Batman: The Joker’s Last Laugh

Batman: Joker's Last Laugh
Batman: Joker's Last Laugh

By various (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-84576-843-0

This is one of those good news/bad news situations that can make reading comic book collections such a trial. This six part miniseries was released at the close of 2001 and is probably one of the better tales of the Batman’s greatest nemesis, so the good news is that it’s finally assembled in one handy little tome for your perusal.

The bad news is that like with so many other company-wide events, most of DC’s regular publications (such as the Bat titles, Birds of Prey #36 or Wonder Woman #175) took some part in the extended narrative, and none of those sidebar stories are included. Mercifully, the sense of dislocation caused by incidents occurring “off-camera” is minimal here, but some choice moments of graphic zaniness are sadly lost.

The Joker is the maddest, baddest psycho-killer on Earth, but when a routine prison medical reveals that he has only weeks to live, the Clown Prince decides he’s taking the rest of the world with him and really ramps up the creative body-count. Releasing a new form of his Joker toxin that turns victims into versions of himself he’s determined to turn the entire planet into a giggling funeral pyre. With every “Jokerised” crook in the world on a killing spree it looks like we’re all going to die, and when he even contaminates the rain clouds its certain that we’ll die laughing!

Compellingly written by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty, with art by Pete Woods, Marcos Martin, Walter McDaniel, Andy Kuhn, Ron Randall, Rich Burchett, Andrew Pepoy, Mark Farmer, Alvaro Lopez, Mark Lipka and Dan Davis, this is a cracking yarn, sardonic, fun and thrilling – even without the whole story on offer. Perhaps if it sells unexpectedly well DC will issue a companion volume…

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