For instance, I was planning on offering my thoughs about the Last Laugh storyline, but as it is, I only managed to read issues one thru four (out of six), and the occasional cross-over issue, so I feel a bit unqualified to really make an opinion on it. But sinse no one is saying much around here, I'll give it a shot anyways:
When I first heard about this storyline (the Joker is dying of a brain tumor, and so decides if he's gonna die, he's gonna take the Earth out with him), I had mixed feelings. I mean, I love the Joker (when he's written well), but.... well, firstly, do you really need a back-story like his inpending death to make the Joker seem more dangerous? It's not like he's got the keenest sense of self preservation anyways. He IS insane, after all. And secondly, obviously, the Joker can't really die, can he? He's too iconic, too essintial to the D.C. universe. Now, if they find some way to cure him, then that makes the whole story seem lesser, somehow, like they've cheated the reader. On the other hand, Batman IS the only super-hero I'm aware of with a monthly book that concentrates on showing stories from his past (Legends of the Dark Knight), so it's not like we won't ever be seeing him agian. My main concern was that they'd pull a Marvel and introduce Joker Gal to replace him or something.
So the actual story: First of all, my hat's off to how they handled the problem I mentioned above. Mabey I should have seen this one coming, but I thought it was pretty clever. The Joker doesn't REALLY have cancer; one of the doctors drew it onto his x-ray in hopes that the idea of inpending death would help snap him into recovery.... or, prehaps, because he wanted to get revenge and finially be the one to play a trick on the Joker. Not only does this give us a back door out so the Joker doesn't have to die, but it gives a whole new sense to this tradgey, knowing that the whole thing didn't even have to happen if it wern't for one loan sap trying to be funny.
But as far as the actual story itself... in issue one, the Joker has gotten pretty much all of the other inmates to follow his instructions, not hard to believe given the Joker's reputation, and seeing as how most of the Slab's residents are, shall we say, second stringers amoung super villians. But here's where things get foggy.... the security gaurds dose the inmates first with vomit gas, and later with sleeping gas, except something the Joker did (I think he spiked the chemicals earlier, as later revealed in Joker: Secret Files, but I'm not sure) made it so the two chemicals combined into Joker gas, and turns everyone into Jokers. Um...... okaaaaaaay. Why is this nessasary? What does this achieve, except to drive home the point that the Joker himself is essentially a normal man with permenate clown makeup and a warped sense of humor? He already had the other inmates at his beck and call. I guess mabey the storyline is, he wants to turn the whole world into Jokers? Except we all know his girlfriend is going to eventually give the super heros the anticdote anyways so it's not like this involves any real drama. And, as with most crossovers, most of the storylines woven into other people's comic books seemed contrived and not really in keeping with the general plot. Ergh. Too bad the point of mainstream comics is to sell comics, instead of to tell a good story.