Joker’s Real Name Explains the Symbolic Meaning of His Injured Eye

Contains spoilers for Flashpoint Beyond #5!

The Joker‘s past has largely been shrouded in mystery, but a recent revelation about his original name makes the character’s recent history even better. Having an ambiguous past has helped the Joker maintain an air of mystery and chaos. But revealing the pieces of his history that the Joker has kept hidden can also add new symbolic layers to the villain that are very impactful.

Joker’s chaotic nature has led him to undergo various physical transformations that no other character would attempt. The most notable of these was in the “Death of the Family” story arc, in which he cut off his own face and then wore it like a mask. His ostensible reason for doing so was to show Batman what truly was at his core, without any pretense. But it also connected with his playing card theming as the face cards of a deck are the “royal” cards, and during that arc, he treated Batman like a king with his enemies being his retainers. His most recent physical transformation came when Harley Quinn shot him in the eye during the events of Batman #100. Initially, the symbolic meaning of this wound was unclear, but a new piece of information has given it greater depth.


In Flashpoint Beyond #5 written by Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams, and Tim Sheridan with art by Xermanico and Mikel Janin, Martha Wayne reveals that the actual name of the Joker in the main DC continuity is Jack White. This name has been one of the many that Joker has used in the past, so this isn’t the most shocking development. But it does recontextualize his loss of an eye in a very clever way, making him a literal “one-eyed jack”.

The term “one-eyed jack” is used to denote a wild card in a poker game. Of course Joker has already used a name with this connotation, as “Joker’s wild” is a common expression, but in most games the Jokers are removed from the deck beforehand, making them extraneous cards that only occasionally are relevant. Jacks are always in the deck, just like Joker is always going to be part of Gotham (even if Gotham is much more compelling without him). In addition, given that Jack is the name of Joker’s original, normal persona, it shows that his wild nature is a core part of him, not just a name that he chose.

The latest appearance of the Joker in the Joker series showed the Clown Prince of Crime with seemingly both eyes intact. This could mean that his eye has been healed somehow or that he is wearing a glass eye to keep up appearances. But this just plays into his wild nature even more, as it is unclear which explanation is correct. And he could always decide to remove his eye if the whim struck him, like how he removed his face in “Death of the Family”. All this serves to further prove that becoming a literal one-eyed jack is a perfect bit of symbolism for the Joker, as he perfectly embodies the term.

Flashpoint Beyond #5 is now available from DC Comics.

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