comic books

Batman 37 Discussion: Is the Joker immortal?

Batman 37 joker immortalBatman 37 gave us a Batman who has come into crisis over his mortality, and gave us a Joker who’s immortal? In another fantastic chapter of Endgame, we finally see some real fear in Bruce, brought out by the one guy who knows how to bring out fear the best. So let’s discuss Batman 37 and what the heck is going on with the Joker. (Spoilers for Batman 37 follow)

“Stare back and tell yourself you’re more than a man…he’s just another criminal…You’re bigger than your feelings. Bigger than your body. Your heart, your eyes, you’re Batman”.

Batman to other people has always been more of a myth and legend. Is he human? Is he a vampire? Does he sleep? Eat? He’s always seemed more than human to those who hear about his story. But really, he’s just a man. But to fight the terror that raids through Gotham (on a daily basis) he needed to become more than a man. So he built himself up to become this amazing legend. But then the Joker rolls back into town, gives Bats a huge slap in the face and tells him, you’re nothing more than just a man who can and will die.

What has always been fascinating about the Joker/Batman story, is the parallels you draw from their characters. The parallels often come from ideas of order and chaos, but Batman 37 gave us another one, mortality and immortality.

In Batman 37, the continuation of the Endgame arc continues. Joker has released a seemingly incurable toxin out onto the streets, turning Gotham into complete chaos (but really when is that place not chaotic). Patient zero is being kept at a hospital, that is thought to be haunted because of all the weird tragedy that has occurred in it. As Gordon flips through old newspaper articles about the hospital and it’s tragedies, he sees a familiar face in the background of the images.

batman 37 joker immortalWell it’s none other than the Joker himself! But how can that be? These incidents happened decades ago. Joker being the creepy dude he is, comes out from underneath Gordon’s bed with a bloody axe (remind me to check under my bed before I go to sleep tonight), and of course tries to kill him. But Gordon kills him first! Well that was easy!

Well it’s not. As Gordon breathes a sigh of relief to Batman about what just happened, in the background we see the Joker rise up from the flames, even though we just saw him dead! What is happening??? Is the Joker immortal?

Throughout Batman 37, Bruce continues to reassure himself that he is more than a man, that he can solve this problem. But as the story progresses the Joker reminds Batman that he is just a mortal man, and he’s not going to be able to solve every problem the world chucks at him.

But let’s get back to this whole immortal Joker thing. Is the Joker immortal? No. I think this whole immortal thing is more of a metaphor. The Joker is creating this immortal illusion purely to piss of Batman. To show Batman that he’s so much more than him, that Batman’s whole crusade is meaningless because if you can never kill the Joker, that is the Joker effectively saying, you can never complete your life purpose. You can never keep people safe. Your actions are pointless.

The Joker is pure evil, and he’s definitely showing that in Batman 37. The Joker may not be immortal, but he does know how to put on a show, and completely turn Batman’s life upside down.

Batman 37 joker Interesting note at the end of Batman 37 Joker calls Batman ‘Bruce’. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Joker story where he has called him Bruce. This is just him reminding Bruce that he is just a man. At the beginning of the issue Batman reassures himself that he is more than just a man, he’s Batman. But then at the end of the issue, Joker calls him Bruce and gives him a stark reminder that he is just a man, he’s Bruce.

Batman 37 was another great issue from Snyder and Capullo, and showed us why the Joker will always be Batman’s greatest foe. 

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16 replies »

  1. Nice discussion! What a great issue it was, and wtf, so he keeps coming back throughout history? Surely he isn’t 80-100 years old, but this issue makes you question that. What a strong issue.

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  2. I don’t think the events of “Endgame” are actually happening. I thick it’s a Scarecrow induced illusion. I have my reasons for believing this, most of them centering around Bats rescuing that kid from the theatre. Look at the ticket booth when they come out of the theatre. That’s not even a real booth. And all of Bruce’s worst fears are happening. The JLA becoming like the Joker, Joe Chill returning, Joker knowing he’s Bruce, etc…I don’t think any of it’s real. We shall see.

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  3. In that case, it’ll be interesting to see how all the “dream-like stuff” gets explained…or maybe Snyder is just saying that to not give too much away? Guess we’ll have to stick around and find out.

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  4. I think there’s something else to it. If you look at Snyder’s run on Batman up until now, there’s a pattern emerging.

    “Night Of The Owls” found Bruce Wayne discovering he misread the clues. The Owls were not a myth, they were real… and that put them in charge of the mechanics of Gotham City instead of Wayne/Batman. And with The Owls being able to preserve themselves over time, Batman became the mortal fighting a bigger force.

    “Death Of The Family” followed with Joker trying to strip Batman to his core in order to return the fight to its most basic form. Joker envisions himself as part of a greater force but Bruce only saw Joker as a man obsessed back in Arkham. In the climax, Batman reveals he can be shaken emotionally and it’s those emotions that help hurt the team.

    “Year Zero” flashes back to the beginning to show Batman as a lone man against a greater force — a force so strong that it upheaves all natural order in Gotham City. However, in order to get there, Snyder has to strip away Bruce’s wealth and illusions of immortality.

    “Eternal” is a year-long maxi-series that finds our hero lose every component of his myth once more. He’s got no control, no connection to the police, no mansion, no wealth… it puts Batman basically into the same place he was in “Year Zero” but with the added aspect of the team being rebuilt (in order for them to help prevent Bruce going mad).

    Now, “Endgame” follows the same pattern. Joker’s strike takes away the Justice League and makes Gotham unusable as a tool. Batman’s seeing Joker in the scenes of the past are his psychological building up of Joker in order to make it more of man vs overwhelming force.

    Snyder also does the same thing with Superman in “Unchained.” If you look at that story closely, Wraith goes back to the very core of the Superman myth and raises the question as to WHY he came to Earth and how he interacts with humans in order to focus on the hero reasserting why he, as a man, becomes the superman worth watching.

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  5. Okay i have another 2 points of view on the whole joker being immortal thing. honestly i don’t think he is, but he keep coming back after he’s had the crap beaten outta him and i think the reason why he keeps coming back is because of the Lazarus pit, the side effects of the pit is it turns you temporarily insane but for the joker he became same for a bit, but joker being joker goes back to being insane. another point of view is joker has special DNA that makes him immortal (called Dionesium, after the Greek god of rebirth, Dionysus) the DNA pretty much states that joker has lived before Gotham was even around. The Joker has existed for centuries; the true Dionysian man. After all, Dionysus is also the god of madness – and tragedy too.

    my reason is from here – http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Lazarus_Pit
    and – http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Batman_Vol_2_38

    That’s what I’ve read so far, please don’t criticize because I might have it wrong (I’m only 13 so don’t be too harsh)

    – from D.P.

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    • I like it! I feel like it’s going to be one of those things that aren’t really ever explained just to keep his background mysterious. They want us to speculate, that’s kind of what the character is all about

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