Itís an average day in Metropolis: Superman
breaks out of Arkham Asylum
, overseen by Solomon Grundy, Lois Lane
is the richest, most powerful, and baldest woman
in (and owner of) the city, and Bizarro #1 is the most beloved (and destructive) hero in the city.
Well, it turns out that this is what happens when Mr. Mxyzptlk
accidentally gives most of his power to The Joker
, who creates a mind-bendingly odd world for giggles so that he will be able to kill Batman over and over and over again. Of course, in doing so heís risking tearing the fabric of reality apart at the seams, but when has he ever worried about that?
What started out as a mind-boggling inversion of everything Superman knows to be true turns into a race against time to stop the Jokerís reality warping and get the associated powers back to their rightful owner.
This comic book miniseries contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Batman The Brave And The Bold loosely adapted this storyline in one episode, with Batman instead of Superman defeating The Joker (and Bat-Mite instead of Mxy).
- And Show It To You: The Joker does this to Superman near the end. Superman survives for several minutes afterwards.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Joker, even going so far as to turn the page for the reader.
- Break the Badass: At the end, after Joker's beaten, Batman's seen huddling and weeping in horror. Superman is forced to take his memories of Joker's atrocities to heal him.
- Burger Fool: Superboy works at one of these in Joker's reign.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Satanus is completely unfazed with The Joker's take on him, chiefly because of the I Have Many Names nature of him. He also proves that he can step away from the Joker's incarnation of him very easily.
- Call Back: The story recalls the first Batman/TheHulk Cross Over, when The Shaper of Worlds gave The Joker reality-warping powers. That story ended with Batman Talking the Monster to Death just as Superman did in this story.
- Cardboard Prison: The Joker is ultimately sent to a real prison called Slabside Penitentiary, which takes pride in the fact the no one has ever escaped from it. This didn't last as during Joker: Last Laugh, after being lied to and told he has terminal cancer, the Joker engineers and pulls off a jailbreak, and subsequent stories would see Joker back in Arkham.
- Determinator: Superman offers to take Batmanís memories of being horribly killed over and over and over in order to mend his (Batmanís) utterly shattered mind. Superman was also the only being who never gave up under Joker's reign.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Mxy decides to give the Joker just 1% of his power to see what he will do with it. The Joker scams him into handing over 99%.
- Enemy Mine: Darkseid of all people tries to do this with the council known as the Quintessence, which contains his mortal enemy Highfather, because The Joker could potentially gain the Anti-Life Equation with his powers, but The Joker warped them, too.
- "End of the World" Special: At the end, the Joker destroys the universe. Mxy supervises its rebuilding.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Joker will kill Batman and everyone associated with Batman, repeatedly, with creative and horrible ways. He will eat everyone in China. He plans to destroy the universe. He will not kill Superman after heís been turned into a dog, simply because killing a dumb animal isnít funny.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Satanus invokes the trope as he kicks Superboy and Supergirl out of Hell after they've been killed - after offering a standard Deal with the Devil, he gets annoyed with Supergirl's incessant prayer and sends them back to the Joker's world, commenting there weren't many Hells worse than that.
- Fourth Wall Observer: The Joker, even more so than usual.
- God Emperor/Mad God/World Gone Mad: The Joker + Reality warping powers = this.
- Gonk: Gorgeous Gilly is ugly as sin, but uses her powers to make men fall in love with her.
- I Know Your True Name: The Joker uses this knowledge to steal Mxyís power.
- I'm a Humanitarian: When the Joker decides to have Chinese for lunch, he decides to have all billion or so of them.
- Impossibly Low Neckline: Harley looks like she's on the verge of popping out of several outfits in the first half.
- Just Toying with Them: The Joker canít not toy with Batman.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Joker's fate.
- Late Arrival Spoiler: If you bought the original monthly issues, then who exactly was responsible for this was kept secret until The Reveal halfway through, with the title of the arc being given as "Superman: Arkham!" The Emperor Joker oneshot at the halfway point was solicited as Emperor ?????. If you buy the trade, of course, it says Emperor Joker on the cover.
- Logic Bomb: Leads to the Jokerís defeat. How can he be all powerful if he canít just kill Batman once and for all?
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Joker is prepared to unmake all reality simply because it created him.
- Only Sane Man: Aside from the heroes, Joker left a single person untouched and drew him into his demented world - Lex Luthor. He was not pleased. Not pleased at all.
- Reality Bleed: Small hints of standard reality leak through the Jokerís rewoven fabric of the universe, offering the heroes hints that something—okay, everything isnít right.
- Reality Warper: As annoying as Mr. Mxyzptlk is, the Joker with his power is worse.
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy
- Rushmore Refacement: The Joker remakes the whole world in his image.
- Sdrawkcab Alias: "Rekoj Rorepme... Rekoj Rorepme... Rekoj Rorepme..."
- Shooting Superman: To Batmanís credit, in involves missiles.
- Shout Out:
- Super Empowering: To the Joker.
- Victory Is Boring: The Joker literally cannot bring himself to kill Batman once and for all, because he defines himself with Batman as his foil.
- Villainous Breakdown: The Joker, when he realizes that he literally canít exist without Batman.
- Villain World
- Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: The Joker removes Batmanís mouth. Batman communicates using Morse code and by clicking his teeth. Because heís Batman, dammit.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Joker skates close to this, deciding that any world where someone like him could happen simply shouldnít exist.
- World Shapes: In this case, a cube, with landmasses on each face shaped like the Jokerís visage.
- Writer on Board: Possibly a few early gags poking fun at organized religion were inspired by Jeph Loebís own viewpoints.