Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Joker: Last Laugh #6

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 7, 2001

Cover date: January 2002

Writer: Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty
Penciller: Rick Burchett
Inker: Mark Lipka and Dan Davis

"You Only Laugh Twice"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (baileyn@cc.wwu.edu)



Thinking that Robin is dead, Nightwing and Joker get insanely angry at the same time. Joker wanted to kill Robin. Nightwing wants to avenge him.

When he finds out that Robin was eaten by Croc, Joker laughs, and laments that he might not have been able to come up with anything better.

Nightwing takes off for the church to take out the Joker.

Shilo and Dina keep killing Multi-Man, looking for a way to replicate Black Mass' powers. The worm attempts to take Shilo. Shilo stops the worm.

Batman hears about Nightwing's vendetta and goes to stop him.

Joker, in an Elvis outfit, taunts him. Tells Nightwing that he is effectively committing suicide by letting Nightwing kill him.

The commissioner arrives on the scene, and demands to be allowed in the church. He tries to enter despite the barricade, and smacks into the invisible barrier. He is then informed of the situation.

Multi-Man gains the ability to reanimate dead tissue. They take him to Black Mass.

Nightwing continues to pummel Joker. Batman and company fight Jokerized villains on the outside of the church, trying to get in.

Shilo and Dina send the brain worm into the reanimated Black Mass attatched to some floss (to prevent escape and double-crossing), and they reverse the black hole, sending the Slab back to our reality, but nearer to the south pole. Martian Manhunter arrives on the scene to help and apprise them of the situation with Polaris.

Nightwing pummels again and again until Robin arrives and tells Nightwing that he hasn't died. Nightwing stops, but Joker dies. They bring him back with CPR. Nightwing stalks off, upset.

Luthor is apprised of his budget and the effects of the Joker crisis on his plans. He is also told about the Slab.

Harvey Bullock rounds up some prisoners.

Joker is placed into a cell with no windows, and given no contact with anyone.

Oracle continues to be plagued.

Story - 0: Absolute zero. No summation. Just this:

1: JOKER DID NOT DIE. You plot an entire crossover involving the DC Universe, and no one is ultimately affected, save Nightwing and the dead people, who don't care now anyway. Think we'll ever see any long-term consequences for this? Not likely. This is why I stopped reading Marvel. They did this too much. I can't believe this load of crap that they have dropped down upon our heads. A month and a half. A whole month and a half of books dedicated to axing the Joker, and they didn't even have the cojones to knock the guy off. I'm insulted.

2: THE PLOT IS CONTINUITY IGNORANT. The other books that were in on this seem so completely disassociated from the main storyline that the only thing integral they had in common was white faced goons, with their malady not quite defined. The only books to tie in, and tie in appropriately, were the Bat books, and even they were out of turn at times. Further, the book itself relies upon repetition of things that have already happened in the other books. For instance, the invisible wall we already know was there. Why did the commissioner have to walk into it? Was his crack team of cops, the same crew that helps take down Bat-villains, unable to tell him to watch his step, or at least keep him apprised of the situation. Luthor was suddenly not the President, Pete Ross was, but then he was suddenly the President again. His Jokerizing is NEVER ONCE mentioned in the series. I DON'T BUY IT.

3: NOTHING AT THE END IS BELIEVABLE BECAUSE NOTHING THAT LEAD UP TO IT IS, EITHER. Joker escapes by using the other prisoners and his own wit. Like this would ever, ever be allowed to happen in any universe, and even if it would have, we're supposed to believe that it could not be stopped by the JLA? Who save Polaris can even give the JLA pause in that group? Hell, SHILO AND DINA held them off. Other things... somehow Joker manages to infect every villain in the DCU, and yet he's nowhere near them. He's off on an island which somehow, the JLA can't find until he's gone, despite a CLOUD THAT CAN COVER THE ENTIRE NATION coming from that exact island. A FANBOY COULD HAVE FOUND THE JOKER IN TWO SECONDS USING THE INTERNET AND A SEARCH ENGINE. TYPE IN: WEATHER. FIND: BIG GREEN CLOUD. Point finger. Case closed. But add into this he is somehow able to infiltrate a greater Metropolitan area and set up shop, and a wardrobe, I might add, in a church, with an invincible force field that I'm sure nobody, nobody in the DCU could penetrate. Sure. And now we're supposed to buy that a mano-e-mano fight between Nightwing and Joker will occur before one with Batman in it? No. No no no.

4: JOKER IS NOT DEAD. That's worth another mentioning. He did not die. This is HORRIBLE. False advertising. Bad form. Ludi-fricking-ridiculous. Say, friends... what happens, typically, when the President of the United States orders you dead, and they find where you are. YOU DIE! YOU DIE QUICKLY! YOU DIE HORRIBLY! Especially when said president is LEX LUTHOR, the GREATEST CRIMINAL MASTERMIND OF OUR TIME! (and president).

5: TWO SINGULARITIES = A TWO WAY TICKET? Okay. Let's assume we can survive a black hole. Let's also assume that that black hole will suddenly take us somewhere with breathable atmosphere and with an entire prison mostly intact. Then let's say we can avoid all of the bad guys and monsters, and somehow manage to repeat the singularity that got us where we are. Then we find out that the second singularity returns us to a random place. Of the billions of billions of billions of galaxies in the universe, however, we just happen to return to the same place we starter. Oh, ten or so thousand miles south. WHAT THE %*##!?????????

6: SHILO AND NORMAN: I said it a few issues ago, I'll say it again. They're boring in this series. And what's with being able to kill again and again and again and still being the good guys? Poor Multi-Man. And before you say, there's no way the situation could have been avoided who shot Black Mass? Anti-heroes. Not worth the time.

7: THE WHOLE THING FELT CONTRIVED. I could just see DC saying... hey, "Our Worlds At War" looks locked in and tight... good buzz. What will we follow it with... hey... if it ain't broke! But guess what, guys... YOU JUST BROKE IT.

2Art - 2: It was able to tell the story, which is a good thing, but the coloring was so pale, the art so cartoonish, it was hard to take anything seriously. A fight to the death in an Elvis costume. Build that tension, baby. And there are times when background is simply omitted. These things bother me.

And a major pet peeve: Lex Luthor is not a fat, bald, middle aged business man. He is a thin, calculating genius. The Lex in this book is the Lex of 1989. Not the Lex of 2001. It's almost as bad, to me, as Lois' continually changing hair length without any explanation.

3Cover Art - 3: Not that bad, actually. Quite captivating. If it had happened at all, anywhere in the book, I would have given this a 4. The lack of the background is also an issue, but the parallel with the cover of the first issue is nice. Then, also, there is that annoying title that tells you the issue will somehow pertain to the death of a character who doesn't die, but then, heck. We can't be perfect, now. This cover was the best part of the whole issue. I expected Batman to play an integral part in the Joker death story. Go figure.


Mild Mannered Reviews

2002

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

January 2002

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