In one of DC Comics’ most twisted alternate futures it was revealed that the alleged daughter of the Joker, Duela Dent, caused a “Crisis” that led to the death of many heroes and the corruption of the Teen Titans, making Joker’s Daughter the only villain more deadly than the Clown Prince of Crime.
Duela first debuted in 1976’s Batman Family #6 as “Joker’s Daughter,” although it was presumed that she was actually the daughter of Harvey Dent, the villain Two-Face. Since then Duela Dent has undergone multiple retcons – acting as a hero, anti-hero, and straight up villain – and has been established as an unreliable narrator of her own life story, claiming to be the daughter of the Riddler, Catwoman, and other villains, before it was eventually revealed that she was actually from the alternate universe of Earth-3, and was the daughter of that world’s Jokester and Three-Face.
The terrible future where Duela became even deadlier and more deranged than her “father” the Joker takes place in the popular 2005 storyline “Titans Tomorrow” from Teen Titans #17-19, written by Geoff Johns with art by Mike McKone. In this potential alternate future for the Teen Titans the Titans have split between Titans East and Titans West, and it was eventually revealed that this split happened because of a Crisis caused by Duela Dent. This Crisis was so terrible – and led to so much death – that in the opening scenes of Teen Titans #17, Tim Drake, who is now using the Batman moniker after the death of Bruce, shoots and murders Duela using Joe Chill’s gun, showing just how much Joker’s Daughter’s Crisis has caused Tim to change and become a corrupted version of his mentor and father figure. Apparently, in a bid to win the attention and admiration of her “father,” Joker’s Daughter destroys Arkham Asylum, and when the Joker rejects his “daughter’s” attempts at connection she goes on a rampage, killing Bette Kane, Cassandra Cain, and Alfred Pennysworth in a fit of rage. This led to the “Crisis” discussed in “Titans Tomorrow,” where Bruce was apparently killed, which caused Tim Drake to systematically murder all of Batman’s villains, one by one.
It is a bold statement to say that Duela Dent is even more deadly and horrifying than the Joker, but this sentiment is first shared by Renee Montoya in Teen Titans #17, telling former Commissioner Gordon that “She’s worse,” after he claims that she is just like her father. While the Joker has killed allies of Batman before – most famously his second Robin, Jason Todd – he has always stopped at killing Bruce himself, and his actions have rarely created the ripple effect of terror and corruption that is seen in the world of “Titans Tomorrow” following Duela’s Crisis. It has been shown time and time again that the Joker has always needed Batman, preventing him from killing Bruce, so in some ways Joker’s Daughter can do what Joker never could, and even though it is not confirmed if Dent was directly responsible for Bruce’s death, it is clear that the fallout from the Crisis is what killed him. It is also incredibly shocking that Duela was able to kill Cassandra Cain, one of the few heroes in the Batman Family that Bruce confidently believes could defeat him in a fight, proving not only Duela’s deadly nature, but also her capacity to defeat skilled heroes.
The Joker has always loved a deadly villainous plan, but Joker’s Daughter’s reign of terror was able to topple most of Gotham’s heroes and villains – corrupting many of this timeline’s Teen Titans – making this alternate future version of Duela Dent even deadlier and more dangerous than her supposed father.
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