It may not appear so, but the Joker is eager to give credit where credit is due. The Clown Prince of Crime exposes the one persona that completely outnumbers him in popularity in The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #4.
However, in Joker’s opinion, one character outnumbers him in popularity. Hell is breaking loose in a hospital in The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #4 by Matthew Rosenberg, Carmine Di Giandomenico, & Franceso Francavilla, thanks partly to the Joker triggering a bomb threat to get treatment from a doctor he held hostage. Following an unplanned brain operation, the Joker attempts to navigate the hospital, which is already in panic mode and attempts to get their victims to safety. Realizing he’s stuck in the unrest and surrounded by SWAT units, the Joker flees to the hospital.
Joker narrates his movements through the structure with a familiar joke that he acknowledges is from someone far more renowned than him. He tells the Pagliacci joke from Watchmen (with his spin on the punchline), which Rorschach famously told.
The Joker Honors Watchmen’s Rorschach
It’s unexpected to hear the villain praise the Watchmen hero. But, while the Joker has seen a Rorschach, he has never met Walter Kovacs, the protagonist of the original narrative. And he never read the original joke in the first Rorschach journal. It does, however, fit Joker’s meta sensibilities to be aware of things he should not be aware of. Clearly, he understands enough about the vigilante to realize that Rorschach may have Joker beat regarding DC characters.
Watchmen is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic comics ever published by DC Comics. And, for better or worse, Rorschach is undoubtedly the most recognizable figure in the entire plot. If the Joker is truly aware of the world beyond his reality, he should be aware of his celebrity in pop culture. Despite this, he continues to assert that Rorschach outdid him in terms of fame. Maybe he’s acknowledging Watchmen’s unprecedented success, or maybe he just finds Rorschach’s role in the plot amusing. In any case, the Clown Prince of Crime has declared Rorschach the more popular DC character in The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #4, which is now on sale.