Lex Luthor and Joker: bosom buddiesPosted: 06/10/2012
We’ve spent the last few articles surrounded by a lot of bloodshed and violence. So why don’t we relax and just enjoy a conversation?
Say hello to the Joker and Lex Luthor, the two most infamous villains in the DC universe. We witness this gem in Action Comics #897, written by Paul Cornell.
I don’t really need or wish to go into the supervillains’ back stories. You’ve seen the movies and TV shows. Luthor is a brilliant, scheming, greedy businessman and Joker is an insane, unpredictable, unreliable psychopath. They’re not good friends. Or friends. But they each need something from the other, so we get to watch this manipulation game unfold itself. And it’s wonderful.
About a year before this in a huge DC event, one of the Green Lanterns’ enemies used his power to resurrect every dead superhero and villain as evil zombie warriors. The good guys prevailed. Luthor, wanting this power for himself, set off looking for spheres that contained remnants or clues. Turns out Joker has one.
Yeah, Joker’s an asshole. A few years before this, Joker kidnapped then President Luthor and tortured him to near death. The enemy of my enemy is my friend cliche doesn’t really apply here. And because of Joker’s personality and apathy, Luthor has to tread lightly to get what he wants – especially when Joker holds all the cards.
Oops. Unfortunately, Luthor isn’t without his ego – though it’s hard pressed to find a supervillain who lacks it. Turns out part of the whole being the arch-nemesis of the fastest, most powerful superhero on the planet takes a bit of pride in oneself. Though the giant robot suits don’t hurt.
When I said the Joker holds the upper hand in this conversation, I meant it:
But seriously, we’re over the whole threats thing. We get it, it’s what supervillians do. The only time bad guys show any respect or good vibes is when they’re being sarcastic. So let’s get right to the meat of the meeting.
Have you ever realized how similar Luthor and Batman are? They’re both billionaires, though Luthor is self-made and Wayne inherited his wealth. They both have obsessive personalities (Superman and crime respectively). They’re both humorless geniuses with a strong reluctance to rely on other people. Why aren’t they drinking imported exotic juices squeezed from endangered animals and poured into goblets made out the hardened tears of their mid-management? Well, I mean if you exclude Wayne being a decent human being.
But this just came to me speaking of humorless. Many DC superheroes have a fantastic sense of humor. Nightwing, Plastic Man, the Flash a little bit. But Superman? I think he has a decent sense of humor, he’s just not funny. Find me a comic panel where Superman makes even a mediocre joke. He’s too busy having every superpower ever to fine tune his comedy. Anyways.
Mission complete! All that’s left is to bargain with the Joker for his prize and Luthor can go back to his sweatshops. But what do with a man who has everything versus a man who wants nothing? Well, I mean, not exactly nothing. Joker’s in a prison jumpsuit after all, so what about a release before he’s most likely put back in there by Batman a month later? No? You want a page of the Joker philosophizing? Want to see the Joker let his guard down and be real with Luthor for once in his wacky life? Of course.
The Joker’s known for being a super liar, but it’d be nice for the two to have a moment. Luthor should totally sit down with the Joker to swap bomb tips and brag about stupid stuff they got their henchmen to do. It’s not like either has any friends. But alas, that’s the downside of being mega evil.
Oh, want to know Luthor’s lackies? The woman’s an android Lois Lane and the man’s a reporter. And like most comic book reporters on to a major breakthrough, his days are severely numbered.
Happy ending for everybody! Except the reporter, but none ever get past an issue or two hanging around supervillians. Luthor gets his sphere and Joker gets his entertainment. The reader leaves satisfied and stuffed. And no, I don’t know why Joker has a mouth mustache either.
I’m not going to spoil this arc, but in Action Comics #900, the final confrontation between Luthor and Superman is one of the most fantastic issues I’ve ever read in DC comics. And that includes this issue from last week: