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|“||Now, that was rude. The first boy blunder had some manners. I suppose I'm going to have to teach you a lesson so you can better follow in his footsteps...nah, I'm just gonna keep beating you with this crowbar!||„|
|~ Joker torturing Jason Todd.|
|“||NO! Don't spoil it, this is better! I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO'S GOING TO GET WHAT HE WANTS TONIGHT! YES! BIG-BANG-BOOM! WE ALL GO OUT TOGETHER! DON'T YOU JUST LOVE A HAPPY ENDING?!||„|
|~ Joker's last words as he tries to stop Batman from defusing Jason's bomb.|
The Joker is one of the two main antagonists of Batman: Under the Red Hood (alongside the titular Red Hood), albeit the one most directly responsible for the events of the film. Like his comic book counterpart, he is a psychopathic master criminal, Batman's archnemesis, and the murderer and later attempted victim of Jason Todd, the second Robin.
The Joker was the one who used the moniker of the Red Hood before Jason Todd. At a botch robbery at Ace Chemicals, he was confronted by Batman. The frightened man tried to plead with Batman, who pulled out some cuffs. The man said he was setup and he wasn't a criminal. He tried to take off his hood, but he stumbled on his cape and fell into a vat of chemicals. The chemicals dyed his hair green, turned his lips red and bleached his skin, along with destroying his sanity. His fate as the Joker was sealed.
The Joker is hired by Ra's al Ghul to distract Batman and Jason Todd, the second Robin, from the terrorist's plan to destroy the world economy. The Joker lures the Dynamic Duo to Sarajevo, Bosnia, where he beats Jason with a crowbar and leaves him to be killed by a bomb, although not before sadistically requesting that Jason "tell the big man [Joker] said 'hello'". Feeling guilty for his death, Ra's al Ghul revives Jason with the Lazarus Pit. Five years later, Jason returns to Gotham as a crime lord calling himself the Red Hood, purposely taking his murderer's former criminal identity to attract his attention. In addition, by that point, the Joker was placed in Arkham Asylum under extensive security measures to ensure he could not escape. After his first encounter with the Red Hood, Batman goes to Joker for information in Arkham Asylum. He claims that there is no connection, although he nonetheless proceeds to cruelly reference his role in Jason Todd's death to Batman, and also implied a desire for Batman to kill him in rage. When Red Hood tries to kill him, Black Mask reluctantly hires the Joker as a hitman to take down the Red Hood. Upon being freed, Joker, under the premise of wanting water, used a glass to slice one of Black Mask's men's throat and gunned down the crime lord's remaining bodyguards in quick succession with a stolen handgun, before requesting his standard outfit, a big truck, as well as some henchmen. He then starts laughing at the thought of killing Black Mask's minions much to the latter's discomfort.
The Joker kidnaps Jason's eight under-bosses, and then proceeds to betray the Black Mask by placing him among the under-bosses (as they formerly worked for Black Mask), and holds them hostage inside the truck, also crashing the truck on the bridge and causing a spectacle causing the GCPD to arrive and news reporters to swarm in on the breaking report, also dousing the underbosses and Black Mask with gasoline with the intention of torching them. However, his lighter ended up acting temperamental as Jason arrives and reveals that his previous actions were designed to lure the Joker away from the safety of Arkham so that he could kill him, also making clear they had met before. He ultimately manages to light it before dropping it into the truck, with only the timely arrival of Batman foiling the torching attempt. However, Joker was freed from the Batplane's restraints by Jason, who proceeded to abduct him in turn. At a secluded apartment in Crime Alley, Joker was beaten by Jason, who cryptically alludes to Joker's earlier torture of him being responsible for his existence when Joker inquired about how they knew each other. He forces Batman to either kill him, kill the Joker directly, or otherwise let Jason kill the Joker. Batman refused the offer, and threw a batarang into Jason's gun barrel, detonating it, with Joker taking amusement in how, despite Batman finding a way to win, "everybody still loses." After Jason activated a bomb set to a 20 second timer that would kill all three, Joker prevents Batman from disarming the bomb, maniacally declaring that he'll be "the only one who gets what he wants tonight!" while pinning Batman down. However, he is knocked unconscious by Batman, and managed to save himself, Jason and the Joker. While Jason escapes, Batman takes the Joker back to Arkham.
- Unlike most animated incarnations of the Joker, where they are given a high-pitched voice, this incarnation speaks with a much deeper (although nonetheless somewhat humorous) voice.
- Similarly, unlike most incarnations of the Joker, who were usually depicted as extremely thin, this incarnation was given a more built, slightly imposing figure. They likely did this to fit in with his less comedic side as this Joker is much more thuggish than normal.
- To date, this is one of the darkest animated incarnations of the Joker character. He is more thuggish than normal and is portrayed even more seriously than normal by the narrative.
- In Batman's flashback to his encountering the man who would become the Joker, the man is seen yelling "Please, no! Stay away! It's a set-up! Wait..." and "I'm not a crook, I swear!" while attempting to unmask himself, implying that he had the same backstory as the one given in Batman: The Killing Joke, or at the very least a similar backstory.
- Elements of this rendition for the Joker were reused in at least three other renditions:
- Joker from The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 proceeded to kill Dr. Wolper in a similar manner to how Joker in Under the Red Hood murdered one of Black Mask's armed guards, via slitting the latter's throat with a shard from a cup he smashed earlier (in this case, a novelty mug for the show). In the original comic, Wolper had been murdered by his neck being snapped by one of Joker's robotic henchmen. Furthermore, this Joker is less comedic and more openly deadly.
- Jerome Valeska from the Gotham Season 2 episode Gotham proceeded to douse a bus full of cheerleaders with ship fuel and then attempted to set the bus on fire as one of his first crimes upon being broken out of Arkham Asylum, only to be delayed long enough to be stopped largely because of a temperamental lighter, just like the Joker from Under the Red Hood did, in that case dousing gasoline inside a crashed transport truck on both Black Mask, Ms. Lu, and Black Mask's former drug dealing associates.
- Joker from Batman: The Killing Joke animated film, when he encountered Batman while acting as the Red Hood, proceeded to trip over his cape while attempting to plead for his life and fall over a railing into a chemical drainage vat below with Batman attempting to reach out for him as he fell, similar to Joker in Under the Red Hood. In the original comic, Joker instead deliberately jumped into the vat in a desperate effort to escape Batman.