"Devil's Advocate": The Joker is angry - a set of commemorative stamps of comedians has been made, and he's not one of the subjects. He is not eligible, due to being alive, but even so, he wants revenge. After he is captured at the central sorting office, Joker finds he i
- And when you're sitting here alone in the middle of the night, unsleeping in the dark, remember -- every breath you take you owe to me.
- — Batman
Joker: Devil's Advocate is a one-shot with a cover date of February, 1996. It was published on December 21, 1995.
Synopsis for "Devil's Advocate"
The Joker is angry - a set of commemorative stamps of comedians has been made, and he's not one of the subjects. He is not eligible, due to being alive, but even so, he wants revenge. After he is captured at the central sorting office, Joker finds he is receiving even more attention than normal, accused of a string of murders connected with the stamps, but he denies all knowledge. Across the city, people have died after licking poisoned stamps from the comedian collection, and this time, he's not going to get away on an insanity plea - the police and the district attorney's office are convinced that he is finally going to face the electric chair.
Unfortunately, it becomes clear to Batman, through the Joker's behaviour at the trial, that he really is innocent of these crimes, and there is no way that he can allow him to be sentenced for a crime he didn't commit, no matter how many other terrible crimes he has not truly answered for. He pursues various former henchmen of the Joker, as there is an extortion scheme running on the back of the trial, but when he finds the man responsible for the extortion, it is clear that he is not responsible. The media make great play of the case, and the families of the victims become minor celebrities. Eventually, much to everyone's surprise, a guilty verdict is brought unanimously, and the Joker is sentenced to death.
One final lead is found - a scrap of paper with a partial address on it. Finding that it's a storage container, the police break in to it and discover a stash of Joker Venom. One of the men connected with the storage company, and who always entered the containers if the renters defaulted on payments, is discovered to be the husband of one of the victims. Confronted, he confesses to the crime and the governor issues a pardon to the Joker, mere moments before his electrocution. Later, the Joker gloats to Batman that he still lives. Batman replies that the Joker should always remember from now on - he owes his life to his greatest enemy, surely the Joker's worst nightmare.
Appearing in "Devil's Advocate"
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Gotham City Police Department
- The Joker
- Tommy Mangles
- Ernest Kelleher (Single appearance)
- The Poison Stamp Extortionist (Single appearance)
- Ariana Dzerchenko
- Vari Dzerchenko
- Victor Zehrhard
- Fran Beaudreau (assistant District Attorney) (Single appearance)
- Milton Delgue (an attorney) (Single appearance)
- Phyllis Kelleher (Only appearance; dies)
- Mrs Laskas (wife of a juror) (Single appearance)
- Jack DeFillips (a guard at Blackgate) (Single appearance)
- Zesti Cola
- A softcover edition was published on September 9th, 1996 with new cover art.
- The whole backstory of Joker: Devil's Advocate appears to have been based off of the 1982 Chicago Tylenol poisonings, and the resultant copycat crimes of Stella Nickell and Joseph Meling, who laced OTC drugs with cyanide in an effort to kill their respective spouses. As a means to throw suspicions away from themselves, they also caused other people to end up killed. Only Nickell actually managed to murder her intended target. Specifically, the concept of someone taking advantage of the poisonings to extort money from the community is reminiscent of James W. Lewis, who was convicted of writing an extortion letter in relation to the Tylenol murders, but never tried nor convicted for the murders themselves. Much like the Poison Stamp Extortionist, Lewis had a female accomplice, his wife LeAnn (Wikipedia: Chicago Tylenol Murders).
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