Joker: Last Laugh

Joker: Last Laugh Secret Files & Origins

Cover Date: December 2001
Subtitle: [1] A Clown at Midnight; [2] Touched; [3] Worm Food
Writer(s): [1] Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon; [2] Dan Curtis Johnson; [3] Jerry Ordway; [others] Jai Nitz
Artists(s): [1] Pete Woods, Cameron Scott; [2] J.H. Williams III, Mick Gray; [3] Pete Krause, Dick Giordano; [others] Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Ron Randall, Al Williamson, Javier Saltares, Keith Champagne, Peter Doherty, Damion Scott, Robert Campanella, Staz Johnson, Dan Davis, Marcos Martin, Todd Nauck, Robin Riggs
Storyline: [1] Nightwing convinced Oracle to take the day off and go for a drive with him. At the Slab, doctors discovered a terminal growth in the Joker's brain. Joker later met another inmate with shape-shifting abilities. He convinced Chiller to take his form and go back to his cell. Shilo Norman, head of security at the Slab) warned the administrators not to put Joker in contact with the rest of the population. Joker was told about his condition.
[2] Two agents interviewed surviving Joker victims. They got a call about the riot which had begun at the slab. Batman had been watching them and overheard.
[3] Mister Mind - an alien worm - got himself into the brain of a college student, only to be taken down by Mary Marvel and put in the Slab.

Issue #1

Cover Date: December 2001
Subtitle: Stir Crazy
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
Artists(s): Pete Woods, Andrew Pepoy
Storyline: After being diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor, Joker started a riot at his new home, the Slab. Barbara and Dick enjoyed some off-time together. Black Canary heard about the riot. She and Blue Beetle went in to try and stop it. The slab was gassed, but Joker had anticipated that move. He'd altered the gas, making it a variant of his gas - all the inmates became pseudo-Jokers. Canary was caught by an inmate.

week 1 interludes

Young Justice #38: Impulse and Robin quit the team. Match, infected with Joker gas and impersonating Superboy, infiltrated Young Justice. The real Superboy spoke with Supergirl about the recent war they were involved in. She convinced him to apologize to Robin and the rest of the team. Match continued plotting against Young Justice, but he left after Wonder Girl got to him.
Orion #19: Slig, now free from the Slab and affected by Joker gas, began causing havoc in the Pacific. Orion, who'd been taken in by a homeless man, recovered and went after the god.
Azrael #83: Sister Lilhy visited Joker in the Slab and was affected by his gas. She went to Brian Bryan for his opinion on what made people evil. Lilhy, in an Azrael costume, attacked a retirement home. Brian called Jean Paul and warned him of it. He (as Azrael) got there as the Joker gas was wearing off. Lilhy helped him put out the fire.

Issue #2

Cover Date: December 2001
Subtitle: Siege Mentality
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
Artists(s): Marcos Martin, Mark Farmer, Alvaro Lopez
Storyline: Nightwing arrived at the Slab with Batman already on the scene. Shilo and Dina made toward the Slab via undersea tunnel. Batman met up with Nightwing and gave him the lowdown. They recovered Black Canary. Joker and some of the other prisoners arrived mainland. Batman, Nightwing, and Black Canary were picked up by Blue Beetle as the Slab imploded. They escaped the gravity well created by Black Mass - a Jokerized inmate. Canary regained consciousness and told them Joker was dying.

week 2 interludes

Superman #175: President Luthor gave a post war speech. The White House was attacked by one of the beings Joker had set free - Doomsday. Superman arrived and began battle. He called for Martian Manhunter as he went down. Manhunter arrived and continued the battle with Doomsday. Black Lightning resuscitated Superman, who went after and finally defeated Doomsday. Luthor returned Doomsday to Darkseid. Clark and Lois visited the Kents in Kansas.
Gotham Knights #22: Batman sent Spoiler to check out a situation. Roaches had attacked a man and taken over his body. The man crashed a car into an extermination facility, causing an explosion. As Spoiler tracked him, the "man" attacked her. Batman saved her and took down the roached man.
Birds of Prey #36: Joker's Jokerized goons captured Black Canary. She used her newly restored Canary Cry and got away momentarily. Joker sent his hearing impaired minions to get her. Spellbinder make her believe she had been rescued and took Canary down.
Nightwing #62: Nightwing's whirly-bat was shot down as he entered the Slab. He thought back on previous encounters with the Joker as he crashed and began his search. On the way in, he was attacked by Jokerized inmates, but easily took care of them.
Impulse #79: Ether, a villain who could dissipate into a gaseous form, got loose at the Slab and mixed with Joker gas. Max Mercury was able tog et him back into his air-tight container.

Issue #3

Cover Date: December 2001
Subtitle: Lunatic Fringe
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
Artists(s): Walter McDaniel
Storyline: The JLA returned from off-world; Batman and Nightwing searched for Joker. President Luthor was briefed on the situation and declared a national emergency. Harley Quinn got in touch with Oracle for help - Joker's goons were after her: Joker wanted an heir. Oracle sent Batgirl and Spoiler. Power Girl arrived and helped them out. She delivered Quinn to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Dr. Kirk Langstrom was working on an antiserum for the Joker gas. Oracle hoped that Joker would be killed.

week 3 interludes

Batgirl #21: Oracle called Batgirl and Spoiler in. while they were there, Shadow Theif attacked. Batgirl took him down, almost killing him.
Superboy #93: The Creeper (Jokerized) attacked Superboy. Superboy was able to stop him after a fight at the Daily Planet.
Detective #763: Though Batman ordered Sasha to stay home, she went out anyway. She caem across Huntress going up against a Jokerized escapee. They didn't get along, but together they took down the poisoned woman. She turned out to be a DEO agent on assignment in the Slab.
JSA #29: A Jokerized Solomon Grundy was taken down by Star and and Thunder.
Harley Quinn #13: Joker sent Lady Luna and Moonrock for Harley Quinn. She and Poison Ivy fought them off.
The Spectre #10: The Spectre tried to get in Joker's mind and was affected by him. Parallax split from him and manifested into physical form. Spectre was able to eventually pull Parallax back into himself.
The Adventures of Superman #597: President Luthor was hit with Joker toxin and began his re-election campagne three years early. When Superman confronted him, Luthor shot off some missiles. After destroying them, Superman got Luthor in hand and delivered him to S.T.A.R. Labs. The Vice President gave the order to have Joker killed.

Issue #4

Cover Date: December 2001
Subtitle: Everyone Knows this is Nowhere
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
Artists(s): Andy Kuhn
Storyline: Dr. Langstrom contacted Batman - his antiserum was having adverse affects. The military and "costumed citizens" continued to fight against Joker's forces, but made little progress. Harley Quinn was able to help Langstrom perfect the antiserum - she'd had some experience with it. The doctor who diagnosed Joker as terminal admitted to Black Canary that he'd altered the results - Joker was fine. Joker began to unleash his gas into storm clouds.

week 4 interludes

Flash #179: Iron Heights Penitentiary was attacked by Jokerized super criminals. Flash was able to take some of them down.
Superman: The Man of Steel: Killer Frost and Icicle attacked the Steelworks. The Eradicator was set free and attacked Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Superman and Krypto ambushed him there and captured him.
Supergirl #63: Batgirl saved Supergirl from the Jokerized Bizarro Supergirl. Two-Face (also Jokerized) took Bizarro Supergirl. Batgirl defeated Two-Face while Supergirl got her doppelganger.
Green Lantern #143: Two Green Lanterns repaired the Statue of Liberty. Grayven, affected by Joker gas, blew up every comedy club in New York City so he could be the funniest man in the city. GL Kyle subdued him and was able to safely remove the 100 megaton bomb in the basement where Grayven was performing.
Wonder Woman #175: Circe was Jokerized temporarily while Wonder Woman was trying to save the JLA from her. They were able to break her spell and transform back into their normal selves.

Issue #5

Cover Date: December 2001
Subtitle: Mad, Mad World
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
Artists(s): Ron Randall
Storyline: Huntress was attacked by Jokerized Ventriloquist and Scarface. After hitting Wesker with the antiserum, Oracle sent her after Robin (he'd been captured in Arkham). Batman, Plastic Man, and Martian Manhunter continued the search for Joker. Via warp, Joker got to Nightwing and gave his list of demands. When Huntress got into Arkham, she realized it was completely Jokerized. She found Killer Croc and skeletal remains near Robin's torn costume.

week 5 interludes

Robin #95: As Joker plotted, Batman, Spoiler, and Huntress investigated Robin's death. Zsasz attacked them, but was easily defeated. As they went for Joker, Robin showed up in the Clocktower. He told Oracle and Blue Beetle how he'd escaped. Beetle took him to the cathedral where Nightwing was pummeling Joker.
JLA #59: The JLA went after the Jokerized Dr. Polaris, who'd become the South Pole. He withstood Green Lantern's brunt approach, but was captured by Batman's plan. Batman headed back to Gotham City.
Batman #596: Batman continued to take down Jokerized goons while Moxon teetered on war with the other mobs. Batman was able to stop Zeiss from killing a mob boss and his daughter with the help from a Jokerized lunatic dressed as Santa. Zeiss escaped.
Action Comics #784: With Joker's rain falling in Metropolis, Superman went out. Green Lantern had been Jokerized. He fought GL as a distraction while Batman hit him with the antidote.
The Titans #34: The Titans fought the Hangmen, who'd been Jokerized. Cheshire, also Jokerized, showed up at Titans Tower to get Lian. Arsenal got there before she could take their daughter. He got Cheshire and Lian the Joker venom antiserum.

Issue #6

Cover Date: January 2002
Subtitle: You Only Laugh Twice
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
Artists(s): Rick Burchett, Mark Lipka, Dan Davis
Storyline: Joker learned that Croc had eaten Robin and was most pleased, even though he didn't get to kill the Boy Wonder. Oracle told Nightwing, who rushed to the cathedral where Joker was holed up. The Slab's security team was able to get it back into real space, but it arrived in Antarctica. Nightwing killed the Joker before Robin could arrive and stop him. The Batsquad resuscitated Joker and got him back to the Slab. The rest of the Jokerized super criminals were dealt with - either dead from the poison or cured.


  • Each DC comic with a publish date of December 2001 is a Last Laugh tie-in.