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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 07/15/2008

The Countdown: The Joker Gets The Last Laugh

By Michael Cavna

The Joker: The head that can't be shrunk. (DC Comics)

As we here at Comic Riffs eagerly await Friday's cinematic release of the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight," we are spending this week counting down the top five Joker moments of all time:

Countdown to "Dark Knight': Top Joker Moment No. 4...

The moment: In Frank Miller's comic "The Dark Knight Returns," Batman comes out of retirement many years past his prime to once again try to bring justice to the streets of Gotham.

The full story: Set 20 years into the future in a media-obsessed world, Batman's return is considered big news. Especially to the Joker who has spent the past 10 years in a catatonic funk. Motivated by the return of his greatest enemy, the Joker somehow convinces his shrink that he's finally sane and wants the world to know. So the Joker appears on a late-night talk show and proceeds to kill everyone in the studio while escaping the authorities. Batman goes after the Joker in a rage, realizing that if he had killed him a long time ago, a lot of pain and suffering could have been avoided. But when Batman finally gets his gloves around the Joker's chalky white neck, he still can't bring himself to cross that fatal line. The Joker, disappointed that Batman still couldn't do the deed, decides to finish the job, twisting his broken neck and killing himself in an attempt to frame Batman for murder.

What lines and moments can't you forget? Share them in the comments section.

--David Betancourt

By Michael Cavna  | July 15, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Superheroes  
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