My biggest problem with Joker stories lately (DOTF, TDK) is that the Joker never seems to do any of his Jokerness for the sake of funny.
He would blow up a hospital because it makes him laugh.
He would try and kill the extended Bat-family because they make Batman less funny.
B&R Joker as Oberon Sexton killing the members of the Black Glove as jokes was very Joker. Joker with a cut off face thinking the Bat-family makes Batman weak makes me a little unsure the writer gets the character.
^ I LOVED Joker as Oberon Sexton it was SO cool and VERY in character.
After looking back at the Death of the Family storyline that ran through Batman, I have come to realise that my original position of the problem being Scott Snyder's writing was wrong. I have worked out that my problem is with the Joker. And it's not how he was written in the Snyder story.
I realise now I cannot stand the Joker anymore.
I am firmly of the opinion that the Joker should have been killed off as a character when he died in Arkham City. And I, like many others, think that Heath Ledger's deserved Oscar winning performance in The Dark Knight was the definitive interpretation of the Joker. And to be honest, my underlying reaction to that performance was "well, where can they go to now?"
The answer was shown to me in Death of the Family. In order to top Heath Ledger and Arkham City, the Joker would have to be so over the top disgusting that the comic he appeared would become unreadable. And that story, with the rotting flesh of the Joker's face, completely unnecessary animal violence and the historic tableau using living humans was beyond any level of acceptability to me.
That was not Scott Snyder's fault, not entirely at least. It was his decision to use the Joker in a story and having the knowledge of the need to top those other two interpretations of the Joker that led him to write a repulsive story. I hope he will return to the quality of his writing in his Owls story and that the Joker is not seen for a long time, if not never again.
Heath Ledger did a good Joker. But to say there exists a definitive version of a character who constantly evolves from era to era or even issue to issue is silly. Maybe that's your favorite version of the character, but that's about it. There are people who like other versions of the character better and didn't even like TDK Joker.
The level of violence in Dotf had nothing to do with the need to top TDK's Joker. Snyder is a horror writer and that was the kind of Joker he wanted to write. It's not like it was a great leap in violence from the Black Mirror with James Jr sawing off captive's limbs and poisoning babies.
And you know there are villians that I don't like, the Al Ghuls for instance, who are prominent fixtures in Batman's rogue gallery, and I could say "where do they go from here after their upteenth world annihilation plan crapped out", but I don't go around saying they should be killed off. The amount of stories one can tell is infinite, just because you can't think of any doesn't mean no one else can either.