Monday, December 22, 2008

Joker's Last Laugh TPB

This trade collected "Joker's Last Laugh" #1-6

Overall- This is one of those comic books/trade paper backs where I knew the outcome of the story(or so I thought)before I picked it up, but I wanted to actually read it myself. Trust me, that will make a lot more sense before I'm finished with this review(maybe). I read this EARLY this morning, so I may be missing specifics to the story(me brain work no good in morning).

Basically, one of the Joker's prison doctors tells Joker that he has an incurable brain tumor, and that in short order, he'll be dead. Since he only has so much time left on Earth, Joker decides he wants to go out in a bang, and he "Jokerizes" every criminal locked in the prison with him. By "Jokerize", I mean that he sprays them with his Joker gas(that sounds disgusting!), which turns them as insane, and apparently pale as Joker himself. From there, Joker breaks out, and sends his horde of super-powered Jokers out into the world to cause as much destruction as they possibly can.

Next, Joker decides he wants to leave an heir behind, so he sends some of his minions after Harley Quinn. Thankfully, Joker's hordes don't manage to capture Quinn, who isn't interested in having a kid with Joker out of wedlock(OOOOK...). Joker decides to step up his plans by creating a huge amount of his Joker gas and sending it into the atmosphere, where it begins to rain down onto the U.S.

After Joker does this, we find out the doctor who told Joker he was going to die was lying to him, and only said it to get back at the Joker for all of his evil pranks/jokes. Armed with this information, Batman decides to track down Joker and tell him he wasn't dying. Batman figured Joker would stop the mass destruction if he knew he would live to kill again another day.

Before Batman can reach Joker, who has holed himself up at a cathedral in Gotham, Nightwing discovers that thanks to Joker, Killer Croc killed and ate Robin. Nightwing decides enough is enough, and approaches the cathedral to face down Joker. Joker instructs his lackeys to allow Nightwing inside, because Joker's master plan is to have someone in the Bat-family kill him, thereby corrupting them, since Joker figured he was a dead man already. Nightwing attacks Joker, and the 2 battle for a while, with neither gaining the advantage, that is until Joker begins to push Nightwing's buttons, by proudly taking credit for killing not one but 2 Robins.

Joker begins to reference Jason Todd by name, and Nightwing snaps and begins to beat the Joker to death with his bare hands. Robin, who obviously wasn't eaten by Killer Croc, rushes over to Nightwing and tells him to stop beating on Joker. Nightwing stops, but apparently, he managed to fulfill Joker's wishes, because Joker is stone cold dead. Batman, Huntress and Spoiler arrive, and Batman(or Huntress)manages to resuscitate Joker, thereby preventing Nightwing from becoming a killer.

In the end, S.T.A.R. Labs manages to create an antidote to Joker's toxins, and everybody is cured of their "Jokerization"(wow, what a word!). Joker is locked back up, but this time he is locked away from all of the other inmates and placed in 24 hour solitary confinement, which is probably the worst possible punishment for a sociopath like the Joker.

This TPB was OK, but I really felt that I was missing ALOT of the story here. I guess that makes sense, since this storyline crossed over into practically every DC comic book at the time. Still, there were some important scenes that were left out of this TPB, including whatever happened between Killer Croc and Robin. Robin's "death" was instrumental in pushing Nightwing over the edge and really should have been shown in this TPB.

Like I said, I really felt like there were large, gaping holes in this story, which I guess were filled in in the various DC comic books that took part in this crossover. So, although I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nightwing beat Joker to death(come on, we all know he deserves a lot worse than that!), I can't really score this TPB much higher than a 6 out of 10. Reading this was kind of like only watching the second half of a movie. By the end, I knew what had happened, but I was never really sure how we got there...

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