— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) August 18, 2020
In recent times, the left’s been coming up with anti-conservative use for phrases like “punch a nazi”. That may not exactly be what writer/artist Tom Taylor used in Injustice: Year Zero, as reported by Men’s Health, but it sure sounds built along the same lines:
As Batman’s arch-nemesis and perhaps the world’s most infamous fictional supervillain, the Joker is plenty evil. He’s a psychopath, a murderer, and just a straight up agent of chaos. We know this—we’ve seen him in Batman, and The Dark Knight, Joker, and hell, even Suicide Squad. And that’s not even counting the endless comic, animated series, and video game depictions of the character. But as a new DC Comics story makes patently clear, even this universally-known madman has a line he won’t cross: Nazism.
“I’m an American, I [CENSORED] hate Nazis,” Joker says in a panel from Injustice: Year Zero #4 teased by writer Tom Taylor. “I’m a homicidal maniac, not a traitorous bigot.”
Injustice: Year Zero is a spin-off of the Injustice video game series of the same name that began back in 2013. Year Zero is a prequel story that at times flashes back to World War II. In the issue of note, the Joker and fellow supervillain Harley Quinn are being told a flashback story when the Joker shows impatience, wanting to skip to the parts where the Nazis get killed.
The same Injustice game where Superman becomes something of a deadly maniac himself, right? Ugh. And now, it looks like, if the following says something, political metaphors have gotten even worse:
The statement that anyone “hates Nazis” shouldn’t be a hot take, nor should it feel politically charged. But recent years have seen the rise of white nationalism in America, and heinous incidents like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia back in 2017 brought hate groups very much back into the national spotlight.
The character of the Joker, too, has become embroiled in the ongoing discourse; when Joker was released last fall, the movie became a magnet for controversy due to many seeing it as a calling to incels, and with the potential to incite violence. Which makes it even more compelling that it was the Joker—not Lex Luthor, not Harley Quinn, and not any other super famous supervillain—who openly and unobjectionably decried Nazis.
For all the people pointing out the hideous things the Joker has done.
Yes. He’s a hideous, toxic, murdering villain. We know.
I’m no fan of the Joker.
But your constant, clearly coordinated, often vile, homophobic and racist attack messages keep missing the fact he’s fictional.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) August 22, 2020
So now they’re perpetuating that ill-advised slur “incel”, they’re even using a much too easy tactic of claiming the film encourages violence, without actually asking whether it’s a healthy premise to spotlight a homicidal villain, or whether darkness is healthy for anybody. Another hypocrisy is that they’d never admit Antifa, now busy destroying Portland, Oregon, is basically a white hatemongering group. That aside, what they really seem unconcerned about, is whether the setup is a political metaphor for claiming conservatives, even if not National Socialists, are still deadly.
But they do admit the premise by Taylor has its predecessor:
As ComicBook.com describes, the Joker previously expressed a similar sentiment in a Batman & Captain America crossover series back in 1997, when the two heroes teamed up to fight their two supervillains, Joker and Red Skull.
The series, written and illustrated by John Byrne, includes a scene where the Joker realizes that Red Skull actually believes in Nazism, and isn’t just wearing the garb to seem tough. “That mask must be cutting off the oxygen to your brain,” Joker told Red Skull in the series. “I may be a criminal lunatic, but I’m an American criminal lunatic.”
Even if Byrne’s cross-company special didn’t set out to be political, I think it’s honestly a tasteless premise, and considering the career the Clown Prince of Crime built up, which was just as murderous as Red Skull’s, that’s why the whole notion a villain like the Joker would have an issue with National Socialism is a snoozer. Not that Byrne hasn’t written stories in questionable taste before, but the 1997 special has got to be one of the crummiest ideas in his portfolio by far. As this new variation on the older story is in Taylor’s. Since the Joker’s a violent, lethal maniac, it makes little difference whether he claims he’s against nazism when he embraces the same mentalities they went by.
If Daredevil foil Bullseye were depicted this way, it wouldn’t be any better.
But Tom Taylor does like to insert his politics wherever he can.