Superman: Emperor Joker

Superman: Emperor Joker
Jeph Loeb, J.M DeMatteis, Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Doug Mahnke, et. al.
Collection 2007, Issues released 2000

Premise: Something is very wrong in the state of Metropolis. Superman is in prison for murder, Bizarro leads the JLA, Lois Lane is a megalomaniacal business woman, and somewhere, someone is screaming. Mxyzptlk seems to know what’s going on, but something keeps stopping him from reaching Superman.

This is one of the weirder stories I know which sort of counts as an in-continuity Elseworlds story. What if the Joker had the power of Mr. Mxyzptlk? What if Superman was the only person who sensed that Joker’s twisted reshaping of reality was wrong? Well, then you’d have this story.

It’s a little on the gory side (I mean, Joker, duh) and a little long, because there are tangents about the supporting Superman cast. Supergirl’s plot arc is pretty weak until the plot starts to speed up, the same with Steel and Superboy. Batman, naturally, gets some of the most interesting (and disturbing) plot twists, but he doesn’t appear until the second half. Luthor is well used, Lois’s plot-line is very odd, but has nice moments, and Harley’s not on panel much, but when she is, she’s pretty great. Most of the bits about Bizzaro’s evil League and the altered real Leaguers felt like unnecessary padding, though.

I wondered if, when this was originally released in issues, whether it was advertized as “Emperor Joker” or not. The first half of the story is called “Superman: Arkham” in the issues, and Joker as the architect of all the craziness is revealed only at the end of the fourth issue.

Once the plot focused down to just be about Joker, Superman, Lois and Batman, I liked it a lot more.

Overall I think it’s an interesting story, if often unpleasant, and I’m glad I read it. But it’s definitely not for the casual fan.

3 Stars - A Good Book


  1. This will always be one of the great curiosities in a time when I was away from comics. Some interesting thoughts.

  2. It's definitely an odd one. There are some nice sequences, though, and the climax is an interesting take on Batman and Superman's friendship.


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