One of the most popular evil geniuses in the DC universe is Joker. Whether it’s the way he pursues Batman or uses his crazy laugh to intimidate, there’s something about him that makes you want to do a deeper dive into the psychosis of a supervillain. Just what devious plan could you uncover if you took a stroll through the avenues of his mind?
While the internet seems to be wildly divided on how high or low the Joker’s IQ could be, it turns out that there is no need for arguments. According to a test taken during his time at Arkham Asylum, Joker scored an IQ of 140.
140 is respectable, but it’s not the end of the story. The truth is, Joker is more than intelligent, he’s twisted. While his nemesis, Batman, uses his smarts to enhance his arsenal to make Gotham a better place, Joker has chosen a different way to direct his brainpower.
Joker’s Varied Talents
When a character’s list of abilities starts off with being a criminal mastermind, you know there will be a lot more of the story to come. That might have a lot to do with the massive controversy when it comes to figuring out Joker’s IQ. Some without knowledge have insisted it’s both low and high, due to him having multiple personality disorder. There are sides of him that are brilliant and other parts that are just disturbed. On one hand, he clearly has a lot going on upstairs that is probably more related to trauma than intelligence. On the other hand, he’s been able to manipulate the smartest superhero in DC so thoroughly that even Batman himself was doubting his own skills and motivations.
One thing we see the Crown Prince of Crime shows an affinity for is chemistry. When you consider that he made a poison so specifically that it could hurt others but not him, you begin to understand what he’s capable of. It probably also helps that he is immune to toxins. That isn’t surprising, given that he used his obsession with chemistry to experiment on himself. In fact, when Scarecrow tried to poison him, all Joker did was laugh. Since he had no fear, it might not have worked for him anyway. Perhaps that shows more about Scarecrow’s lack of planning than anything else, but we digress.
There’s a theory that Joker is so insane that he’s actually sane. If that were true, it could help explain why he can seem rational in one moment, like when he’s putting productive energy towards poison, and off the deep end the next. One of the writers who worked on Joker in the past spoke about how, due to the villain’s lack of control over how he interprets sensory cues, he actually has no personality of his own. He is a new person every day. So, in a super distorted world, Joker is driven mad by his lack of madness. Catchy.
We can all think of people whom we would classify as toxic in our lives. But Joker takes this one step further. Remember when we said he is immune to poison? Well, that might have something to do with his blood being poisonous. Since he also has no pain receptors, Joker might not even realize how mangled and mismanaged his insides are. Not feeling pain means not feeling off when your blood gets tainted. Still, somehow, he survives. Just to be sure, he does end up sending his own blood to hospitals around Gotham to purposely infect patients. Talk about someone who just wants to watch the world burn.
Is Batman smarter than Joker?
Two of the most well-known frenemies in all comics are probably Batman and Joker. Batman has the overwhelming need to enact justice on everyone doing wrong, while Joker embodies the exact opposite. As noted, Batman is considered the smartest of all the DC heroes. However, as also mentioned, Joker has used manipulation tactics to get inside Batman’s head. There’s nothing like a little self-doubt to make you question all the things.
When you take into account the extremes that both go to in order to either incarcerate or end one another, it may be difficult to properly analyze intellect. They are on such opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to normal human interaction. Looking at the numbers alone, though, Batman has an IQ of 192. So, it would be easy to conclude that he comes out on top.
But with super sanity, Joker’s IQ could be as high as 350. That’s wildly speculating with a curve for the lunacy and perhaps street smarts. Just as in the real world, there are different kinds of intelligence. Some smarts come with experience and can’t be learned from a book. If anyone could appreciate that, it would be Joker.
Perhaps the best example of this is one that is food for thought. With as many resources as Batman has at his disposal, including a powerful brain, why is it Joker continues to elude him? All the money and gadgets in the world haven’t been able to wrangle him in for good. Only a master of the streets and a brilliant strategist could get away that often.
Why is Joker obsessed with Batman?
Batman has quite a lot of foes to contend with that all have unique ways of believing in the deviant logic they’ve dedicated themselves to. Joker is unlike all of the others, however. Not only is he the criminal ying to Batman’s justice yang, but Joker is also hyper-focused on bringing Batman down. Their mutual disdain for one another has been documented since the first issue of Batman comics in 1940.
What exactly drives Joker to put that much focus on the Caped Crusader? Well, many believe that Batman represents everything that Joker isn’t. Yet, in his eyes, they really aren’t all that distinct from each other. Joker is loud and proud of his detachment from logic, whereas Batman is a symbol of doing what’s right. Even so, he still dresses up like a bat to do those good deeds. They are two souls lost in the fight for what they believe is the right thing. Both are insatiable, Batman for justice and Joker for chaos.
In a warped way, they need each other. If there was no need for justice and no need to wreak mayhem, what would they do? Sort of like achieving something you’ve been working towards for years. Once that thing has been accomplished, there’s a sinking feeling of ‘what now’ attached. If Joker finally took the life of the man he’s been toying with for what feels like an eternity, would he be fulfilled? He may think it would prove his way of looking at things was the correct way, but really it would put him back to square one.
So, it’s quite possible that Joker could have used his depraved sense of evil justice to end Batman for good already. Then, knowing that would be the end of the decades-long cat and mouse game, he opted not to take that final stance. If that’s the case, perhaps he really has outsmarted us all.