initial question. Was Lex Luthor going to trap Superman in a pit of Kryptonite? That’s what I assumed. There were some cool rogues out there who presented a challenge for the Man of Steel but no one could kill him. 

So DC created Superman’s greatest threat to date.

Enter Doomsday, a fierce creature from the cosmos who was power incarnate. Something that was a malignant force of chaotic nature. Unstoppable and a beast that could not be reasoned with. Without rationality or morality; a horror that could take down the Justice League without breaking a sweat.

Superman’s very own Doomsday. 

image courtesy of DC

The very first image of this beast was of his fist thrusting (DOOM!), punching (DOOM!), crushing (DOOM!) a gnarled path through enforced metallic layers and forcing himself into our world.

The very first thing he does once he’s freed is crush a little sweet birdie who made the mistake of landing in the monster’s open hand.

image courtesy of DC

This guy was something else, something unlike anything brought to the Superman saga. Doomsday had no warmth and was without feeling.

He proceeded to threaten the quiet countryside and pushed his way to a more populated area: Metropolis. 

He left a trail of massacre and pain wherever he went.

image courtesy of DC

This was the first time fans ever saw Superman meet a challenge he wasn’t sure he could defeat. And it was absolutely brilliant! I remember hearing something Dick Donner said about hiring Gregory Peck for the lead role in The Omen. Donner said that if a serious actor like Charlton Hesston (his original casting choice) or Gregory Peck gets scared on screen it will scare the audience.

He was right and it applied heavily (even) on a motionless comic page. Seeing Superman scared that maybe he might not be able to save the city from this monstrosity really left an impact on readers. 

image courtesy of DC

People who criticized the Man of Steel film for its scenes of vast devastation across Metropolis clearly did not read Death of Superman.

The fight between Superman and Doomsday was full-page page-turners of little dialogue spoken and just a slugfest of two calamity forces, one of good and the other of destruction, fighting to the death. 

image courtesy of DC

This was a battle of two gods of equal strength and opposing purposes. Windows shattered and glass poured down like a storm when these two punched each other.

The city was cracked and half of it in ruins as its savior bled and struggled to keep it safe. 

image courtesy of DC

Superman tried to take the battle to the sky to avoid any further destruction, and, for a while, it worked. But Doomsday pressed the fight back to the city streets. 

Superman was in a losing battle and as he struggled to catch his breath he made a decision, and really it was the only one left to him. That thing had to die.

image courtesy of DC

It was a choice that cost Earth’s mightiest superhero his life. He fought to the end, slew his foe, and breathed his last breath in Lois Lane’s arms. 

Superman actually died and people mourned.  

The Legacy of Death of Superman

It was the best selling comic book of all time. People wrapped around street corners just to get their hands on a copy. Comic shops were overwhelmed and stores couldn’t carry enough copies.

People pressed through the doors and tore open the comic – while waiting in line to check out – because they just had to know what was going to happen! 

We were witnessing nothing short of a phenomenon at work.

The first day it was on the market comic shops around the nation were selling ten-thousand copies each! That was just the first day and it did not slow down. Not for months. 

Fans who had not picked up a comic in years were now in line to buy this story. People who never once opened a comic a day in their lives were suddenly grabbing handfuls of them.

The Death of Superman shook people, but, more importantly, it united people. It created a new wave of fandom that flowed forth to bring generations together.

It made me a Superman fan and I’ve stayed one ever since. The death of Superman breathed fresh new life to the industry and laid down a new foundation that comic writers and screenwriters alike adhere to still. 

As I said before this wasn’t the first time Kal-El had died but it was for sure the most iconic time and became the criteria of comic-book legends. It prepared a way for other superheroes to meet their end and suffer in triumph.

It led to an equally iconic storyline for the Batman in Knightfall, Captain America was killed in the comic book events of Marvel’s Civil War, and even the current Last Ronin (TMNT) is gleaning the rewards from the Death of Superman formula. 

The Death of Superman is timeless and has been retold (twice) in animated form as well as (SPOILERS!) in Batman vs. Superman that brought Doomsday to the big screen.

via Warner Bros.

Not to mention the film logo for the upcoming Snyder Cut of the Justice League is straight up the Death of Superman banner. I can’t wait to see that film and the legend of the Superman continue on. 

Superman survived the grave and lives on to this day. The story of his death continued on with Funeral For A Friend and Reign of the Superman. I strongly advise picking up TPB copies of them each and reliving the days of youth.

Warner Bros. turned the iconic story into two amazing animated films (as aforementioned) that are definitely worth your time. I’ve already mentioned Snyder’s Justice League but I love Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman which retell this classic legend of heroic sacrifice. 

image via Warner Bros.

Don’t let sour critics ruin good entertainment for you. Superman lives and remains the glowing example of the best in all of us.