While Joker considers himself the ultimate agent of chaos, the universe disagrees, and actually chose a Justice League member for the role.
While the Joker likes to think of himself as the ultimate jester, poking fun at those who perceive any sense of meaning in the universe, it turns out that title actually belongs to a surprising Justice League antihero. Hopefully, he’ll never find out, because if there’s one thing the Harlequin of Hate won’t accept, it’s competition.
Joker considers himself the last word on humor, and finds nothing funnier than what he perceives to be the lies normal people tell to try and force some sort of order on the world around them. It’s because of this that he considers Batman – the ultimate enforcer of rules, and yet someone intimately acquainted with the world’s true chaos – the perfect straight man, endlessly tormenting the Dark Knight in the hopes of revealing him as a kindred spirit. However, while Joker would like to consider himself the fool to Batman’s king (and has even assembled a ‘royal court’ for the Caped Crusader before), it turns out that the universe actually sees a hero in this role.
In The Books of Magic #4, Tim Hunter is being tutored in his mystic potential by Mister E, following lessons from John Constantine and other magical luminaries in the DC Universe. In order to communicate the scope of magic to Timothy, Mister E takes him forward in time, and the two eventually come across the final beings in existence. Patterned after cards in the Tarot, these beings are unsure of their own origins, wondering aloud if they’re real or simply the universe reflecting core facets of reality as it folds in on itself. However, to his shock, Tim actually recognizes one of the figures as Justice League Dark’s John Constantine, aka the Hellblazer.
Dressed as the Fool and with no memories of Tim, Constantine’s final form is a true enigma. Stories at the time had suggested the Constantine line had a deep connection to magic, with a family member taking a similar role in each generation. For this and perhaps other reasons, at the very end of existence, the universe sought to express laughing chaos and skipped straight over the Joker to instead choose John Constantine.
In the Tarot, the Fool represents either spontaneity and new beginnings or chaos and an absence of judgment. Joker’s hatred of order and tendency to act without planning seemingly make him a shoo-in for the role, especially given he’s a proud agent of chaos. However, something about John Constantine makes him a better fit for the role of the cosmic jester, complete with a glowing red clown nose. Joker would like to think he’s the master of chaos, but the truth is that he’s obsessed with one person. In contrast, John Constantine has gambled with the fates of worlds, trusting his wits to circumvent any inconvenient rules and sacrificing whoever he needs to in order to escape the consequences of his actions.
When it came down to the universe’s final choice to express the parts of itself that reject the rules and embrace joyful chaos, Joker was overlooked in favor of Justice League Dark‘s John Constantine, showing that whatever the Clown Prince of Crime may think, he’s far from the DC Universe’s most significant clown.
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