Heavy spoilers for Justice League #50.

In Justice League #50, we learn the the Joker is actually 3 dudes. green lanter and batman discuss

Why does the real identity of the Joker matter ? If Batman knew it, would it be more effective at stopping him ?

  • 5
    Yes. He could track his old haunts, family he might still be in contact with, subscriptions (magazines, etc) that he might still be paying for, etc etc
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 10:38
  • 1
    @Valorum - if that was a trackable pattern, shouldn't it have shown up by now? I thought that was the whole point of Joker-style chaos, that none of those techniques ever revealed anything usable... or normal.
    – Radhil
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 11:38
  • 2
    If, as Valorum suggested, you learn more about his background then there is much chance of understanding what drives him.
    – user66716
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 11:46
  • 2
    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." Supposedly Sun Tzu.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 15:33
  • 1
    Am I the only one who understood that as him having three names?
    – Davor
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


It matters because it matters to Batman

Knowing who the Joker really is has the potential to provide these advantages:

  • Knowing where he grew up, where he worked or went to school, or who his acquaintances were could help Batman or the police track him when he's missing.
  • The Joker may have a sensitive spot for certain family members or loved ones. This could be used against him (similar to Mr. Freeze's sensitivity toward his wife Nora).
  • Any information gathered about what experiences led the Joker to become the Joker can be used to better understand his motivations and in turn predict/prevent criminal actions before they happen.
  • As David Starkey mentions in the comments, Batman has been portrayed several times trying to get the Joker help instead of allowing the conflict to escalate until one of them dies. Understanding his background could provide essential insight into how to provide the psychiatric help he needs.

It matters because it matters to readers

The Joker is Batman's greatest enemy and the one we know the least about. The idea of getting the chance to flesh out a character that has been around since 1940 has the potential to be very interesting.

People latch on to characters they love, craving as much knowledge/understanding about those characters as they can. They want new stories, new character wrinkles, and new reasons to fall in love with the characters all over again. This is the nature of storytelling.


Learning that the Joker has potentially been 3 different people over time is one heck of a twist, right?

  • Interesting that the chair said there were three, since at the end of the "Jerome" arc on the TV show Gotham, three people are shown apparently taking on Jerome/Joker's spirit.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 13:46
  • I haven't kept up with Gotham past the first season but I'm sure the Jerome arc you're referring to is no coincidence. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 14:00
  • 4
    I'd also add that Batman has been portrayed multiple times as trying to get the Joker help. Batman wants to end it without one of them ending up dead. Figuring out who the Joker is/was could give some much needed insight for how best to help him. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 15:20
  • @DavidStarkey - Good point. I added it to the answer. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 18:41
  • 2
    There are certain characters so shrouded in mystery and conjecture that nailing them down to a set, definitive origin would take much of that mystery away. The Phantom Stranger is one, The Joker is another. If we KNEW that Joker was actually once Bill Hanratty from Hob's End, then we couldn't have had the story that suggested that he MIGHT be an immortal trickster god. The Joker should have the same origin as The Grinch - "Now please don't ask me why; no one quite knows the reason". Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 19:31

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