Seems like such an odd combination doesn’t it? The Joker is usually associated with Batman and Superman is rarely involved. Although I guess there was that one time when Superman punched through Joker. That being said though there it was a little surprising when we discovered that Superman needed Joker’s help. Like clockwork, Joker gets out of hand and goes to do his own thing, which leads us to Superman vs Joker.
In DC Comics Presents 72 we get a cookie-cutter convoluted story about multiple universes like the one that made Crisis on Infinite Earths so popular. Superman is investigating a mysterious bolt of lighting and discovers a dark cloud leading into another dimension. A bunch of rocks and stuff and coming out of it and Superman encounters The Phantom Stranger. He explains to Superman how there is a rift and it’s causing a dis-balance in the universe. It turns out that at some point Superman and Power Girl were fighting a character called Maaldor in another dimension but he was too powerful. The only answer was to turn his power against himself, which led to him being so powerful that he sort of became his own dimension while interfering and destroying other dimensions. Are you lost yet? I know I am!
So where does Joker fit into this story? Superman decides to go to Arkham Asylum and asks Joker for his help. Superman explains that something is threatening their very existence, and only a maniac like him could possibly get them out of it. Superman simply rips off the door off and lets him out like it’s no big deal that a maniac needed to be locked behind bars in the first place. So you could say that Superman broke The Joker out of Arkham Asylum.
Superman brings Joker to this other dimension with Phantom Stranger and battles Maaldor, however it’s a dimension ruled by madness. Only a madman such at The Joker could withstand its onslaught, and maybe harness its power. When he realizes this he uses his power to help Superman fight off ghosts made of ice. But Superman thinks that The Joker is another illusion made by Maaldor and tries to punch him. Now we have Superman vs Joker. Joker even trips Superman, he is so helpless. after smacking and throwing him around a bit, Joker leads Batman to the center of the universe, where Maaldor is, and Superman concentrates and uses his heat vision against him. The universe churns and ripples with the writhing of its center. Phantom Stranger explains that Maaldor did not die, but rather Superman cut off the evil part of him.
Once things were resolved and the universe stabilized, Joker tries to punch Superman in the back of the head. He hurts his hand and realizes that he no longer had any powers. As much as I enjoy Superman vs Joker, this story is probably the closest we will ever get to seeing this. Which is a shame, since The Joker, ironically, is much more clever and witty than Superman. This is what makes him such a great villain in my opinion. Be sure to grab this comic (Affiliate Link) and add it to your collection of crazy DC universe stories. Leave a comment if you read this story and your opinion on it.