Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #770

Action Comics #770

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 30, 2000

Cover date: October 2000

2000 Shield No. 42

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Kano
Inker: Marlo Alquiza

"He Who Laughs Last"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Superman screams as the Joker defeats the JLA without lifting a finger. His teammates lie broken and defeated, leaving him alone to stand against Joker. Superman tries to convince Joker's JLA that Joker is going to kill them all, but Joker goes right on. Locking Batman in a birdcage, Joker knocks Superman unconscious and leaves.

Lois sits alone thinking, trying to figure out why she is so obsessed with Superman. Joker comes in and tells her about his plans to end the universe, but she continues to think about Clark.

Batman and Superman hang, staked to a stone wall. Superman asks Batman how they can stop Joker. Batman responds that they have to kill him. Superman refuses to accept this, but before he can ask Batman what else they can do, the Dark Knight is consumed by vultures.

Meanwhile, Mxyzptlk and Luthor work to sway Joker's henchmen. They succeed in convincing Lois, Ignition, Enigma, and Bizarro that Joker is going to end everything. Harley goes straight to Joker to find out why he is doing this. Of all things, Joker wants to replace the chaos in the galaxy with order, so people like him will never even happen. Then he smiles at her and makes her disappear, putting stars in the sky for her. As he looks at the sky, suddenly a huge blast consumes the Emperor. His JLA emerge, having destroyed their leader. Or not, as Joker's head appears over the horizon.

Still hanging from the wall, Lois leans close to Superman and tells him that she doesn't believe in him, but she begs him to make her believe in him. Suddenly a huge Joker slams down next to the couple. He lifts his foot again and smashes down, flattening Superman. Joker begins to kill Lois, but then Superman bursts through his body. As Joker splits down the middle, Superman catches Lois. She touches his face, and is restored to her real self, as she dies in his arms.

Joker punches Superman, sending the hero sprawling. As the two launch into space, Mxyzptlk uses the last of his power to do something. Superman flies through space, propelled by Joker's punch. As he comes to a stop, Mxy appears and tells him that to beat Joker he has to play by his rules. Joker must really be playing by some rules. Mxyzptlk disappears and Joker appears, flicking Superman across the void. Superman grabs the Joker and throttles the villain. Superman tells Joker that he is bound by his own rules, right before he punches Superman through the stomach, tearing out his heart. Superman bends over, dying. He looks up at the smiling Dark Knight, hanging from Joker's neck, and realizes what the rules are.

White elephants. No matter what, he can't get rid of Batman. No matter how many times he kills him he always brings him back. Joker denies this and erases Batman, only to have him reappear. Joker is out of control. He needs Batman to exist, and no matter how hard he tries he cannot get rid of him. Joker kneels in defeat before Batman and Superman.

Superman, Mxyzptlk, and the Spectre stand triumphant. They have rebuilt the universe, repairing all of the damage that Joker did to it. Despite the fix, Batman is not all right. Bruce is a destroyed man. He has been through too much to go on. The only way to repair the damage is to give the memories of all the deaths Joker put him through to another, willing host. Superman agrees.

In the Daily Planet building Lois and Jimmy talk when suddenly Lois disappears from her chair. Flying over Metropolis, Superman and Lois embrace.

In the Slab, Superman and Batman check in on the Joker. Batman doesn't remember a thing. In his cell, Joker slowly mumbles over and over, "rorepme rekoj...", as the Spectre dwells within his mind. 5Story - 5: This was a great ending to the story. We get to see Superman beat up Joker, and then outsmart him, and then fix the universe. Now some might complain that this was just a cheap Elseworld's gimmick, but there are going to be long lasting effects, including Bizarro reappearing.

4Art - 4: Typical Kano, great stuff. I guess there really isn't much else to say, except that the Batman pages at the end were very well done.

3Cover Art - 3: For the ending of a huge epic like this one, the cover could have been better. Superman hasn't worn the black for a while now, and the dialogue on the cover just doesn't look right. An average cover that takes away from an otherwise great issue.

Other recent reviews:

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic was on sale.

January 2000

February 2000 March 2000 April 2000 May 2000 June 2000 July 2000 August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 Annuals

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2000.