Two controversial scenes from the Joker GN
I'm posting these in small part to find out if anyone's up for an Elseworlds/Alternate Universe week. I've got at least three I can share.... (Idk if Lex Luthor: Man of Steel counts as Elseworlds, but if it does, I've got a fourth...)
But anyways... on to the controversy!!
Part One. The LESS controversial scene.
Joker crying. I think this was one of the more shocking scenes for me (granted there were A LOT of shocking scenes). In this, the narrator, Jonny, is staying at the Joker and Harley Quinn's apartment. He happens to walk past a mostly closed door and glimpses this. (While he sees this, he's telling the reader about a story about his frog. The story ends up coming full circle at the end of the GN)
Why is this controversial? I for one don't think I had ever seen the Joker shed a tear in comics (and in the funeral scene during the Man who Killed Batman B:TAS episode, his crying is somewhat comical). We have no significant reason why he's crying -- it appears just after Harvey Dent doesn't take his phone calls and he blows up his bar. (And kills a henchman). Was it manic depressive? Was he just really strung out on drugs? Was he upset because Batman had not come out to play with him yet? Without getting into the Joker's origin, I'm guessing this is Azzarello trying to show us the tragic clown aspect. Here is a egotistical bastard who despite all the glee he gets from murdering and torturing, he loathes himself.
In part, I think, it's controversial because he's on his knees before Harley, and so we see a co-dependent relationship in which she is the rock here. For some that could be unsettling because we almost we see a human, not just a clown or a monster, and (a very minute) potentially a redeemable person. It also shows us that despite Harley not having any lines, she actually IS portrayed as a *strong* character, just not in the traditional *independent woman* nor in the *good girl* sense. She's strong enough to see the humanity of this monster.
Azzarello's Lex Luthor: Man of Steel showed many different sides of Luthor because he in fact loves his humanity. He believes what he is doing is for the greater good. However, Joker's a bit more difficult: he tries to hide his humanity (making up different origins, his attempts on Harley's life [Batman #663, Batman: Harley Quinn], the 180 he did in Going Sane, etc.).
What did you think of this scene? Do you think this was a good way of making him more complex? Could it have been done differently? (Remembering that the fake/real sad origin story has already been done in The Killing Joke..)
The Rape Scene.
Hoo boy. This scene. Anyways, while we don't see the actual rape occur, this scene occurs AFTER the crying scene and is after Joker believes Jonny *raped* (for lack of a better term) his trust when he didn't reveal he had a wife (and Harvey found out and used it against them). This woman is Jonny's wife. On the one hand we feel an almost pity for Jonny for not being able to stop it (go up against the Joker??!); on the other hand, we don't (this is someone he cares about here -- how could he just sit by and let that happen?!).
Thing is, while I doubt the Joker is "above rape," has he ever committed sexual crimes before? (And no, I don't think he raped Babs in TKJ. First of all, it was written by Alan Moore, who doesn't exactly shy away from that kind of thing and would have said so if it had happened; secondly, I think the reason why he undressed Babs was to better show off the wound -- sick, yes, but he's trying to upset her father). But this is technically an Elseworld's tale, so this Joker is different. And if it's "funny" to him, he'll do it. (The joke that perhaps Jonny could have stopped him, but did not....) Anyways, as distasteful as it was, it does show us that he's completely irredeemable. You get this almost false hope from the crying scene and then comes this. But was there a better way to show that? (Granted, IMO, it's not as ridiculous as the almost-rape that occurred in Oracle: the Cure. That was.... well, let's just say it didn't enhance the plot in any way.)
Now I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves, people! The Joker is neither a Joe nor a Kerr. Discuss.