Without exact numbers, intelligence is always a subjective thing that you can assess from different perspectives. You might consider a person smarter because he’s a better investigator, or because he’s a better inventor, or because of something else. The point is – it’s very difficult to give an exact evaluation. But, since we’ve done it before with Batman and Iron Man, we decided to repeat it, this time with Batman and his archenemy, The Joker.
We think that Batman might just be a bit smarter than Joker. Despite causing much trouble for Batman, the Dark Knight has consistently foiled the Crown Prince of Crime’s plans, which is why we think he’s better in this category.
DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and many others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
Who is Batman?
Batman is probably one of the most famous (if not the most famous) comic book character in history. The stories about Gotham City’s Dark Knight have been popular for decades now and have created a multimedia franchise consisting of movies, TV shows, video games and a lot of other merchandise. But, who is Batman?
Batman is the secret superhero alter ego of Bruce Wayne, a billionaire playboy based in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is the owner of Wayne Enterprises, a successful company based in Gotham City and is the heir of the Wayne estate. He lives alone in Wayne Manor, on the outskirts of Gotham, with his butler and trusted friend, Alfred Pennyworth.
Wayne’s life has been defined by a tragedy he had witnessed as a child. Namely, one night Bruce went to the movies with his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. His father decided to take a shortcut through an alley after exiting the theatre, but he did not know that an unknown mugger was standing there, waiting for his prey. The mugger attacked and ultimately killed both Thomas and Martha Wayne, but spared the life of young Bruce, who was left to the care of Alfred Pennyworth. The mystery of his parents’ murder played an important role in Bruce Wayne’s life and was a key fact in his decision to become the vigilante Batman.
Believing that criminals are a “a cowardly and superstitious lot“, Bruce Wayne decided to put on Batman’s cowl, taking inspiration for the name and the design from a childhood experience with bats.
Frank Miller’s important Batman: Year One comic book depicts Batman’s beginnings as a vigilante in Gotham and since that moment, he has become a symbol of Gotham City and a name used with fear among the city’s criminals. While fighting regular villains and members of his Rogue’s Gallery, Batman has also tried to solve the murder of his parents, ultimately finding out that they were killed by a street criminal named Joe Chill.
The Batman mythos has grown with time and with it also Batman, who has evolved from a solitary vigilante to the leader of the Batman family (or Batfamily), which includes several other superheroes like Batgirl, Batwoman, former Robins Nightwing, Red Robin, Spoiler and others. Currently, Batman is aided by his son Damian Wayne (his mother is Talia al-Ghul, Ra’s al-Ghul’s daughter), who is also the fifth and incumbent Robin.
Batman has been present in other media, as well as in the comic books. The first major adaptation was the 1960s camp TV show starring Adam West, after which there have been several animated adaptations. An important event was Tim Burton’s 1989 movie starring Michael Keaton, that launched a film series during the 1990s. In the same period, Paul Dini created Batman: The Animated Series where Batman was voiced by Kevin Conroy; the show gained a cult following and is generally praised as one of the best adaptations of Batman ever. Christopher Nolan revitalised the movies with his Dark Knight trilogy. Batman is currently a part of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), DC’s response to the lucrative Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Who is The Joker?
The Joker is a fictional supervillain appearing in stories published by DC Comics, primarily as the archenemy of the superhero Batman. One of the most enigmatic DC Comics characters, The Joker debuted in Batman #1 (1940) and was created Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson.
Joker’s story is full of questions and question marks. His true identity was never revealed, yet he is one of Batman’s oldest enemies. He was initially a gimmick supervillain but evolved with time to become – undoubtedly – the most twisted, crazy supervillain in Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery.
The funny thing (pun intended) about Joker is that his story is still a complete mystery. Even after 80 years, we still don’t know his true identity, despite some derivative materials actually giving him a name and a well-defined backstory. His origin – i.e., the one generally accepted as being correct – includes him, dressed as the criminal Red Hood, falling into a chemical vat that permanently bleached his skin and turned his hair green, but also giving him a complete psychotic break and turning the John Doe into The Joker. A variation of this story was presented in Alan Moore’s cult classic comic book The Killing Joke.
Being Batman’s archenemy, the Joker has developed a very deep bond with the Dark Knight, often going to unbelievable lengths with his plans, just so he could push his opponent to his limits. Joker’s ideal vision would be to break Batman mentally, either by making him murder or by causing a psychotic break similar to his own.
He was heavily featured in derivative material, including movies, TV shows, animation and video games. On the big screen, he was portrayed by Cesar Romero, then Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto (sadly). Another iconic interpretation is Mark Hamill’s voice role from Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman: Arkham video game series. Joker’s mystery might just be revealed in Geoff Johns’ Three Jokers, where it is going to be explained that there were actually three different Jokers, but we’ll have to see how that narrative actually works out.
Joker’s intelligence – is he smarter than Batman?
The question of Joker’s intelligence is a burning one among DC fans. Namely, the Clown Prince of Crime is usually described as a criminal mastermind, able to come up with the most complicated plots and plans. This is a very interesting thing to know because Joker is a complete madman, but he doesn’t let his psychopathology affect his intelligence.
Joker’s exact IQ is not known, just like Batman’s, which is why it is difficult to compare them. During the years, Joker has proven himself to be extremely intelligent and a complete match for Batman in that aspect. His plans were often quite elaborate, including a lot of manpower and diversions, as to cause as many problems as possible for the Dark Knight. Just remember his plan to poison Gotham’s water supply from The Man Who Laughs, his kidnapping and murder of Jason Todd from “A Death in the Family”, his revenge plot from Joker, his plan to murder the Bat-family from “Death of the Family”, and his great finishing move from “Endgame”. Other Batman villains were rarely so advanced in their planning, which is why Joker was always a feared opponent in the franchise, even among much stronger characters from other franchises, like Lex Luthor or Darkseid. Why? Simple – his madness and his extreme intelligence make him completely unpredictable, which is why most characters actually fear him.
As for Batman, he has proven himself to be the “World’s Greatest Detective”. He is also extremely intelligent, and in addition to that he has a wide knowledge in several fields, such as criminology, psychology and criminal psychology, forensic sciences and other specific fields, but he also has a good classical education, as he certainly knows much more about arts, history, politics and other similar fields than most other characters. Although he relies heavily on his gadgets, Batman is known to have cracked difficult cases just by using his brain and his detective skills. From his point of view, he possesses a wider array of knowledge and more experience.
But who’s smarter?
This question will probably never get a clear-cut answer that everyone is going to agree with. Joker is without a doubt one of the most intelligent supervillains in comic book history, which is what makes him so dangerous. On the other hand, Batman has proven himself to be a worthy opponent of the Clown Prince of Crime. The Joker certainly has outsmarted Batman on several occasions, but that was usually during his schemes, since Joker had a head start of knowing his plans sooner than Batman. But, in the end, it was Batman that came out as the victor in most cases. Joker did kill Jason Todd (but that was really the readers’ fault), but he never poisoned Gotham’s water supply, he never killed the Bat-family, nor did he Jokerize the whole city. He succeeded only when Batman was not directly involved, but when Batman actively pursued him, the Joker would up being defeated.
This is why we think Batman has a slight advantage in this aspect, although the two are pretty similar in terms of intelligence.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!