The latest trailer for the upcoming fighting game, Injustice 2, spotlights and highlights a villain a lot of people hoped would return but wasn't sure would make an appearance: The Joker. So why all the question marks over why he's back? Because he's supposed to be dead.
Within two continuities of the Batman universe, the Joker is dead. In the Injustice universe Joker is supposed to be dead, and in Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham series the Joker is dead. Well, as made evident in the trailer above that was posted up recently on the official Injustice YouTube channel, the Joker is alive and very dangerous.
So how is the clown prince of crime back at it again? Well, _spoilers ahead for those of you who didn't play the original Injustice, or only have a cursory knowledge of it, the Joker was killed in the first five minutes by Superman because he tricked Superman into killing Lois and her unborn child. Superman lost it and ripped out the Joker's heart... Mortal Kombat_ style.
Superman ended up establishing his Regime based on the Joker's actions that led to the deaths of countless innocent people. However, in the other Earth multiverse, the other Joker was still alive and still played a small part in the events that unfolded in the story of the original Injustice.
It's completely possible that the Joker we see in the trailer above is either from a different Earth dimension, or -- some are speculating in the comment section -- this is a specter or ghost of the Joker and he only appears in dreams or flashback sequences, similar to how he was portrayed in Batman: Arkham Knight.
Regardless of how well he fits into the story of Injustice 2, a lot of people are heaping a lot of praise on NetherRealm for being able to capture some element of Jared Leto's Joker from Suicide Squad without including the more unsavory aspects of his Joker, such as the ridiculous tattoos and piercings.
The jacket and color of the jacket obviously is a nod to Leto's portrayal of the character. Instead of having tattoos spread across his body, however, he has fresh blood written across his stomach that says "Ha".
There's definitely a disturbing and unhinged element to this portrayal of the Joker. He still has a cache of gadgets and gag props, but they're quite inventive, such as the prop gun that actually fires an explosive "Bang!" flag at opponents, or his combo buzzer on his hands that can be used in a variety of ways.
NetherRealm didn't just pull from Leto's Suicide Squad character for Injustice 2, though. There's also a nod to Heath Ledger's Joker portrayal from The Dark Knight, with the character in the game having a selection of different pocket knife attacks and pipe attacks, both of which were used in the film by Ledger. They even manage to throw a nod to Jack Nicholson's Joker, who relied on his green laughing gas to kill people.
And finally, Joker's super special in Injustice 2 sees the psychotic criminal strapping his opponent to the chair and taking a crowbar across their face, a nod to the very graphic and unforgettable death of Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker.
A lot of people definitely like what NetherRealm have done with the character and there are a lot of nods to both the character's comic book and silver screen adaptations.
You can look to play as the Joker in Injustice 2 starting May 16th for the PS4 and Xbox One.