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Comic Book / Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds

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Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds is a 1995 alternate continuity one-shot crossover (though not under the Elseworlds label) written by J. M. DeMatteis.

Spider-Man and Batman team up to stop The Joker and Carnage. It was followed by Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning in 1998 which featured Ra's al Ghul and The Kingpin.

Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds provides examples of:

  • Big Bad Ensemble: Carnage and the Joker. They briefly try for a Villain Team-Up, but their radically different styles of villainy (Carnage prefers to just kill; Joker prefers theatrics) mean they end up butting heads fast and pursuing their own goals separately.
  • Bystander Syndrome: While swinging around Gotham, Spidey spots a woman being menaced by a lunatic and takes note of how people seem to be going out of their way to avoid getting involved.
  • Catapult Nightmare: At the beginning of the story, both Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne wake up in this manner after a recurring nightmare.
  • Composite Character: The comic heavily implies that the Joker was the burglar who shot Uncle Ben and Cletus was the mugger who gunned down the Wayne parents.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Carnage lays a trap for the Joker by faking his own death using a corpse that he's covered in a replica of his suit, but Batman surprises Spider-Man by noting he was aware of "the Maximum Carnage affair" in which Cletus tried the same trick.
    • DC vs. Marvel has the Joker bump into the new Spider-Man (Ben Reilly). Mistaking him for the original, Joker notes that he's "changed tailors since last we tangoed."
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • The Joker isn't turned into confetti by Carnage because he has a quick escape readied.
    • Batman has researched Spidey's enemies quite thoroughly.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Joker was able to give Carnage the runaround, but he's still a baseline human who, upon being cornered by Spider-Man, gets taken out by a single pulled punch.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When the Joker and Carnage have a falling out, the Joker humiliates Cletus with a number of slapstick gags.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Alfred brings Batman a tray of finger sandwiches. Bruce proceeds to ask Alfred if he remembers what he used to do with his finger sandwiches when he was a kid.
    Alfred: Indeed I do. I spent three days plunging that toilet.
    Batman: Exactly. I'll pick up something while I'm out.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Joker finds Carnage tasteless and disgusting while Carnage is freaked out by the Joker's willingness to pull a Taking You with Me simply out of spite. Also, the Joker found Kasady's desire to get straight to killing boring and Kasady hated the Joker's fondness for theatrics.
  • Eviler than Thou: Carnage and the Joker get along great (as Carnage puts it, they both "get the joke" that life is meaningless and madness is the only sane responsenote ) up until it comes time for them to enact an Evil Plan, at which point they begin arguing over how to go about doing it. Carnage just wants to Paint the Town Red, something which the Joker derides as being both lazy and boring, while Carnage calls the Joker's plot (tainting charitable donations with a Hate Plague that'll activate when the gifts are opened on Christmas morning) too slow, contrived, and impersonal.
    Carnage: Stupid plans! Stupid man! So you spread your little plague... and then the people of Gotham start to go insane and—eventually—die slow and horrible deaths! What a monumental waste of time! The fun of killing, you moron, is in the immediacy! In hearing them plead for mercy as you stand over their bloody bodies... peeling off their skin!
    Joker: Blecchh! How utterly distasteful—and gross, too!
    Carnage: I thought you had the stomach for death, Joker. Guess I was wrong.
  • Flashback Nightmare: The story opens with Peter and Bruce having nightmares about their respective origins, highlighting their similarities and differences.
  • Foreshadowing: Carnage and Joker's incompatibility is initially hinted at when the former ready to kill the latter for his antics (slashing his suit just to look better), but reminds himself that he broke Joker out for some good old mass murder. Later, he's decided to kill Joker for his antics, deciding he's just not worth it.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul:
    • Briar's implant turns the Joker into a timid pushover who is unable to even look people directly in the eye.
    • Subverted in Cletus Kassady's case: the Carnage symbiote short-circuits the chip the moment she implants it into Kassady, and he spends his time faking this action until Briar's too caught up in her own successes to see it coming.
  • Hate Plague: The Joker tries to unleash one on Gotham, first through infected bats and later through tainted Christmas donations.
  • Latex Perfection: Bruce perfectly disguises himself as a guard by wearing a uniform and a mask over his Batsuit and cowl.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Batman is dismissive and dickish towards Spider-Man, telling him to stay out of his way and to get out of town. They tussle briefly, with Spidey showing off his superhuman strength to flip Batman away, while the latter hunches over ready to counter Spidey's next move. Spidey eventually wears Batman down by proving he's not going anywhere and is going to help whether he likes it or not. Batman grows to like Spidey's pragmatism (if not his tendency to be a Motor Mouth) and even apologizes for his earlier behavior, which could be chalked up to his last crossover being with The Punisher.
  • The Men in Black: It's never said what specific agency Cassandra Briar works for, other than it's one with powerful enough connections to authorize her project and free access to the maniacs she uses as guinea pigs even with the people in charge of both asylums being completely against it.
  • Morality Chip: Cassandra Briar has specialized chips installed inside both Carnage and Joker's brain to pacify them and effectively destroy the men they once were. However, Briar didn't realize that the symbiote takes over once Cletus was sealed up and allows him to play opossum.
  • No-Sell: As Carnage pointed out, the moment he was sealed up from his lobotomy, the symbiote had easily deactivated the chip controlling him.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Joker won't let Carnage kill Batman.
  • Original Generation: Doctor Cassandra Briar was created for the crossover and has no counterpart in either mainline Marvel or DC.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Well, as pragmatic as someone like Carnage can be, anyway. He prefers to just kill, without Joker's theatrics.
  • Shout-Out: "I'll pick up something while I'm out." Alfred's Happy Meal snark may be a jab at the film's Product Placement — doubly so since the original was an ad for Burger King.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Ashley Kafka believes that even monsters like Carnage and the Joker can be reached and rehabilitated, while Cassandra Briar is of the opinion that they're the worst that humanity has to offer and that there's no hope for them outside of what amounts to a high-tech lobotomy. And while Jeremiah Arkham doesn't go that far, he does mention that it would probably be best for everyone if the Joker was locked away for the rest of his life. Batman doesn't offer a specific opinion, but while Spider-Man isn't sure if Kafka's right about being able to reach Kasady's humanity he does feel that they can't just give up on people like Briar's implying.
  • Smug Snake: Cassandra Briar, with a large helping of What Could Possibly Go Wrong? regarding experimenting on, exhibiting and then transporting two of the most dangerous psychos in history, one of which is is the host of an unpredictable alien organism.
  • Take Me Instead: Batman tries this with Carnage when he takes Briar hostage, but Cletus blows him off while explaining that he doesn't care who his victims are - to him, offing a completely random bystander would be just as gratifying as killing a legendary hero like the Caped Crusader.
  • Villainous Fashion Sense: When Joker is cured of his high-tech lobotomy, he's disgusted by the plain brown suit he's wearing, and uses Carnage's own claw to slash it up. This is also the reason the team-up between the two falls apart as the Joker's flair for the dramatic clashes with Carnage's desire to simply kill people.
  • Villainous Friendship: The Joker and Carnage initially forge one, greatly enjoying each other and referring to each other as friends. It ends however when they get into an argument over their preferred methods of mass murder; Carnage just wants to slaughter everyone mindlessly, while Joker prefers to kill people in style.
  • Villainous Harlequin: The Joker starts out wearing a jester suit, though after meeting Carnage he ditches that look in favor of one of his trademark purple suits.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cassandra Briar disappears from the plot completely after Spidey and Batman rescue her from Carnage halfway through with no mention made on whether or not she and her implants have lost all credibility as a result of his No-Sell of the treatment.
  • What You Are in the Dark: After Batman tells Spider-Man that he didn't need his assistance, Spider-Man is about to go back to New York when he sees a woman about to be mugged.
    "Sorry, Batman. It may be your city, but it's my conscience."
  • Worf Had the Flu: Being blown up and thrown into a panic by the Joker threatening to kill them all disorients Carnage to the point that Batman is able to bring him down with nothing but Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Ashley Kafka is depicted with longer hair and wearing glasses. Making it weirder is that Bagley has drawn Kafka before, including during The Clone Saga.