Martian Manhunter Tried Healing Joker’s Insanity:
The Joker is the most twisted character in the history of comic books. His insanity is his superpower. And whoever tries to get near him either ends up being infected and ultimately a psychopath like Harley Quinn did or dead like the rest of the folks who crossed path with the Clown Prince of Crime. But is there a cure for the Joker’s Madness? That is the billion-dollar question. The Justice League tried to find it. The Joker always keeps coming back no matter what the Justice League throws at him. To end his reign of terror, the League believed that the only way to end the Joker’s rampage was to cure him of his insanity. And they employed the Martian Manhunter to do the job. Believe it or not, even one of the DC Universe’s most powerful telepath could not do it.
The Joker is known to go to any length, no matter how extreme it might be, to do his bidding. He is suicidal, maniacal crazy, violent, psychopathic, and full-on insane. Nobody knows what really goes inside his head. Even for a person who can read minds and manipulate thoughts, it is a road best left forgotten. The Martian Manhunter though is not someone who is unfazed this easily. The Alien Superhero from the Red Planet actually managed to get inside the Joker’s head and find a cure. What he thought was a permanent fix turned out to be a temporary solution. What was even worse than the Joker’s insanity acted like a virus. It infected Martian Manhunter’s mind and made him go crazy in return.
So much for trying to rid the world of the Joker!
Grant Morrison, Howard Peter, Gary Frank, Greg Land, John Dell, and Ken Lopez came up with the JLA Limited arc. In that storyline, the Injustice Gang led by Lex Luthor comes into conflict with the Justice League of America. Lex Luthor has a trump card. He has in his possession something called the Philosopher’s Stone. The stone has reality-warping powers that Lex uses to fight the League. After a difficult battle, the Justice League manages to defeat Lex Luthor and retrieve the Philosopher’s Stone. While on their way to give it back to Metron, it is shown that the Stone in the Justice league’s possession is actually a fake one! The real Philosopher’s Stone is in the hands of the Joker. And to get it out of his grasp would require the League to do something totally unorthodox. They need to cure the Joker of his madness.
The Joker has other plans for the world though. He is big on leaving his impression on the world, “changing” it for the better. Joker’s plan is to use the reality-altering powers of the stone to create a massive earthquake that will shift the tectonic plates in a way that there will be a huge crack on the Erath’s crust from Latin America to Asia. When seen from space, it will look like a massive grin. His act would kill countless innocent people but the Joker could not care less. So in order to stop him, Martian Manhunter comes forward to use his powers to manipulate minds. He gets inside the Joker’s head and actually manages to heal him from the inside.
When the Joker comes to his senses, the first words he utters are:
“What have I been doing with my life?”
He goes on to say,
“I’ve been insane….oh my god what have I done?”
While that did end up wowing the fans, the joke was on Martian Manhunter. The DC Universe’s most powerful telepath was too proud of his abilities. When inside Joker’s head, he started rerouting the information reaching and being processed inside his brain. But he could only do so much. The Joker’s Mind was like a Cosmic Storm that never knew when to stop. It kept changing and was in a state of extreme flux, as the center of a Black Hole. It took his entire mental strength to keep Joker Sane. Sadly the Joker could not be fixed. His constantly changing mindscape pushed Martian Manhunter out and pale-skinned fellow again returned to his Clown Prince of Crime self.
The act looked like a miracle. But there would be repercussions. Martian Manhunter played with powers he himself was not aware of. And it came back to bite him with a vengeance soon enough. The Rock of Ages story arc showed shows the Justice League again coming at odds with the Injustice Gang. The League meets their nemesis in battle and surprisingly, they are not members of the Injustice Gang. The chaos is being caused by them-selves. To be precise, the League Members encounter their mirror copies. These mirror copies are made out of pure light and can mimic all their powers.
Lex Luthor has done it again. Using that big, bald beautiful brain of his, he came up with a plan to take down the Justice League by making their biggest strengths their greatest weaknesses. The Injustice Gang has two members that go by the name of Doctor Light and Mirror Master. Doctor Light has light manipulation powers and Mirror Master can manipulate an extra-dimensional space of energy called the Mirror Verse. Combining both their powers, Lex Luthor developed a technique to create Sentient Hard Light Copies. Luthor instructs the Injustice Gang to set up a tarp aboard an orbiting satellite. Superman and Martian Manhunter end up being caught in the satellite’s maze.
What is even more interesting is that the maze that Luthor has built has one particular characteristic. It is built to mimic the constantly changing ‘Raging Cosmic Storm’ Mind of Joker. As a result, the Maze is practically inescapable since it is constant flux. Both superheroes grow ever more impatient. In the end, it is the multi-talented telepath superhero Martian Manhunter who comes up with a solution. In order to beat this Joker maze, he needs to think like him. Since he is already aware of how the Joker’s mind works, he could manipulate his own mind to think in the same way. Martian Manhunter becomes so fascinated with the way the Joker’s mind works that he ends up rewiring his brain to think like him.
In the end, Martian Manhunter becomes a crazy supervillain.
The story essentially makes use of Superman’s two greats weaknesses apart from Kryptonite: Telepathy and the Mystic Arts. Without the Martian Manhunter turning his mind into that of the Joker, Superman would have been forever lost inside this maze. In the end, it reveals Lex Luthor’s grand plan. He wants to wipe out the Justice League and pick up whatever is left of it. What he actually wants is to use the Injustice Gang for a corporate takeover of the Justice League, something, not even the Injustice Gang’s other members know about.
It really is a story where Grant Morrison runs high on imagination. Ocean Master summons a huge tsunami that destroys San Fernando Valley. Circe fools around with Connor Hawke aka the then Green Arrow. Both end up sleeping together. The entire arc runs in two parallels. The Injustice Gang is based on mistrust and miscommunication. The Justice League runs on teamwork and transparency. What is perhaps the greatest highlight of the arc was how Martian Manhunter tried curing the Joker and faced serious consequences in the end.
The last movie to be released under the DC banner was Joker. The official film synopsis for the movie reads:
Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks — the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.
Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things