Even imagining that the Joker is scared of anyone is kind of disturbing since it would mean that there’s actually someone worse out there in Batman’s orbit that the clown prince of Gotham can’t handle. The Phantasm can’t be that bad, can she? Apparently the answer to that one is yes since it would appear that the Joker is seeking assistance, or perhaps asylum, from Batman given that the Phantasm is seeking Joker to kill him, and Catwoman isn’t bound to be much help either. No matter how the comic is supposed to go however it does feel kind of awkward to think that the Joker might be afraid of anyone to this degree, that he would go to his arch-nemesis in order to procure some form of protection. For a lot of fans, it does sound like something that might be enticing to read, but to some, it might sound as though the Joker is getting soft in his advancing years since at one point and time it’s easy to think that he might have gone toe to toe with the Phantasm if only to prove who was more dedicated to the chaos that they were both able to bring to the game. The idea that anyone could possibly unnerve the Joker to such a degree makes it possible to think that the Phantasm either brought back some of the Joker’s humanity somehow and made it possible for him to be genuinely fearful, or it’s a clever ploy that allows Batman to try to take out a competitor and gets Joker even closer to his old enemy.
Okay, so the last part of that theory isn’t the best since it kind of indicates that Batman wouldn’t be super-prepared for such a thing, but it does end up looking as though Joker is actually fearful of the Phantasm, which isn’t something that a lot of people are going to agree with since with the Joker there’s always some angle that people aren’t seeing since he’s a complex character that has simplistic drives at times. To think that he’s afraid of anyone is to make people think that he has a serious flaw, among other flaws that he might already have, and that could make the character appear a bit lesser in the eyes of some. But it’s an interesting twist to the narrative to be honest, since thinking that the Joker can genuinely fear anyone is something that a lot of folks might never have guessed was possible since he’s rarely ever shown fear on that kind of level. He’s definitely been concerned and even worried, but fear isn’t something that a lot of people associate the Joker with for various reasons.
To be fair though, the Phantasm is kind of like Batman but without the supposedly strict set of morals that keeps the dark knight in check. Just imagine someone that deadly and that prepared to be a villain, and then you might understand why just about anyone would be afraid of such an individual. When one really thinks about it, superheroes could be terrifying if they had no moral or ethical code of conduct since a lot of them are so insanely powerful that they could probably disrupt the entire world if they really put their mind to it. Villains in the comics are a huge threat since a lot of them want world domination, anarchy, and a society that’s beholden to them and to their ideals. But if heroes decided to let loose on people it feels as though things would be even worse since some of them might turn into real despots that would enforce the kind of law that people are so afraid of. There are times when thinking about what a hero would do versus what someone like the Joker would do aren’t too far in-between since the Joker is all about chaos, meaning that he should be embracing just another chance to sow discord among Gotham and give Batman another challenge to face in their long-running history that the dark knight would probably figure out but would still need a moment with.
But painting the Joker as afraid of someone is definitely a different move that doesn’t happen all time and is kind of an interesting development that fans might get a kick out of and could possibly work with given a bit more story. Things do change in the comics occasionally even if they end up changing back to the way they used to be sometimes by dint of storylines being revisited and characters re-evaluated. How this development might turn out is anyone’s guess, but it could be something that might be interesting to look at moving forward since it’s something that probably wasn’t fully expected, but it’s something that will need to be deal with.