Joker Venom is a chemical compound used by the Joker for various purposes including paralyzing, killing or stunning people. The only common factor of the Joker Venom's variations is that it forces the victim's face to turn into a rictus grin, giving the appearance of a grotesque smile.
Joker Venom has been a part of the Joker's arsenal since his very first criminal activities. The Clown Prince of Crime would often use the Joker Venom as an indirect method to murder his victims without having to get near them. The venom is often deployed as an airborne agent, but can also be used in its liquid form.
Years later, The Joker devised different method of application of the venom. The first and best known was the trick flower but there were also variations like the spike worn in his palm (similar to a Joy Buzzer) to administer the drug in a handshake. Joker also used an altered form of his venom to change the world's most dangerous supervillains in Slabside Penitentiary into "jokerized" versions of themselves, then set them amok on the world.
After his year long absence from Gotham, the Joker began using a new variety of Joker Venom that left victims with a frown instead of a grin. He used this variety on the GCPD officers while he retrieved his face.
He is also immune to his venom, it has been said, "being an avid consumer of his products, Joker's immunity to poisons has been built up over years of dedicated abuse."
In Pre-Crisis, Joker (in both Earths One and Two) created the deadly compound; In Post-Crisis, Melvin Reipan, a Joker's deceased cousin, invented the compound, but the Joker learned how to reproduce it.
Effects and Characteristics
Contact with Joker Venom causes uncontrollable spasms of laughter, leading to a painful death. Some have speculated that the venom hyperstimulates the laughter functions of the brain and the victim is unable to breathe. It has been shown that the Joker is also capable of making Joker Venom that does not kill, or that kills much slower than normal, but with some notable exceptions he rarely uses these adaptations.
The S.T.A.R. Labs 1993 Annual Report states that Joker Venom is "a hellish mixture of hydrogen cyanide and Strychnodide (a strychnine derivative), the toxin causes immediate cessation of heart and brain functions. As a side effect, the victim's muscles contract in such a way as to severely tighten and discolor the victim's skin, especially in the facial area. This leaves the victim's corpse permanently scarred with a clown-like grin in tribute to his killer. Since the Joker Venom is just as deadly if absorbed through the pores as it is if inhaled, the Joker occasionally releases it in gas form throughout the central heating/cooling vents of a building."
- The Joker Venom has been shown to be effective post-mortem, as it would cause the corpses' faces to turn into the rictus grin.
- Joker Venom has also been used in other capacities. Maxie Zeus was known to have diluted it and mixed it with Ecstasy, marketing it as a drug called "Chuckles" which became popular at raves. Times Magazine referred to Chuckles as the worst drug epidemic since Crack in the late '80s.
- The Tim Burton-Joel Schumacher Batman movie franchise refers to it as Smylex, which is the name later given to a brand of toothpaste in the Tim Burton-directed Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
- The Joker's Body Count
- Scarecrow's Fear Toxin
- The Red Skull's "Red Skull Dust" at the Marvel Database.
- Ace Chemical Processing Plant