I’m pretty sure that we can all agree that when it comes to insanity, nobody does it quite like the Joker. Being the Clown Prince of Crime and all, he’s served as the crazy foil to Batman’s crusade for decades now. Over the years, he’s hatched plenty of diabolical schemes, and whether they had a purpose or not, his goal was to always make people suffer. All he wanted was to show that people can go insane too after one bad day. And he’s been very effective at proving that, hasn’t he?
To be honest, I have to agree with him anyway. According to The Killing Joke, it was in fact a bad day that sent him over the edge. It doesn’t stop with the villains though. Many superheroes that seek to save the worlds they were born in have in fact fallen a time or two. Some of them are crazy in their own right, but others needed that little push over the edge.
After some reading and examination, I would easily go as far to say that there are a number of heroes that became more insane or are already more insane than the Joker himself. Beings with immense power often let trying situations get to their heads, and this has spawned some disastrous results. Even your favorite superheroes aren’t quite as pure as you think they are. The same can be said for these 15 heroes that went more insane than the Joker.
Kicking off our list is the most obvious choice. Deadpool, after much experimentation and lab work is about as crazy as it gets. The only thing that keeps him on the border of reality is that he has multiple voices in his head telling him to do the right, wrong, and Deadpool things do. What if the voices went silent, though? What would become of Deadpool then? Evidently, he’d become noticeably crazier than before. During the Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe storyline, we actually got to see Wade Wilson without all of the contending voices. All that was left was him deciding for himself. Because he knew he was simply a character in a comic book, he chose to go across the universe and kill everyone in order to “free them” from being on the pages. He ended up creating reality in his own image, and became the ruler of the new Deadpool Universe. However, the longer he lived, the crazier he became until no remnants of the Deadpool we know and love was left. All that remained was someone driven mad by the knowledge that they were a character and nothing more. I suppose I’d be a bit upset by the same knowledge.
Wolverine is a pretty swell guy on the right days, but on the wrong days, not so much. Logan did not acquire his code name for no reason, and Marvel has definitely explored what that reason was. Several times, Logan has retreated back into his animal instincts that lay in his body due to his mutant powers. When times of great turmoil comes his way, he tends to react like a savage that belongs in the wild. After Magneto took the adamantium from Wolverine’s body, he quickly reverted back to his wild side, and it look a lot of help from Professor X to restore him. On top of that, the Weapon X program that gave him the adamantium in the first place actually made him give in to his animal senses in order to make him a much more effective weapon. While we know that old Logan has beat that for the most part, the urges are still there. As a matter of fact, in Old Man Logan, Wolverine is tricked into believing that all of his greatest foes were in the same room, so he went on a brutal killing spree and slaughtered them all, only to find that they were his buddies from the X Mansion. That’s how insane the animal inside is.
13. Moon Knight
Anybody that knows the character Moon Knight understands why he’s on this list. He hasn’t done anything in particular to deserve a spot here, but he is consistently crazy and that’s why he made it. Although, he wasn’t going crazy until he put on the cape and cowl. During his human life, Marc Spector was a mercenary and took a bullet during a mission in Egypt. However the Egyptian god Khonsu revived him- on the condition that Spector would become his mortal avatar to roam the world. He agreed and became Moon Knight from that point on. Going forward, he was never quite the same. Spector suffers from split personality syndrome and has about three different personas he takes on during his adventures. His insanity goes so far in the comics that many readers begin to question if he was actually saved by Khonsu or not, and the entire thing is left for speculation. Whether he’s really a moon god avatar or not, it’s clear that Marc Spector is several layers short of the full wedding cake. I’ll be darned if that wouldn’t make a great Netflix series though.
12. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
Green Lantern isn’t exactly on the top tier when it comes to the Justice League. Yes, he’s very well-known and has helped out with many conflicts throughout the years, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s incredibly annoying and vulnerable to much darker forces. There have been a few times where Hal Jordan has succumbed to evil, the most notable being long before DC: Rebirth. Green Lantern actually became the villain Parallax after killing the entire Green Lantern Corps himself. Then there was the time in Injustice where Green Lantern joined Superman’s Regime and actually became a Yellow Lantern- the very thing that he had been fighting against all this time. Apparently, the whole reason for Green Lantern going so bad was because that his comics weren’t bringing in a lot of sales, so in natural comic book fashion, they had something crazy happen in order to get people interested. It was later revealed that Hal (when he became Parallax) wasn’t acting from his own will. It turns out he had some kind of viral parasite that was forcing him to do those things. Seems like a cheap cop-out if you ask me.
11. Iron Man
We all know Iron Man as the billionaire genius playboy philanthropist. Because of all of his wealth and intellect, sometimes that goes to his head (and that’s happened more than once). Many times, Iron Man’s guilt will lead him to do crazy things as well, and there is no better example than the Civil War comic. During the film adaptation, he wasn’t nearly as out of line as was in the source material. On top of recruiting a number of heroes, Tony actually brings villains into his team in order to hunt for more straggling supers. This move made him look even more like a jerk, but the kicker was when he worked with Reed Richards and Hank Pym to create a clone of Thor in order to convince others to join their side. This clone went a bit too far, though, and killed one of Captain America’s men. This only drove Tony further into his delusions, and he even helped create a prison that sent people to a different dimension. If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, I’m not sure what will. Did I mention he ended up becoming the director of SHIELD for all of his hard work?
10. Wonder Woman
Darkseid has been trying to take over the DC Universe for years, but the Justice League has always been there to stop him. What would it look like if he actually started winning his war, though? I’ll tell you what, it’s not pretty. During Final Crisis, Earth becomes involved in something called the Doomsday Singularity, and Darkseid begins shaping it in his image. Once the human planet is included, Darkseid gets the upper hand. Essentially, the universe turns into the DC version of the end times. Apparently one of the signs is Wonder Woman going completely mad, and that’s a nightmarish sight in and of itself. She actually leads Darkseid’s female soldiers, riding a terrifying beast. To make things even more terrifying, Wonder Woman also bears a wolf’s head instead of her beautiful mug. You can imagine the sorts of havoc that wreaked all over the dimension, but thankfully, Wonder Woman was able to regain her sanity and eventually stop Darkseid. The lasting memories are still there, though, and the entire Justice League will make it a point not to tick off Diana Prince, lest they be faced with the entire Underworld.
9. Jean Grey
You all knew this was coming. From the first moment we became familiar with Jean Grey, we all knew that she was powerful. There was always something quite different about her though, as if there was something she didn’t tell her friends or the audience. It’s like she was sitting on the edge and could fall to the wrong side at any moment. Well, as we all know by now, she fell and she fell hard. Jean Grey acquires her powers from something called the Phoenix Force, and this force actually ends up consuming her, transforming her into the Dark Phoenix. When in this form, she becomes so powerful and unstable that she could theoretically destroy the entire Marvel Universe. It takes all hands on deck to bring her down, but in a brief moment of sanity she reaches out to her lover Wolverine and begs him to kill her in order to save the world. With tears in his eyes, he gives her what she wants and ends her life. It’s a sad ending to an excellent story, but the memories of the Dark Phoenix still last in our brains to this day. Hopefully FOX can make a good movie about it someday.
Spider-Man is probably the easiest superhero to identify with for teenagers. And what would a real teenager be without some emotional struggles? Well, Peter Parker takes it to a bit of an extreme in a few cases. When an alien symbiote comes to planet Earth and attaches itself to Parker’s suit, he gets a bit of an upgrade. He finds himself to be stronger, faster, and more agile than before. However, the more he uses the suit, the more he finds himself to be aggressive and even willing to take lives. He promptly leaves the suit on longer than he should and does some damage along the way. He eventually ditches it though, but the symbiote then goes after Eddie Brock in order to become Venom, which is a pretty horrible outcome in and of itself. Had Peter worked to destroy this symbiote, he’d be without one of his greatest adversaries. Credit must be given to him at the end of the day though, as he managed to right his wrongs before they got too out of hand, whereas some of the other heroes on this list didn’t do the same.
Anybody that watched Young Justice knows that Superboy suffers from a bit of a pride issue and often takes his own path even when orders dictate him elsewhere. He’s a bit of a loose cannon but is effective when with the right people. What if there were a world where he was the only superhero, though? I’m sure you could imagine the results. DC wondered about this as well, and introduced Superboy Prime. A Superboy from an alternate reality, he came to an Earth where the only superheroes existed in mere comic books. Naturally, he was a bit stuck up. However, he was erased from the timeline after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but was instead placed in a different dimension that drove him crazy. He finds his way out a long while after and decides that he is the greatest Superman there will ever be and begins attacking the Earth where our heroes live. He was quickly detained and put in prison on the Green Lantern home planet of Oa. Like any supervillain worth their salt, Superboy Prime breaks out a few times, but his little dance was over after Flashpoint completely reset the timeline. I’m sure the heroes would be thankful if they could remember.
6. Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch has a bit of a complicated history as far as the comics are concerned. Where she is simply the twin brother of Quicksilver in the MCU, it gets more in-depth in the source material. Both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are twin children of the villainous Magneto. As such, Scarlet isn’t exactly always in her right mind. As a matter of fact, she eventually had two beautiful children that she lost soon after. Their deaths drove her over the edge so hard that she was willing to do whatever it took to bring them back. She actually kills a few Avengers so that she can then reshape reality into a world where her children are alive. This world was called House of M, and is one of the greatest crossover events in Marvel’s long history. Sadly for Wanda Maximoff, though, she had to come to terms with the loss of her kids and restore the world to what it once was. While her children have been reincarnated into members of the Young Avengers, she isn’t very attached to them. If I were her, I’d probably take every opportunity to know those kids better.
5. Ant-Man (Hank Pym)
This was something that the Ant-Man movie only hinted at. In it, Hank states that he can no longer wear the Ant-Man suit because the Pym Particles have altered the chemistry in his brain and could permanently damage him if he put it on again. In the comics, we got to see this realized a bit more. Marvel wanted to make Dr. Pym a bit more realistic, and as such he had several mental diseases, including bipolar disorder. Many times it’s often credited as the Pym Particles screwing with his head, but however it happened, the result is still the same. Hank Pym is a mentally damaged man, and this has led to him doing some crazy things, such as creating Ultron in the comics, and even helping Tony Stark recruit villains during the Civil War. Eventually, he actually hit his wife Janet during an argument, and he’s been labeled as a person of domestic violence ever since. This explains the reason why Marvel chose to use Scott Lang as their Ant-Man, as Hank was too unstable. It’s probably better that the film didn’t really go into that very much, as it might’ve led people away from seeing it.
4. The Flash
Barry Allen is often the hope of Central City in the face of dangerous metahumans. But, what if, in all of his power and speed, he failed? How would he cope? Well that’s exactly what happened to Barry Allen 20 years in the future. Future Flash (as he is called) watched as his partner Wally West was killed by the Reverse Flash. This drove Future Flash insane, and he sought to rectify these mistakes and alter the timeline so that Wally would live. However, taking matters to extremes, he ended up going through time to specific events and killing the Rogues that were there. He ripped of Reverse Flash’s head, he put a bomb inside Gorilla Grodd, and he threw Trickster off a building. Eventually he ends up battling the present version of himself along with Wally West. The end result was Wally West’s death and the present Barry Allen being thrown into a dying Speed Force. Then the Future Flash became 20 years younger and made a pact to rewrite history and make it better the second time around. That’s pretty heavy stuff, but I’d love to see something like that on the TV show.
The villainous Apocalypse has a way of presenting his ideals to powerful mutants in such a way that they actually agree to join them. One perfect example of this was with the mutant Sunfire. Just a fun fact, Sunfire was not only a member of the X-Men, he also worked with the comic version of Big Hero 6 for quite some time. Anyway, Sunfire suffered an accident that had robbed him of his limbs and his abilities. Apocalypse simply offered him back the things he lost if he would become one of the Four Horsemen. Sunfire accepted and became a deadly mutant on Apocalypse’s roster. His transformation to the side of Apocalypse was so great that it took the powers of Emma Frost for him to regain control of his mind. Conveniently for him, while he no longer worked for Apocalypse after that point, he still managed to keep the physical upgrade that came with his change in allegiance. That being said, the X-Men kept a close eye on him from that point on to make sure that he still didn’t have any of that evil mutant picking at his brain.
Yeah, you all saw this one coming. In one of the most classic new DC stories to date, Injustice shows Superman getting tricked by the Joker to kill Lois Lane and their unborn baby. This sends Superman into a mental frenzy. He begins by plunging his arm through the Joker, instantly killing the Clown Prince of Crime, and then does much worse. He takes control of the world and calls a ceasefire across all of the nations. Afterward he shapes the earth into his own image. Many soldiers now work for him, and his word becomes law. Very quickly he becomes a deadly dictator that kills any who stand in his way. During his takeover, many DC heroes died at his hand, including Green Arrow and Shazam. He even destroyed the entire planet of Oa after he was given a Yellow Lantern ring. The worst part about all of this is that it was the Joker’s plan. He knew that he would never be able to kill Batman, but that Superman would be able to do it. So he tricked Superman in order to pit him against the Dark Knight. Boy, did his plan work. Superman’s Regime was one of the greatest trials that Batman ever faced, so great that it took the inclusion of a different universe’s Justice League in order to solve it.
1. Professor X
One word: Onslaught. We’ve already proven that Professor X isn’t exactly the most morally upright fellow in Marvel history, but this was probably his biggest mistake. After Magneto ripped out Wolverine’s skeleton, Professor X attempted to rewrite his adversary’s brain. However, he picked up some of the bad emotions Magneto had and instead of dealing with it, Professor X let it build. That in combination with his own instability eventually turned Charles Xavier into the villain Onslaught. Being the amalgamation of Professor X and Magneto, the X-Men could not face this threat on their own. Onslaught sought to destroy the world and rule it to allow mutants the respect they deserve. However, he was willing to decimate anyone or anything that got in his way. Because of how immense his power was, it took the work of the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four to finally bring him down. From that point on, nobody trusted Professor X as much, and Onslaught did return at some point in the future. If he had let go of his pride, he might have not nearly destroyed the entire world.