Batman had numerous awesome enemies over the years, including The Penguin, The Riddler, and many others. However, it’s safe to say that the Joker and Bane top them all. There’s a reason why they’re the most popular Batman supervillains, but who would win in a fight, Bane or Joker?
If it came down to a fistfight, Bane would destroy the Joker very easily. However, given any prep time or strategy, the Joker would defeat Bane without a doubt. They both have brilliant minds, but the Joker is just too unpredictable and lacks Bane’s morals.
That being said, both Bane and Joker have some spectacular abilities, and it wouldn’t be a purely one-sided battle. Many things would play a role in determining the winner, so let’s see what they got before jumping to conclusions.
Joker And His Powers
The Joker is one of the oldest Batman bad guys ever. He first appeared in Batman #1 in 1940, created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. First, he was portrayed as a crazy criminal mastermind before being toned down to a mischievous prankster in the ‘50s.
Later, he regained his somewhat hardcore characteristics and abilities, making him a brutal yet highly popular Batman supervillain. But, apart from being clinically insane, what can the Joker do that makes him such a potent threat to Bruce Wayne and the entire Gotham City?
Expert manipulator & strategist
Above all his skills, what makes the Joker so malevolent is his spectacular manipulative skills. His influence on people is so toxic, they all eventually either go mad or go bad, following him and listening to his command.
He manipulated his psychiatrist, Harley Quinn, into falling in love with him and getting him out of Arkham Asylum. He always has brilliant plans to escape, manipulate, or defeat his opponents by tricking them into his traps.
That also witnesses his superior intellect. Although he was mentally ill, he proved on countless occasions he could even outsmart Bruce Wayne, who’s known to have an IQ level close to 200.
I know this sounds preposterous – how can being a sociopath be somebody’s power? Well, because lack of morals, ethics, or empathy makes Joker capable of doing just about anything, including killing, torture, or whatever he needs to meet his goals.
Unlike Batman, who has high morals and ethics, and a strict no-kill policy, the Joker wouldn’t care if he wiped out half of Gotham City if he believed it’d get him what he wants. He also feels no pain (or at least doesn’t acknowledge it) and no fear whatsoever – not even Scarecrow’s fear toxin has any effect on the Joker – he just laughs it off and says, “Boo.”
If you’re a superhero, being a sociopath is a very bad thing. But, if you’re a supervillain, being an insane sociopath kind of becomes a superpower.
Chemical expertise and toxin immunity
Before becoming the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker was a chemical expert working at a plant, where he eventually fell into chemicals and got his specific looks, including the pale skin and the huge red grin.
To go with his chemical knowledge, he’s also an expert nuclear engineer, and he performed numerous tests on himself and has quite a long history of substance abuse.
Not only did it make him even better at chemistry, but it also gave him immunity to toxins while making his blood toxic at the same time.
Ultimately, he uses that chemistry knowledge to create deadly weapons and props, including acid flowers, gas bombs, etc.
Bane And His Powers
Bane is one of my favorite supervillains ever, as he’s definitely one of Batman’s biggest rivals and threats. First appearing in 1993’s Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1, he’s a combination of extraordinary, superhuman strength and phenomenal intellect. Let’s dive deeper to see what got him the nickname “The Man That Broke The Bat.”
Superhuman physical attributes
Bane was a convict who escaped from an island prison in South America. He was born in prison to serve his father’s life sentence since he was a baby. Due to countless experiments on him using derivatives of the drug Venom, he gains superhuman physique, strength, speed, and durability.
His appearance also changed dramatically, making him look more like a monster than a human being. Still, during his youth and time in the prison, he read as much as he could and found tutors in countless areas, making him a genius. He learned how to fight the hard way, trying to survive the hard prison life.
After the experiments, not only did Bane become superhumanly strong, but he was also of a genius-level intellect.
He earned the nickname The Man Who Broke The Bat after being the first enemy that broke Batman physically and mentally. He let virtually every major Batman villain out of Arkham Asylum; the Joker, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, The Riddler, etc. After Batman ran himself to exhaustion, catching them all again, Bane attacked him in the Batcave, breaking his back over one knee.
Bruce Wayne had to step down from the Batman identity for a while, as he was broken physically and mentally.
Fantastic combat skills
Spending his entire life in a brutal island prison made Bane fend for himself since he was a child. Years of incarceration and training made him a deadly martial artist and a highly skilled hand-to-hand fighter.
When you pair those attributes with his superhuman physicality and high intellect, not many comic characters could go head to head with him in a fistfight.
Incredible mind & intelligence
Although he might seem like nothing but a brute, Bane is one of the most intellectually profound characters Batman has ever faced. His mind is set on vengeance most of the time, but he is still a genius.
Apart from being a great tactician, Ra’s al Ghul said he “has a mind equal to the greatest he has known” in Bane of the Demon. In prison, he learned scientific disciplines and knows at least fourteen languages, and he also has an eidetic memory.
He knew who Batman was in little more than a year – something that even the most profound Batman supervillains haven’t been able to do.
Joker Vs. Bane: Who Would Win?
So, we have two world-class criminal masterminds, two separate big armies of followers, and the same thirst to rule over Gotham City, but in completely different ways. The question is, who wins in a potential fight.
Now, if we’re talking about a purely physical one-on-one encounter, Bane would crush the Joker in a second. I mean, he had been depicted to be able to lift 15 tons, so yeah, I think the Joker would be gone instantly.
With that being said, Joker never plays fair, so what would even make him play fair in a hand-to-hand fight against a clearly stronger guy? He would have dozens of tricks up his sleeve, and he would probably decimate Bane before ever getting face-to-face with him – he has that kind of influence in Gotham.
They are both incredibly intelligent and spectacular strategists, but I have to go with the Joker here as well. Not because he’s smarter than Bane, but because he’s completely insane. It makes him way too unpredictable, and even if Bane plans everything out to the best of his capabilities, Joker still has an advantage.
To add to it, Bane does have certain morals and ethics, although he would trump them if necessary. But, he also has empathy and real emotions, unlike the Joker that has none of those things. He sees them all as weaknesses that he could exploit against Bane.
Overall, I think that the Joker would win in any fight against Bane that isn’t purely hand-to-hand combat. He physically defeated the Joker on several occasions (just look at the Batman Detective Comics Shellgame #2 cover – Bane has the Joker planted over his knee, similar to how he broke Batman’s back).
Although The Man That Broke The Bat is a superstrong genius, there’s simply no outwitting the Clown Prince of Crime, especially not in Gotham City. Even if he got into some hand-to-hand battles, the Joker would eventually win the war.