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THEORY: Killing Joke’s Secret Ending REVEALED! || Comic Misconceptions || NerdSync


(electronic music) – This video is sponsored
by Full Sail University. Batman The Killing Joke is an iconic story shrouded in a bit of mystery, especially the ending. Take this panel here for example. Many people believe that this shows Batman clearly reaching out
and killing the Joker. This is supported by how
Joker’s laughter abruptly stops a few panels later as the light
in the rain slowly goes out. As we discussed in our
last video on the subject, there’s no basis for
this idea in real life, but, like, something has to happen, right? Are we really supposed to believe that Batman and Joker simply
share a laugh together in the rain and that’s it? No. What’s really going on here? (guitar music) We are back today, talking
about The Killing Joke. If you missed the first video we did on it discussing how it probably was
never Alan Moore’s intention for Batman to kill Joker, you can click that card right
up there to check it out before moving forward with this video. But just because it might not
have been what Moore intended, doesn’t mean you as a
reader can’t interpret it as Batman intentionally ending
the Joker once and for all. Still, there are a few inconsistencies with that idea, right? Firstly and most obviously, if Joker really did die, how do you explain him coming
back in subsequent stories? Well, recent revelations
in the DC Universe tell us that there is not one Joker, but actually three. Meaning Batman could’ve killed one and every appearance of
the clown prince after that has been one of the remaining two Jokers. As of this recording,
we just don’t know yet. But let’s imagine that this is the case. Wouldn’t Batman at least
be a little suspicious of Joker popping up
after he supposedly died by the Dark Knight’s own hands? And you’d think that killing his nemesis would impact Batman at
least a little bit, right? Forget Batman’s rule against killing. We’ve seen evidence to the contrary both in and out of the comics. But the whole point of The Killing Joke was to showcase the symbiotic relationship between Joker and Bats. In some weird way, they need each other. For Batman to kill Joker would undermine that whole narrative of the book. And I know what you’re thinking. But the joke! You’re forgetting about the joke! Okay, yes. Joker did tell a joke
at the end of the story. It’s about two inmates who
are escaping from an asylum by jumping from rooftop to rooftop. The first one makes it to civilization while the second one is left behind, too scared to make the leap. The first inmate has an idea. He’ll shine his flashlight
across the building so the scared inmate can walk across the beam of light to freedom. But the second guy says, “What, you think I’m crazy? “You’d turn it off when
I was halfway across.” If you hadn’t caught on, the joke is meant to represent Batman and Joker’s relationship. They’re both lunatics with
a taste for the theatrical. They each had one bad day that pushed them past the edge of sanity. But Batman is the first inmate who managed to escape the asylum, while Joker is stuck behind. Batman tries to help Joker, but with methods that will ultimately fail like trying to walk
across a beam of light. And that’s what many believe is shown on the final panels of The Killing Joke. It’s the beam of light
that finally goes out as Batman snaps the
neck of his worst enemy. A literal lights out for the Joker. In Julian Darius’s And
The Universe So Big, the author masterfully lays
out an alternate theory. Instead of Batman strangling
Joker or breaking his neck, Darius suggests a
different cause of death. The Joker’s own venom. Let’s look at the facts. Throughout the book, we
see constant hand imagery. Just within the first few pages, we see Batman getting out of a Batmobile with a shot of his hand closing the door. A closeup of Two Face’s
hands in his jail cell. We see the Joker imposter dealing cards as Batman tries to talk to him. During this interaction, there’s a huge focus
on both of their hands. That’s just the first five pages. And look at all these other
panels that focus on hands. And if you think we’re just reaching here, here are even more of them. It’s like the artwork is
trying to send a message. Watch the hands. In the midst of the final battle sequence with Batman and Joker, we get this series of strange shots. Batman is staring intently at his hand, as if there was something there. It’s weird, right? What is he looking at? Some fans have speculated that he’s glancing into a tiny mirror that allowed him to block
and attack the Joker without turning around, but a small gadget like
that was never established in the story prior to this moment, and therefore, doesn’t
make a whole lot of sense. However, there is one handheld item that was established earlier. The Joker’s poison needle. When Joker was obtaining
the amusement park from one of its owners, he shook the man’s hand
to mark their deal. Little did the man know that Joker in his classic, clowny style hid a poison needle in his where? That’s right, his hand. When Joker’s venom made its
way into the man’s system, he instantly dies. That toxic needle comes back into play during Joker’s final
physical confrontation with the caped crusader. The clown attempts to stab
Batman with the needle the same way he did to the park owner. Batman kicks it away and the device is sent
flying through the air. Moments later, Joker disorients Batman by pulling on his cowl and
smacking him over the head with a plank of wood. Batman stumbles for a beat. When he emerges, he’s back on this panel. Staring at his hands. Darius proposes that Batman
stumbled on to the poison needle he just kicked out of Joker’s possession. As an unbalanced Batman lifts himself up, he accidentally comes in
contact with the toxic device. The needle punctures the glove. He feels it. He checks to make sure that
it doesn’t make contact with his flesh as he
pulls it from his palm. Luckily, he’s fine. But Batman is now filled with rage as he realizes how close he
came to a meaningless death on top of all that’s
already happened that night. We can see the immediate tone
shift in the next few panels. Batman is noticeably angrier as he delivers the
finishing blow to Joker. What if Batman then pockets
the poison laced needle. A last resort in case he can’t
stop his nemesis this time. He made an eloquent speech
at the beginning of the comic about how he’s worried about how their story together will end. They’re locked in a suicide course where one or possibly both of them will die by journey’s end. Batman needs to know. He made a genuine attempt
to talk things over and avert that outcome. Just once. When he tries this at
the end of the issue, Joker shuts him down. It’s far too late. Knowing that he made a sincere effort, Batman realizes that
there’s nothing more to do but kill the clown prince, closing the book on their adventures. He takes the poison needle
he stashed under his cape, reaches out in laughter and stabs Joker with his own toxin, killing the clown. Hence the abrupt end to Joker’s laughter as the lights go out. Unfortunately, this theory suffers from a lot of the same
flaws the others do. We still have to account for Joker’s appearances after the fact. We still have to wonder why
Batman never referenced it or seemed to be impacted
by it in later comics. Plus, there is one major flaw. The theory hinges on the idea that Joker can be killed
by his own poison needle, but in fact, he can’t. He’s immune to his own Joker venom. It says in Batman number 663, quote, as an avid consumer of his
own chemical experiments, the Joker’s immunity to poison concoctions that might kill another man in an instant has been developed over
years of dedicated abuse. End quote. Kinda makes the whole theory
crumble at its foundation. So. Guess that’s it. Batman and Joker just share a laugh at the end of the story like old chums. Nothing special happens. But wait a minute. Batman number 663 was printed in 2007. The Killing Joke was printed
in 1988, much earlier. The quote says that he built
up his immunity of poisons over years. He wasn’t immediately immune after he took a fall into a chemical bath. Perhaps at this point in time, Joker was still at least
a little susceptible to his own home brew poison. It wouldn’t have to kill him. He’d still have a little bit of immunity. But maybe if Batman gave
him a direct injection directly to his heart, Joker would at least be
paralyzed like the park owner, even if only temporarily. And that’s why Joker feels so
stiff in those final panels and why his laughter stops so abruptly. He’s effectively frozen in
place due to his own venom. But not dead. Which mirrors Barbara in this story. An eye for an eye. Joker paralyzed her, so
Batman paralyzed Joker. Even if they were both only temporary. But the joke! What about the joke? Right, well, perhaps it doesn’t
symbolize that Joker died. Remember in that story, the light beam was coming
from the first inmate. The one that escaped the asylum. The one that represents Batman. The light turning off doesn’t
stand in for the Joker dying, but rather Batman giving up hope. That light represented
him trying to help Joker, even though his methods might
not be the most effective. But now that Batman had his one chance to talk everything through with the Joker and was met with nothing in return, he gave up. He stopped shining his light. Joker truly is beyond repair. And this final joke killed Batman’s hopes of him ever being rehabilitated. That’s why later comics show
Batman coming real close to the point of killing Joker. In Hush, for example, Batman almost murders him. One about to kill the
other just as he predicted. Batman seems more okay with
this idea this time around because he knows that
thanks to The Killing Joke, he made a genuine attempt
to talk things out before the inevitable. And that’s what this
story symbolizes to me. Not the end of their suicide course, but the gunshot that starts the
two of them down that track. Of course this is all 100% speculation. I could be and probably
am completely wrong. But that’s what’s so
great about this story. It’s left just vague enough that we can all interpret
it in different ways. Seeing what we want to see in it, regardless of the original intention. But is that a good thing? Should we stop trying to
make theories and speculation and instead, try to
find out what Alan Moore and Brian Bolland truly
meant to say with this story? How much does authorial
intent really matter? We’ll discuss that in part
three of The Killing Joke saga in a few weeks. Make sure you subscribe
so you don’t miss that. And if you really want, turn on notifications so you’re alerted right at the instant
we publish part three. And if you’re interested
in creating your own art, consider enhancing your skills and making a career in 3D animation. Full Sail University’s
computer animation program was designed to prepare you for a career in this exciting field. By expanding your abilities as an artist and learning the latest
tools, applications, and design theory used
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computer animation program is available both online and on campus. All Full Sail students receive a laptop preloaded with industry software and a deep institutional discount. On campus students have access to Full Sail’s motion capture studio, which honestly sounds super rad. In this facility, you’ll learn how to run a professional motion capture session as you direct the action of performers wearing a sensor monitored body suit and use that glorious data to create even more lifelike movements in your digital characters. To learn more about this goodness and all of Full Sail’s programs and fields related to the entertainment
and media industry, visit fullsail.edu/nerdsync. In the mean time, I’d love
to know what you guys think about all of this. What really happened in those final pages of The Killing Joke? Do you have your own theory
about the ending of the story? Let me know your thoughts
in the comments down below. And if you missed part one of this series, you can check it out
by clicking right here. We bust Grant Morrison’s theory about how Alan Moore always intended for Batman to kill Joker. Definitely a good watch. If you’ve already seen it, why not check out this other video about every single death
in Suicide Squad comics over the near three
decades they’ve been out. It was a collab I did
with Mr. Sunday Movies. He’s amazing and hilarious. Links will be in the
description down below. Until next time, my name is Scott, reminding you to read between the panels and grow smarter through comics. See ya.

100 thoughts on “THEORY: Killing Joke’s Secret Ending REVEALED! || Comic Misconceptions || NerdSync

  1. Your theory is perfect…you effing neeeeeeeeeeeeerd. Loved that interpretation. I really like this channel…a little bit.

  2. i think batman actually got himself injected by the venom and he didn't want to become the next joker and finally as he is about to die he takes the joker with him ending them both

  3. With the toxin theory, what if Batman was poisoned when pricked by the toxin, therefore looking at his hand, leading to Batman going insane and laughing at the end and killing Joker. Doesn't completely make sense in canon or in the story but it a thought.

  4. For the first panel being the same as the last, I know I not right, but I interpret it saying that it ends where it begins, in reference to Batman and the Joker's conflict. Batman was there when Joker first appeared in Detective Comics, and at the beginning of the issue, and it ends with Batman and Joker, after years of the same, continuous conflict.

  5. What I got was, this is the first time Batman ever laughed as Batman. That being said, Batman got the joke and couldn't control his laughter. While Batman is laughing that joker slips away making his escape leaving Batman laughing by himself

  6. Trouble is that it looks like he kicks the needle in the opposite direction (taking the vertical lines as a reference point), and in the later panels it looks like he's just adjusting his mask. Plus one hand grabs the Joker's wrist, the other makes a fist – where's the needle supposed to be? It's an interesting idea, but I don't buy it.

  7. Wait, if Batman killed the first Joker, then he’d know that the other one isn’t the first. Right?

  8. When the writers make it so that no one can figure it out, it's not open to interpretation anymore, it's actually just stupid. I considered this lazy writing.

  9. I believe the joke is the joker is the one that makes it past and Batman doesn't trust i the joker thats him killing him over and over

  10. Is no one going to entertain the thought that the Joker was scared and explained it through a joke that Batman ultimately missed? The Killing Joke was the cross road separating reformation and insanity.

  11. This is what i personally think:

    – Batman kicks poison thing away
    – in the middle of the fight, Batman looks at his hand, because he sees the poison needle scratched his hand (not stabbing, so the effect would take longer to start). He will die though, and he knows it.
    – Later, Batman tries to make the Joker a good person one last time
    – The Joker refuses, and explains why with his joke
    – Batman now starts feeling the effect of the poison, which causes him to laugh. There's no way a guy like Batman would laugh at a joke like that. It's not funny at all. It's the poison that's making him laugh.
    – Batman now has no options left. He knows he is going to die, so he kills the Joker. They both die laughing.

  12. every time I hear that multiple Jokers thing I just wanna be like THAT IS DUMB AND DIDNT HAPPEN
    and then I hear Dale Gribble's voice saying "You don't know that for sure, and you never will. They destroyed the evidence when they blew up one of the Peggys"

  13. I thought this was a pretty good video and I feel like it deserves more thumbs-up than that I feel like some of y'all are just kind of doing it because you don't like the thought behind the theories and all that I rather not I thought this was pretty good video

  14. Haven watched the vid yet but I’ve never been a huge comic fan I liked it but seemed like too much effort to get into it. I saw the ending of the killing joke movie and I really loved it. Thought that final scene was really well done and made me go damn

  15. You have no idea what you are talking about. Other batman comics don't affect the outcome of this story… Joker being alive in other comics mean nothing.

  16. He's sticking him with the needle that joker tried to stab him with.
    Haven't watched the video yet.
    Just saying. It's not much of a mystery.

  17. "Killing Joke" was supposed to be the LAST Batman story prior to Crisis. There is NO story after that. Just like "Whatever Happened to Superman?"

  18. There is another interpretation of the title: in comedy killing is a term meaning to bring your audience to uncontrollable laughter, to the point the entire room seems to be laughing without inhibition. Thus the Joker comedically killed Batman, he finally got him to laugh. It's a tame theory lacking death and gloom, but it is an interpretation from viewing the world from the view of a comedian.

  19. FACTCHECK!!!!!!!!!!The Killing Joke was an standalone else world story, not connected or canon with any Batman comics before it. It was written as a what if story. Its just fans today trying to put it into canon when it was never attended tobe when written.

  20. Actually Alan Moore possibly never intended for the killing joke to be canon, it's just that at the time DC was opposed to publishing non-canon graphic novels. If the Killing Joke is viewed as taking place in a separate continuity, Batman killing the Joker is a theory that is very hard to poke holes into. Joker's immunity to his poison is also something that's been very inconsistent over the years btw.

  21. Batman hardly ever laughs. The Joker laughs all the time. I think this is the most important part of the scene. Joker starts out laughing at the joke. Batman is serious, then starts chuckling, then starts letting his laughter go. Now they are both at the epitome of their laughs (their lunacy). The Joker's laugh dies out, while Batman is still laughing. No one ever laughs at his jokes (especially Batman) and his arch nemesis is hysterical because of one. It is here Joker has made the transition, the 180. Batman continues laughing but is the only one, beam of light still shining. Batman realizes that after everything that has gone down as a result of The Joker's schemes (barbara paralyzed, etc) he's here laughing at one of his jokes. He must be completely insane. He also realizes The Joker has stopped laughing, at his own joke. Next panel Batman stops laughing and gets serious. The two are now both serious, the beam is still shining. The panel after that, the light finally goes out. That's it, it's over. The Joker has made it across the beam and the two go on their journey to rehabilitation.

  22. Maybe things dont have to be that dramatic as well… They could have laughed until they fell on the ground and maybe just sat in the rain together, for just a moment… Finally… They both were not alone… Like to orphan brothers sitting in an alley watching the night rain together sharing a laugh while they are in the condition we see as "unfit".

  23. or the reason he looked at his hand is the same reason everyone looks at their hands after a blow to the head to check for blood it is quite a natural responce get hit on the head reach for the head look at hand for blood

  24. Maybe Batman's tone shift is him intoxicated enough and it's Batman laughing and realized everything… Batman knows he's gonna die and laughs as they both die!

  25. I think batman did get hit with the joker needle…. he has been exposed so many times that he built and strong resistance..which is confimed in batman beyond.

    it took time to take effect and the last joke + everything that happen was enough for the toxin to kick in thus batman kills joker.

  26. 1-This is the killing joke the joke that killed batmans hope for joker
    2-He dis stab him and then he got paralised. And at the end he woke up and The Dark Knight Returns story continues the story.

  27. I honestly feel that the poison theory makes the climax much less emotional and layered, I hope it isn’t true.

  28. I keep thinking that batman lose his sanity when joker says that joke and so he kills him becuase batman planning to kill joker wouldn't be like batman at all. However it would make sense becuase there was probably no other way to end joker's killings.

  29. the end of the KILLING JOKE is batman lauphing from the toxin pinch from jokers neadle and the cops arested joker. its opvius in the comic the police cars coming to get him, batman didnt kill joker and the storyline continus in batman HUSH comic with Barbara on the chear as ORKL helping batman!!! <pardon my spelling im from Greece ans still learning ! >

  30. LET ME EXPLAIN : The Title Of The Comic/Movie Is The Killing Joke The Joke That Joker Said At The End Had A So Deeply Dark Meaning That Killed Batman From Inside And Forced Him To Laugh And Break His Rule Batman's Rule Is To Be Serious Everytime And Joker's Rule Is "Why So Serious ?" Because When He Was A Normal Human He Was A Lame Comedian That Tolled Very Deep Jokes That If You Think Deeply Then You Will Understand But The People Never Did That Much Effort To Understand The Jokes And He Had Only One Question Why Are They So Serious Why Don't They Put A Smile On Their Faces And That Is Why Joker Was Forced To Do Drug Smuggling To Feed His Wife & Upcoming Child They He And His Wife Were Sad In Everytime , Everyday , Everynight So His Goal Was To Put A Smile On Their Faces But The Red Hood Gangsters Killed His Pregnant Wife To Force Him To Lead Them So If They Were Caught They Could Blame Him For The Crime That He Was Leading Them But After Having An Effect Of Ace Chemical Drug He Became Crazy That He Will Die Laughing He Will Always Live Laughing And Make People Laugh If They Will Not He Will Force Them To Laugh By Deadly & Dangerous Ways He Made Many People Laugh But Not Normal Laugh That Dangerous Laugh But In So Many Years He Could Never Make Batman Laugh So he Decided To End Up The Never Ending Loop That He Will Kill People Batman Will Capture him He Will Go To Asylum Again This Will Happen But In A Different Way So He Planned & First He Injected The Drug On Batman That Will Affect Him Slowly Then He Will Think A Deep Joke Matching Their Situation Because Batman Is Also A Detective So He Will Think The Joke Deeply And He Will Understand It Because Of The Drug He Will Be Forced To Laugh Remember When Batman Discovered The Element In The Ace Chemicals Drug And That Element's Symbol Was "Ha" So My Theory Is That Joker Became Crazy After Seeing Batman Laugh And Suddenly Jim Gordon Came There Arrested Joker But Remember There Are Three Different Souls In Joker's Body So One Of Them We Saw In The Killing Joke Died And Joker Became The 2nd Type Of Joker And Batman Gets In The Batmobile Gets To Batcave Heals Himself Has Bed Rest For A Week Then After Nightwing Comes New New Adventure Begin's THE END

  31. The King Joke was never meant to be canon. It was only later retroactively included as canon due to its popularity.

  32. I never understood why people think Batman would kill him, he never kills.
    Batman offering Joker mental help and sharing some sort of moment with him, just to inmediately kill him, feels out of character.

  33. I also wondered, could the joke of the inmates be also be reversed as joker could be the inmate that escaped as maybe joker view himself as being free?

  34. He didnt kill him, in Batman Hush, Batman mentions the events of the killing joke. And the joker is alive in the same comic book.

    Btw it might be an altitirnate universe but thats a bit far-fatched.

  35. Bats could just have been looking at his hand before making a fist. Some sort of symbolism before punching him? Maybe? IDK

  36. No poison, no needle. Batman punches into his chest and stops his heart completely. As you can see in the pic, bats' wrist is far into jokers chest.

  37. Whenever people say that, I always point out that we can see the white highlights of the Joker’s neck, whereas if Batman’s hands were in Joker’s neck, it would be blackened out or have a blue highlight. Plus, we can see that Batman’s arms are on Joker’s jacket. Also, we know that anybody who fell into the vat of chemicals at ace chemicals are immune to the joker venom, because in the Suicide Squad comics, Joker kidnapped Harley by using Joker venom on the guards, but since Harley was thrown in by the Joker, she wasn’t killed

  38. what if the final attempt to help joker was to share a laugh together?

    okay that would not explain why joker stop laughing but its a nice thought

  39. How do you know that the Joker is the one left behind? After all, he has been proven to be aware of the fact that he is a comic book character. Maybe Batman is the one that hasn't awakened and he is looking at his hand because he keeps coming close to awakening. He realizes that he is not in control of his own actions.

  40. What if the story doesn't start at the beginning of the comic, what if it starts a few pages in, when the Joker is "buying the amusement park". Then at the end of the comic, you see the panel with the rain. Batman, has killed the joker, and replaced him with an imposter. Then we go to the beginning of the comic with the panel of the rain and Batman entering the asylum, confronting the "joker" then saying he doesn't want his murder on his hands, with the panel of his hands with the white marks looking like what have I done. All an attempt to take suspicion off batman for committing murder.

  41. No the killing joke is a different universe because in the end of the deluxe edition there was a ending that was written by different people but the same story continuing the killing joke from the original and in the end… Batman dies

  42. Personally, I just like to believe they shared a good laugh, Joker went quietly, and Batman visited him at Arkham for movie night on Saturdays.

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