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Superman: Emperor Joker Paperback – January 17, 2007
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At the risk of sounding like a comic book geek let me just say that Mr. Mxyzptlk NEVER had this level of power. It's been established that the beings of the fifth dimension are ultra powerful but this is ridiculous. By usurping the magical abilities of Mr. Mxyzptlk the Joker becomes the strongest being in the universe. The Specter, the Wizard Shazam and the Guardians are mere fleas compared to Emperor Joker. I guess you could say just go with it but Loeb is REALLY stretching it. Also, this isn't the first time the Joker has had limitless powers, he did the same thing in a Superman/Spiderman team-up many years ago.
Ed McGuinness's drawings were as awesome as ever. They're kind of cartoony but he has a clean, bold style that I really enjoy. Unfortunately he only drew the first part of the story. Not that the other artists were disappointing at all. Emperor Joker is far from bad but like a 3 1/2 hour movie it just overstays its welcome. I gave `Vengeance' five stars but I'm going to have to remove two on this one. As a final kick the ending was just not good and after working through the entire book it was a major letdown.
This lunatic version of Metropolis is courtesy of the clown prince of Crime the Joker. The Joker has stolen the reality warping powers of Mr. Mxyzptlk and uses them to reshape Metropolis into a sort of Disney world on a bad acid trip with him as the emperor. The JLA have been turned into caricatures of their true selves as only the Joker could envision them. The Flab is the fastest fat man alive, the Yellow Paper Lantern wreaks havoc on the world with shadow puppets, and Wonder Woman is a housemaid who hates men. And just WHERE is Batman in all of this lunacy?
Emperor Joker plays like an Elseworlds or What If type story. It's somewhat hard to envision it in true DC continuity. The storyline allows the Joker to truly go off his rocker with his new powers. Even Mxyzptlk decides to help out Superman because he knows how dangerous a homicidal maniac will be once he gains full control of his newfound abilities. Even the Spectre is stymied.
Despite the fact that the book features four different writers and twice that many artists, there is a reasonable amount of cohesion to the story that you might not expect with so many hands in the cookie jar. The Joker's insanity factor is played to the hilt as he literally toys with all of the heroes as opposed to just killing them outright...even if he can kill them and then kill them again the next night! The violence does border on the sadistic, particularly in regards to Joker's treatment of Lex Luthor and Batman. The story doesn't take the easy way out either as both Batman and Superman are left with some very troubling issues to deal with at the end while the rest of the world has mercifully forgotten the whole ordeal. Bizarro is a scream in his role as the good guy, so to speak, and his dialog throughout is hilarious.
Emperor Joker was a bit too long and bogged down in a few spots, but the eclectic blend of characters always managed to make things fun after the short lulls.
Reviewed by Tim Janson
And I'm glad I did as the intricate insanity was unfolded. Indeed, this is to a tee what The Joker might do given powers such as Myx's. Some of the torturous deeds he unleashed were almost painful to witness.
I dinged the book a star because the actual explanation of how Joker was able to trick Myxy was not explained, however given that Superman accomplished that task, it is not a stretch of the imagination that Joker could outfox the pompous god. As Myxy himself said "Joker might be insane, but that does not mean he isn't smart".