"The Last Laugh!": Batman and Robin visit a kooky criminal bar called McSurley's to gather info about the Joker's whereabouts. Robin orders a glass of milk and sits talking to an implied prostitute named Rhonda. Batman
- I derive far more pleasure from our continual battles of wits than I would from his single death... but to destroy his effectiveness -- to take away the anonymity he so loves -- that would be a pleasure.
- -- The Joker
Appearing in "The Last Laugh!"
- Frisco (Mentioned only)
- Gotham City Police Department
- McSurley (bar owner)
- Melissa Benson (Catwoman victim)
- Melissa Benson's father (Catwoman victim)
- Melissa Benson's son (Catwoman victim)
- Moose (bodyguard)
- Profile (information broker)
- Rhonda (troublemaker)
- Straight Line (Joker henchman)
Synopsis for "The Last Laugh!"
Batman and Robin visit a kooky criminal bar called McSurley's to gather info about the Joker's whereabouts. Robin orders a glass of milk and sits talking to an implied prostitute named Rhonda. Batman enters the back and punches out a security guard named Moose so he can talk to the information broker Profile. Profile refuses to give up the Joker, until Batman threatens to plant evidence that would send him to jail. He reluctantly reveals the Joker's hideout is "Jester Novelties." Batman and Robin swing away into the night.
Now that Catwoman has been brainwashed to become evil again, Joker tries to ask her about Batman's secret identity. Doctor Moon cautions him that asking her while her mind is still in turmoil could cause the information to be lost forever. Joker asks her anyway, and she whispers a name that makes him laugh maniacally. Batman and Robin arrive. Robin beats up the Joker's henchman using a variety of over-sized novelty items while Batman goes after the Joker. Straight Line hits Batman from behind and distracts him long enough for the Joker to escape with Catwoman in his Jokermobile. Batman gives chase and latches onto the back of the car, but Joker has Catwoman throw him off.
Robin catches Doctor Moon and ties him up. Batman demands that Moon restore Catwoman's mind, but Moon replies this would be like asking "Davinci to paint over the Mona Lisa." Batman reasons that the Joker will probably try to return Catwoman to her old ways by having her commit a cat-themed crime. The obvious target is a story in the newspaper about the millionaire Benson heiress in a "cataleptic" trance.
Joker and Catwoman are already at the Benson household where they've tied the family up. Joker believes that the Benson father is Batman, because his name is what Catwoman mumbled when he asked. Straight Line asks the Joker about what he's doing, since the Joker has previously said he doesn't want to kill Batman. Joker replies that he enjoys Batman alive more than dead, but he would still like to compromise Batman's secret identity. Joker threatens Benson's daughter Melissa to make him talk, but Catwoman protects the girl and insists she is not a killer. Batman and Robin arrive, and Joker decides he's going to kill everyone. Catwoman attacks Batman, but he steps out of the way and she hits Straight Line instead. Joker shocks the comatose Melissa Benson, but this wakes her up and reunites her with her family. Joker tosses a smoke grenade and Catwoman throws a rope ladder out through the window. Catwoman manages to escape, but Batman tears the Joker off and beats him unconscious. He punches Joker in the face repeatedly while telling him to stop laughing. Robin has to hold Batman's fist back, worried that he'll kill the Joker. Batman says "He took her from me, Robin... every woman I love, somethings always takes her from me..." Robin tells him to look on the bright side, at least they saved the Benson family. "That's something." Batman replies "No, Robin... that's everything." He smiles at the hugging family and they swing away into the night.
- This is the second part of a two-part story that began last issue.
- The first six issues of Mike W. Barr's run on Detective Comics (#569–574) have a strange position in continuity. It's clear that they take place in Post-Crisis continuity (following the Crisis on Infinite Earths), because the book switches over at the Legends crossover in #568. However, they were written prior to Frank Miller's reboot of Batman's origins in Year One and Max Allan Collins' reboot of Robin's origins in Batman #408. These stories are technically no longer part of Pre-Crisis continuity, but they're also missing some elements of the Post-Crisis reboots.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium stated this story happened on Earth-85.
- This story is reprinted in Batman: The Dark Knight Detective, Vol. 1.
- This story shares a title with the crossover event Last Laugh.
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