In honor of our month long celebration of all things Star Wars, guest blogger Mitch Cooper returns for another comparison of the DC Comics and Star Wars universes. Today’s question: the Joker or Darth Vader, who is the baddest man in the whole da*n town?
One served at the side of an evil Sith emperor to oppress galaxies. The other serves no one but his narcissistic, maniacal self. Both are deadly, but who is more bad to the bone?
There are few superhero villains as infamous as the Joker. No matter which adaptation of the comic or movie, he is as sick and twisted as they come, constantly battling Batman and trying to burn Gotham to the ground.
There has never been a confirmed background regarding who he is exactly, but the origin of the Joker is usually the same: a sociopath who becomes obsessed with killing Batman, he falls into a vat of chemicals, changing his skin and hair color and creating one of the most sadistic sociopaths in DC Comics history.
While some backstories mention that the Joker was a normal person with a job, wife and baby, there is almost no rendition of his story that shows that the person he becomes has any emotions, feelings or sympathies. The closest he comes to companionship is with Harley Quinn, his doting loyal follower. Even then, he treats her like a stray dog (which, for whatever reason, only deepens her love for him).
The Joker needs no reason to kill. While he has absolutely insane schemes to bring Gotham to its knees, and Batman to his grave, he will not blink to murder anyone, unless they could be some use to him. Even then, once his needs are met, they’re dead. Not only does he kill ruthlessly, he does it while laughing and sporting a nightmarish (and chemically scarred) smile on his face.
Undeniably, he has no shred of humanity or hint of a soul.
Planets, rebels and even his own subjects quiver at the mention of his name. There is no doubt that Darth Vader is one of the most ruthless Sith lords in the Star Wars universe. He will punish any man who crosses him by simply crushing their larynx with the slight movement of his hand. His rage and delusions even led him to murder his own wife, almost killing his unborn children.
After falling under the spell of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (soon-to-be emperor), he slayed countless younglings in the Jedi temple, leading the clone army to destroy the Jedi order. His treachery led to the murder of one of his masters, Mace Windu, and would eventually strike down his longtime friend and mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Donning a red lightsaber, Vader’s intimidation stems from his towering physical presence, deep, gravelly voice with his signature breathing sounds and his menacing black mask that has become synonymous with the Dark Side.
The winner: The Joker
While there is no doubt Darth Vader would destroy the Joker in a fight, there was a reason Luke Skywalker told his father, “There is good in you; I can feel it.”
At the end of his life, Darth Vader, returning to the once-good man Anakin Skywalker, throws Palpatine off of the bridge and into the bowels of the Death Star. Luke was right; there was good in him. The story ended well for Luke and Anakin and the prodigal son returned to his rightful place, next to Obi-Wan and Yoda in ghost form.
But there is no such ending for the Joker. There is no capability for love or redemption for him. Any sign of such is a lie to push his psychotic plans ahead. No, the only happy ending possible in a story with his presence is his death or unending incarceration, far from human contact. Doctors have tried to save him, to bring him back from the brink of complete lunacy, but any progress was a ploy to escape and continue his rampage of murder and vengeance against Batman.
Yes, we all love the happy ending of Darth Vader finding redemption. But when it comes to ultimate evil, the Joker wins “hands down.”
Editor’s note: Are you enjoying the “vs” columns such as this one and “Batman vs. Boba Fett“? We’re considering adding them as permanent feature of Meeple Moments. Let us know what you think, hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!