Superman has had his share of powerful enemies to deal with. There's always been a line they haven't crossed, no matter how evil or bent on revenge they might be. Superman is now facing a different twist. Someone has targeted everyone Superman loves. They're going to kill everyone he's ever tried to save. As Superman and Batman try to figure it out, the big question is, who is Superman's Joker? Who is willing to raise the stakes and become this brutal?
We spoke to BATMAN/SUPERMAN writer, Greg Pak to find out more about the story and some clues about the list of suspects.
COMIC VINE: Where did the idea come from for "Superman's Joker?"
GREG PAK: The glory of writing this book is that my job is to find new ways to mix things up for both Superman and Batman. And pushing each hero into the other guy's milieu can be a fantastic way to shed new light on both characters. So I was looking for a story that could force Superman to operate in Batman's world, stepping into Batman's mindset in a way that's deeply uncomfortable to him. Because the best thing we can do as writers is make trouble for our heroes. And the idea of a Joker-like character who could actually challenge the power of Superman seemed like a very scary and very fun thing to explore.
CV: BATMAN/SUPERMAN #17 deals with 'investigating' Lobo. Will upcoming issues focus on different suspects?
GP: That and much, much more. Huge revelations are coming in #18, with major pay offs in #19 and #20.
CV: Can you tell us when we'll discover the identity?
GP: Issue #19, which I'm finishing even as we speak! It'll be a shocker -- with major ramifications for Superman moving forward. Do not miss this issue!
CV: What would Superman do if these suspects banded together to try to take down Superman?
GP: Never, ever, ever give up.
Also, he might try stepping back for a few minutes to give them time to turn on each other and finish the job for him. ;-)
CV: Will dealing with an enemy willing to go to such extreme means change the way Superman looks at his foes since normally they only target Superman and not innocents?
GP: Excellent question. One of the glories of the New 52 is that even now, a few years in, Superman is still relatively early in his career and absolutely can still be shocked and shaped by his experiences. So every new adventure in these books has the potential to affect his worldview and tactics in major ways that reverberate through his ongoing stories.
As always, keep on reading!
List of Suspects
We also asked Greg to share some thoughts on the suspects that might be Superman's Joker.
"Hector Hammond may be the most powerful psychic on the planet. And he's tangled with Superman recently -- and lost. He might be motivated to finish the job. You'll find out more in "Batman/Superman" #17."
"Lex Luthor absolutely makes the list as one of the few people on the planet who might be smart enough to create the kinds of untraceable attacks Superman's dealing with. But Luthor's actually on the Justice League now -- is he really the kind of sociopath who would murder innocents just to toy with Superman? And when confronted by Superman in issue #16, Luthor pointed out that the attacks threatened to cost him billions. Or is that all just Luthor's diabolical scheme to throw suspicion away from himself?"
"Lobo's hugely powerful and he has access to all kinds of alien tech and weaponry. Sure, he's charming and the hero of his own book -- but he's also an assassin. Keep your eye on this guy -- and see what happens in "Batman/Superman" #17!"
"During the events of DOOMED, Metallo was redeemed and was most recently seen hanging out with Krypto, defending Metropolis. But you could see a genius psychopath playing that kind of game in order to strike at the most opportune moment..."
"In issue #16, Superman's enemy breached Luthor's armor. And Luthor said that made him suspect Superman himself, because cracking that armor requires Superman-level strength. That could make another Kryptonian like Zod a prime suspect."
"As a 12th level alien intellect who's one of Superman's biggest enemies, Brainiac would seem to have the motivation and ability to pull off this kind of attack. But Superman recently dragged Brainiac through a black hole. Could he be back already?"
"In the New 52, we know Hiro as the Toymaster, a young game and toy designer who's made trouble for but also become a friend to Superman. But in times past, Superman fought the Toyman, a straight-up villain. Is there a chance Hiro's getting ready for a heel-turn in the New 52?"
BATMAN/SUPERMAN is on sale today. Who do you think Superman's Joker is?