The Super Joke
I think this issue’s fantastic. I love the premise.
Just picture the scene: Superman –a bit pale, but otherwise the face Metropolis has learned to love and depend on – strolls down the street and into the diamond exchange. “Trouble of some kind,” the manager asks, but Superman doesn’t say anything. And then he smiles that famous smile. Except it’s not Superman’s smile, and then the Joker’s signature gas fills the room.
Seems like the Joker’s decided to pay Metropolis a visit.
Superman – the real Superman – arrives in time to arrest the fiend. Except it’s not the Joker, at least, not in flesh. Yet another trick. Whatever it is, a dummy or a robot or whatever, it’s a red herring, and it’s also an explosive. There’s only one thing to do: get it away, far away, before it can destroy Metropolis.
The bomb explodes far above the Earth’s atmosphere, and not long later Superman lands hard, dazed. Superman’s just witnessed the Joker’s opening gambit, and the game’s only just started.
This is a fantastically scripted story, and the Jokeresque Superman is one the creepiest things I’ve seen in a while. Succeeds both as a Superman and as a Joker tale, so if you like either go find this.
Note: The strength of this issue suggests that as a franchise Superman (and to be honest, virtually all other superhero franchises) lacks a villain as intriguing as the Joker. Lex Luthor, I feel, especially in his post-Byrne incarnation is a good villain. That said, it’s obviously hard to develop an interesting villain. One problem, I suspect, is a lack of developed mythology. But what else?