The Suicide Squad movie is finally here, and with it comes one of the most iconic villains in all of comic books: The Joker. The “Clown Prince of Crime” has been plaguing the streets of Gotham for decades, taking lives and destroying buildings all for a good laugh. He has contended with the Batman countless times, going as far as to torture the Dark Knight in an attempt to mentally break him.
In Death of the Family, Joker pulled a sadistic and elaborate gag where he made the entire Bat-Family think that he had cut off their faces. Then he held a little dinner party about it. He has gone from a mere trickster to the most dangerous person in the DC Universe. He has even gone to great lengths, such as mentally controlling the entire Justice League, just to beat Batman.
There is nothing that the Joker won’t do to realize his vision of seeing the entire world burn, to prove that going insane takes just one bad day. He manipulates, lies, and hurts those closest to him simply because he feels like it. There is no real plan to the Joker’s actions. He’s like a dog chasing cars.
While the Joker is quite insane, there are plenty of other comic book characters that are just as crazy. Sure, they don’t wear clown costumes or have acid-spitting flowers, but their actions more than make up for it. These are fifteen comic book characters that are just as crazy as the Joker.
15. Victor Zsasz
Victor Zsasz is more a B-list Batman villain, but anybody brave enough to learn more about him knows exactly why he made it on this list. Zsasz is a serial killer, but why he kills people is a much more chilling concept. After losing his entire fortune by gambling against the Penguin, Zsasz found that there was nothing left in life, and that he felt meaningless. Then he was attacked by a homeless man, so he defended himself and killed the man. At that point, Zsasz determined that all humans are simply robots, moving by forces unknown to them. He took it upon himself to then liberate all of humanity by taking their lives, one at a time. To make matters even worse, Zsasz loves to keep track of all the people he has “liberated.” He does so by carving a tally mark into his body with his knife. One look at Zsasz and you’ll see just how many unfortunate lives have fallen to his blade. Currently, there is one spot of his body that he refuses to mark, leaving it so that he can one day fill it after he kills Batman.
14. Mad Hatter
If there’s anything we’ve learned from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland films, it’s that the Mad Hatter is one insane character. Now couple that version of the Mad Hatter with the criminal poison of Gotham City, and that’s exactly what we have with Batman’s most story-like villain. The Mad Hatter takes his inspiration from the character of the same name, even believing one day that he himself is the physical incarnation of the Mad Hatter. As seen in the Arkham games, Mad Hatter loves using hallucinogenic chemicals to play mind games with his opponents. He has also been known to host deathly tea parties among his criminal comrades. Perhaps the craziest thing about this baddie is the hat that he wears. It’s not just for show. Apparently, his hat contains chemicals that are designed to make him “happier” than any drug ever could; and he wears that hat all the time. After so long, your brain becomes so damaged that no hope for repair can ever be had. Mad Hatter is also known to be a pedophile, kidnapping young girls with the name (you guessed it) Alice.
13. Moon Knight
Marvel and DC, while incredibly different, have their fair share of similarities. One of these said similarities is Marvel’s character Moon Knight, and DC’s Batman. They both operate at night, strike fear into the hearts of criminals…you get the idea. Batman comparisons aside, Marc Spector is a man heavily affected by war, and the death of his wife. This led him to become a mercenary. During one of his adventures, he was beaten and left to die. When some locals placed him in a tomb, he re-emerged healthy. Spector believed that it was the god Khonshu that had given him life and he was now the moon’s “knight of vengeance.” Where he got that idea far escapes me. Moon Knight since took on the criminal underworld, taking the lives of those that got in his way. He killed not only because he thought it was his job, but it made him feel better about the lives he took as a mercenary. However, there is a slight twist on Spector’s lore. The man suffers from dissociative identity disorder, meaning that the vigilante sports three different personalities that help him better cope with slaying those that are deemed unfit to live. While he may be a hero, Spector is definitely the kind of man that would benefit from some psychological treatment.
12. Namor the Submariner
Namor is one of the earliest Marvel characters in existence, and if you’re wondering why he hasn’t gotten the MCU treatment yet, it’s because his film rights are currently bound up with FOX, and they’re probably too afraid to do anything with him after Fantastic 4. Anyway, Namor is essentially Aquaman in the Marvel universe, but a little less heroic. Namor is rough, imposing, and isn’t afraid to take a life if he needs to. Surprisingly, though, he is a member of Marvel’s Illuminati, a group of heroes designed to discuss and make the tough calls when the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Seems like a generally upstanding guy, right? Wrong. Namor has also served as an antagonist for many of the same Marvel heroes he pledges to fight beside, and one event in particular may put more deaths on his head than even the Joker. Two earths were set to collide with each other, and in order to save our own earth, Namor blows up the incoming one, saving everyone he knows, but destroying an entire alternate reality.
Deadshot has gone from no penny to his name to a household topic. Floyd Lawton had been one of DC’s lesser known characters until he had appearances in Arkham City/Origins, some animated Batman films, the CW’s Arrow, and now the Suicide Squad film. He is another result of war screwing with his head. After spending several years overseas, he came back with a bad case of PTSD, and his wife ended up calling the police to detain him. Obviously that only worked for so long. Deadshot is one of the deadliest assassins DC has at its disposal and anybody who crosses him should always make sure to wear a bulletproof vest. However, this is a man who has killed so much that the thought of taking a life doesn’t even faze him anymore. His mental state is actually so distorted that he even “outcrazied” the Joker in Batman: Assault on Arkham. However, Lawton isn’t all bad. He has a daughter back home that he loves and cares about deeply. He moves with the hope of one day getting to see her, but after his mind being tormented for so long, he wonders if that’s really the right course of action.
10. Purple Man
Anybody who has seen Netflix’s Jessica Jones knows exactly why the Purple Man/Killgrave would make this list. Once an international spy, a chemical accident caused Zebediah Killgrave’s skin and hair to permanently become purple. While captured he found out that his body at that point released a pheromone that allowed him to manipulate and control anybody he desired. He since went crazy with that power, mind-controlling people to do his bidding and then some. He even took control of Jessica Jones back when she had been a small-name superhero. She lived with him and gave him whatever he wanted. Eventually she was freed, but the scars were permanent. Purple Man is the kind of villain who knows he’s bad, but enjoys every minute of it anyway. He will take what he wants, get what he wants, and do what he wants. Not only is he himself one of the craziest people in comic history, but anybody who comes in contact with him will also end up just as crazy if not crazier due to the nature of his powers. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Jessica snapped his neck.
9. Black Mask
Roman Sionis was one of Gotham’s best businessmen, but when he inherited his dead parents’ fortune, he was unwise and ended up going into bankruptcy. Fortunately, Bruce Wayne was able to save him financially, but that didn’t stop Sionis from forever hating Wayne as a result. Wanting to impose fear, he carved a mask from his father’s coffin and acted out his revenge on Bruce Wayne. Naturally, this led to him facing off with the Dark Knight many times, and one battle permanently seared the mask to his face. Forever being labeled as Black Mask, Sionis was one of the most feared mob bosses in Gotham’s underworld. Despite his unsettling appearance, it did come with a cost. The mask being seared to his face caused damage to his brain, and as a result he became even more unrelenting and sadistic than before. His mastery of combat and marksmanship turned him into one of the best torturers in Gotham. If there was information he wanted, you can bet that he would get it. In every sense of the term, Black Mask is essentially an alternate form of Batman, if Bruce Wayne had decided to become a villain instead of a hero. Talk about a new Dark Knight.
What happens when you take the craziness of Victor Zsasz and combine it with the powers of Venom? You get Carnage. Cletus Kasady was born a psychopath that destroyed and killed with no rhyme or reason. He killed his grandma by pushing her down a flight of stairs, tortured his mom’s dog, threw a little girl in front of a moving bus, and all before he was eighteen years old. Kasady came to the realization that laws are only words and vowed to spread chaos randomly through bloodshed, deeming it true freedom. After eventually being taken to prison for eleven murders, Kasady shared a cell with Eddie Brock, the man fused with the Venom symbiote. The symbiote broke Brock out, but left behind an offspring that was deemed insignificant. The offspring attached itself to Kasady and he became the new symbiotic killer Carnage. He broke out of prison and began a killing spree, each kill having the word “Carnage” written in the victim’s blood. Carnage is so unpredictable and insane that it once took Deadpool to find the symbiote and subdue him. Carnage will forever remain one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous foes; the wall crawler has even called upon Venom to help him take down Kasady. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
7. Ra’s al Ghul
You would think the head of the League of Assassins would have a bit more sanity inside him. Unfortunately for the world, that isn’t the case. The League kills whomever they deem necessary, on the orders of their leader, Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s has lived for many centuries, all thanks to what is called the Lazarus Pit. The waters in the pit can restore injuries and even prolong one’s life to unnatural lengths. Like most supernatural things, it does come with a cost. By soaking in the waters for many years, Ra’s slowly went insane, and that reflected in his vision for the world. He wants to see full economic and societal prosperity, but he feels that in order to do that, many lives need to be taken first. Because of this, he has had many confrontations with Batman, but still sees the Dark Knight as a potential ally. Unfortunately, he’s much too crazy. He was the reason Jason Todd came back from the grave, and has even persuaded Batman to kill his daughter Talia. Luckily, Bats is too morally upright to give in to Ra’s temptation.
Harvey Dent was one of the shining stars for Gotham’s political battle- a star who grew up with a rough childhood. An abusive father caused him to develop bipolar disorder and schizophrenia right off the bat. Nonetheless, he gave the people someone to look up to hope amidst a sea of troubles. However, Dent made enemies. Eventually the crime boss Maroni got to Dent and threw acid at his face. The result burned one half of Harvey’s entire body, giving a physical split down the middle. Because of the acid, Dent’s brain was severely damaged, and he was never the same since, and donned the name Two-Face, and his mental handicaps were only amplified. Obsessed with chance and the #2, he took crime to a different level. He believed that chance was the only fair judgment for people and their actions. The way he embraces this is with a coin that he keeps at all times. A mere flip of the coin will determine someone’s life, whether they live or die. He has constantly flip-flopped between being the Harvey Dent he once was and the criminal Two-Face, and perhaps this dichotomy will exist until the day he dies.
5. Amadeus Arkham
It seems kind of ironic that the founder of Arkham Asylum himself would also be insane. Amadeus was the son of a mentally ill woman. Because of watching his mother, he would eventually become a psychiatrist to try and help her. Unfortunately, his mother’s illness only became worse, to the point where she wanted to end her life. Seeing no other way, Arkham helped her in the act, thus putting his mother’s blood on his hands. Afterwards, he turned their mansion into a refuge for the mentally ill. One of the first patients that came to his facility was a serial killer known as Mad Dog. After months of trying to treat him, Arkham saw no improvement and killed the inmate using electroshock therapy. He began to see that the criminals of the world could only be cured by eradication, echoes of his slow slide into full insanity. Eventually, Arkham was been unable to distinguish himself between being a physician or a murderer. After many long years of mental unrest, Arkham eventually died as an inmate of his own Arkham Asylum. All of this took place long before the Batman ever helped the streets of Gotham, but perhaps it’s best that way.
4. Hank Pym (Ant-Man)
Hank Pym was one of the most brilliant inventors in the Marvel universe, and easily one of the best parts about the recent Ant-Man film. He developed the Pym particle, which allowed him to shrink and grow matter at will. He applied this particle into a suit where he donned the title of the first Ant-Man. However, he didn’t stop there and continued to become new heroes such as Giant-Man and Goliath. He could never pick which identity he wanted, but that was by choice. Pym constantly lived in the shadow of heroes like Iron Man, Spider Man, and Captain America, and he just wanted some recognition. This (as well as the Pym particles eventually affecting his brain chemistry) weighed on him so much that it ended up driving him mad. He began to mentally abuse his wife, Janet. So he decided to become a new hero: Yellowjacket. Eventually, the Avengers caught on to Pym’s craziness and confronted him. So Hank responded by creating a giant robot who would destroy them all. Did I also mention that in the comics, he was the one responsible for creating the villainous Ultron?
3. Harley Quinn
Who would be better-suited to make this list than someone who fell in love with the Joker? Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a therapist at Arkham Asylum, where she would provide proper care for all of her patients. Eventually, her job led her to converse with the Joker. In their conversations, Mister J would slowly but surely start pulling his strings, where she would end up thinking that he cared about her. In the end, she believed him to be fully understandable and released him from the Asylum, but wanted to join him as his bride. The result turned her into the Joker’s female counterpart: Harley Quinn. While a bit more human than Joker, she’s still a few layers short of the whole lasagna. After all, she subjects herself to one of the most abusive relationships in history, but remains with Joker regardless because she believes she’s really in love. One could make the case that all of her craziness isn’t really her fault, and to an extent that would be a true statement. However, she has since done her own adventures and stories that have fully cemented her as someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. All I can say is good luck to Margot Robbie.
What crazy list would be complete without the “Merc with a Mouth?” Wade Wilson was a combat expert, knowing everything from sword fighting to firing a gun accurately. One fateful day, Wilson was diagnosed with cancer in his entire body (comic book logic, people). Then some people over at the Weapon X program offered him a chance to live if they could perform some experiments. Secretly, they were trying to create their own Wolverine that they could use for their dirty work. Wilson unknowingly agreed to this. The formula was a success, but only just. His new healing factor intensified the cancer in his body, permanently disfiguring his face and damaging his brain. In the end, Wade became the mercenary Deadpool, who is incredibly good at his job, but also one of the craziest things to ever be put in the panels. Deadpool is constantly at war with himself, to the point where he literally has arguments with the voices in his head during a battle. He’s as crazy as they come, but at least he’s been known to do good things from time to time. He’s even found himself fighting alongside teams like the Avengers and the X-Men.
I’ll put it plainly. Anybody with the time, money, and diligence to learn every type of fighting style known to man, create their own lair, dress up like a bat, and leave every night to turn all of Gotham’s criminals into a bloody pulp cannot be all correct in the head. While Bruce is one of the most efficient members of the Justice League, many writers have portrayed Batman as just a little bit insane. One of the biggest cases of this is the Killing Joke, in which Batman and Joker are pitted against each other but on equal levels. In the end, Batman even takes part in a twisted laugh with the old clown. Batman has even been placed in Arkham Asylum along with the villains he took down. As much as some of us may hate to admit it, Batman is crazy- he just uses his craziness for the good of Gotham City. Think of him like a comic book form of Dexter for those of you that have seen the show. Old Bats has even created a backup personality in case he ever becomes drugged, which definitely tells us more about the state of his mind. To save a crazy town like Gotham, I guess you’d have to be a bit crazy, too.