Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I know I read this issue back in the day, but I'm not sure I had a copy myself; and it occurred to me when I bought this that it's now further removed from the date of its publication than it had been from the hokey Silver Age stories this reboot was supposed to leave behind...from 1987, Superman #9, "To Laugh and Die in Metropolis" and "Metropolis 900 MI" Both stories written and penciled by John Byrne, inks by Karl Kesel.

Aside from the cover, this one's probably more remembered for the second story than the main feature with the Joker. It's basically "Lex Luthor's Indecent Proposal," as Lex propositions a young waitress with a million dollars to come to Metropolis with him for a month. Lex isn't really interested in the waitress, and doesn't even stick around for her decision; this is just to be a dick. Which...was that supposed to be Luthor's main character trait, post-reboot? I thought he was more about getting that respect he thought he deserved, not just simple cruelty.

Anyway, in the main story the Joker takes a vacation to Metropolis, figuring tangling with a "muscle-bound clod like Superman is like taking a vacation!" Of course, he's in jail about a minute later. Byrne was still setting the boundaries of Superman's powers here, as he walks away from a nuclear bomb explosion, point blank; and he corrects "a popular misconception" about his x-ray vision. He can't see through lead, sure, but that just makes it stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Re-reading this, the Joker's gimmick here, a Superman android with Joker-gas jets, a remote-controlled hand, and internal nuclear self-destruct; seem a little out of character. More up Toyman's alley. In Batman's comics, if the Joker got his hands on a nuke, it would be a much bigger deal than this issue!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I've been aware of both stories, especially the Lex one, but never knew of the details about the Joker one until now. His appearance really should've been treated as more of a big deal, especially since he was in possession of a nuke. Yes in Batman's book, it would've been treated as more of a big deal, which makes me think back to during Jason Todd's death, when the Joker teamed with Iran to get diplomatic immunity, and how long it took to roll that one back.

Joker with a nuke in a Superman book....shades of what would later happen during that whole Injustice storyline, huh?

As for Lex, I figure while he's not above cruel mindgames like this, you'd think he was only doing this as an ego boost because he was having a bad day or something, not just for the random hell of it. Then again, this is Lex Luthor we're talking about.