DC’s New Joker Is Way More Terrifying Than Anything in Comics, TV or Movies

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WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Future State: Gotham #8, on sale now from DC Comics.

One of the most exciting elements of Future State is how it allowed creators to approach long-standing concepts and characters from a fresh perspective. This was perhaps most effective with the Bat-Family of titles, even helping cement how impressive The Next Batman was before bringing him more into the modern era. This also now officially applies to one of Gotham’s most famous villains.

The Next Joker makes his blood-curdling debut in Future State: Gotham #8 (by Dennis Culver & Nikola Čižmešija) with the terrifyingly straightforward version of the Clown Prince of Crime quickly establishing what makes him different from previous versions of the character.

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Most versions of the Joker across various mediums are devilish planners, deploying diabolical schemes to achieve their victories against the populace of Gotham as part of a never-ending war with Batman. That doesn’t seem to be the case with the Next Joker from Future State: Gotham, however, who prefers a more direct approach to his victims. While hunting down Grifter and the Operator, agents of the Mafia, the GCPD, and the Court of Owls are confronted by the new villain, who makes quick work of the assembled killers, carving them to pieces with his bare hands without a single world. Even when Grifter seems to get the better of the mysterious new villain with a grenade, all it does is briefly slow the madman down.

Ignoring Grifter’s barrage of bullets, this new Joker reveals a row of razor-sharp teeth and a slithering tongue before fatally wounding Grifter and apparently biting off his head. It’s a terrifying sight, and one that confirms that this version of the Joker is very different from other iterations of the villain. In most incarnations, the Joker is a more of a cerebral and ethical threat than a physical one. Usually, the Joker is portrayed as a frail killer who uses weapons and inventions to murder his victims. But the Future State variant of Batman’s greatest enemy instead relies on sheer ferocity in his campaign of terror. There are no gas bombs or surprise weapons — just simple-minded brutality.

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The Next Joker seems to have some form of enhanced strength that makes him next to impossible to put down by conventional means, making him a far different (but no less dangerous) adversary for the heroes of Gotham City. In many ways, this new Joker shares more in common with Killer Croc than his predecessor, using his massive frame and durability to withstand the most deadly assaults.

The Next Joker brings his own unique brand of horror to the character, creating a version of the Joker more akin to Jason Vorhees than Jigsaw. This presents a more pressing and immediately frightening threat, giving the future Gotham a nigh-unstoppable monster vicious enough to leave even the likes of Harley Quinn and Punchline terrified. With the Future State Bat-Family not sharing the same immunity to death and danger as their core-DC Universe counterparts, there’s no telling what kind of havoc this demented take on the Joker could bring to Gotham in the future.

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