A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
It is a period of civil war. The so-called Justice Empire has mandated themselves rulers of the galaxy, and have attempted to unite the squabbling worlds under their own brand of galactic peace. Any insurgents and rebellions are crushed in the name of maintaining complete order in the universe.
In charge of this mission of hunting down the rebels is Darth Batman, whose base on the armored space station known as the BAT STAR makes him invulnerable to attack as he carries out the necessary business of the Empire.
Only a few worlds remain free of the suffocating grip of the Empire, and the few freedom fighters left, known as the Jedi Knights, have hidden themselves away until a hero can arise to unite them and restore freedom to the galaxy…
"What do I look like?" demanded the man known as the Joker. "Some kinda clown?"
He was sitting in a bar called the Arkham Cantina, on a remote backwater desert planet called Tatooine, glaring at the bar's owner, a dark-skinned woman named Joan Leland.
"Please, J – the band has canceled, and I need some kinda entertainment here or the patrons are gonna riot!" she hissed, gesturing out at the crowded bar.
"I'm here on business, toots!" snapped Joker. "Secretive, delicate business that's gonna be completely screwed up if my target sees me. And you want me to go up on that stage and start doing a comedy routine?! That's gonna draw a helluva lotta attention to myself!"
"But you're a funny guy!" pleaded Leland. "I need you to do some jokes - distract the crowd and loosen them up! I'll keep an eye out for your target, and if I see him coming, I'll give you a signal and you beat it, how about that?"
Joker glared at her, but sighed. "All right. But my routine's really too good for this buncha gloomy sad sacks…" he muttered, heading up on stage and grabbing a microphone.
"Hiya, folks! How are we all doing today?" he said, beaming.
"Where are Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes?" shouted a patron.
"Figrin's got food poisoning – ate a bad nausage," retorted Joker. "I hear he's vomiting up his guts like the Sarlaac vomited up Boba Fett!"
He laughed, but nobody in the audience did. "Oh, c'mon, that's a funny joke!" he snapped. Leland gestured to him to keep going, and he forced a smile back on his face. "So I'm the Joker – some of you might have heard of me. Y'know, the notorious bounty hunter, and also the funniest, craziest guy in the galaxy! My comedy routine is talked about far and wide, through all corners of the Empire. At least it would be, if anyone in the Empire had a sense of humor. So people sometimes ask me, Joker, what made you go crazy? And I tell 'em, after I found out Darth Vader was my father, wouldn't you have gone crazy too? It's the only sane response!"
He was clearly expecting a laugh, and there was silence again. "Who's Darth Vader?" called one.
"Oh, don't play dumb with me, Skywalker!" snapped Joker. "Just go back to your hovel, farmboy! This ain't the Luke Skywalker show! That guy, I'm telling ya," he sighed, as the patron stormed out. "No sense of humor. Still, there's something really familiar about him…"
"Get off the stage!" shouted another patron.
"Wow, tough crowd tonight, huh?" asked Joker, looking at Leland, who gestured more urgently. "All right, I'll bring out the choice material! So who knows what the Super-Emperor said to Darth Batman after the destruction of Alderaan? Anyone? He said, 'I'm blown away!'"
Joker laughed hysterically, but the stony, cold silence of the audience remained. "What, too soon?" he demanded.
"Yes!" shouted a patron. "It happened three days ago!"
"My mother lived on Alderaan!" shouted another. There was booing, and then stuff started being thrown at Joker, with shouts of "You're not funny! Get lost!"
Joker sighed, and then raised his blaster. "No, Joker, don't…" began Leland, but he had already fired several shots out into the crowd. There was screaming and trampling, and then the patrons fled the bar, leaving Joker alone with Leland.
"Buncha humorless chumps," muttered Joker, kicking at a body as he headed back over to the bar.
"J, I've told you, no more violence in my place!" snapped Leland. "It's getting harder and harder to dispose of the bodies! I can't sneak them all into the food, y'know!"
"Might give it some flavor," retorted Joker. "Just gimme a drink, will ya? I need it after that."
Leland obeyed as Joker sighed again. "What's happened to this galaxy, toots?" he asked. "It's like the whole universe suddenly lost its sense of humor."
"Not much to laugh about these days, what with the Empire squeezing the joy outta everything in the name of order," replied Leland.
"Yeah. Buncha humorless fascists," muttered Joker, sipping from his drink. "Still, whaddya gonna do?" he said, shrugging. "Empires rise and fall, and the galaxy keeps turning. If it's not one nutjob in power, it's another. All we can do is smile and laugh and make the best of it."
"Maybe," agreed Leland, wiping down the bar. "But it's getting harder and harder to make a decent living in this universe. Something's gotta give, and somebody's gotta fight back."
"Thought that's what those loser Jedi Knight nerds were for," retorted Joker.
"You know they're mostly dead, right?" asked Leland. "Darth Batman's slaughtered as many as he could. Only a couple of them remain, and they've hidden themselves away. They don't have the strength or the numbers to fight the Empire, at least not without help."
Joker snorted. "Well, nobody's gonna be crazy enough to help 'em, toots. You'd have to be completely insane to go up against the Justice Empire and that psycho Darth Batman. I'm crazy, but I ain't that crazy."
"Then I guess we'd better get used to living in a humorless galaxy," sighed Leland. "It'll be a sad day when Tatooine falls under control of the Empire."
"Well, Penguin the Hutt is a pretty good businessman," said Joker, shrugging. "He'll keep 'em outta his territory longer than most. And speaking of Penguin…" he said, looking around and lowering his voice as a hooded, robed figure walked into the bar.
"Didn't he post a bounty on your head?" asked Leland. "For killing one of his employees who said you weren't funny?"
"Yeah, which is why I need to get this bounty to him, to get back in his good books," retorted Joker, downing the drink. "I'll try to keep the violence to a minimum – Pengers said he wanted him dead or alive, and I'll try to make it the latter, for your sake, toots," he said, winking at her.
"Somehow, I don't trust you," muttered Leland, as Joker headed over to the booth where the figure had taken a seat.
"Eddie Nygma. How ya doing, buddy?" he asked, smiling at him.
The figure stared at him in horror. "J…Joker," he stammered. "What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for you," said Joker, grinning. "I hear Penguin's put a price on your head, Eddie. A really substantial price too. He must be crazy to wanna pay that much for your sorry hide, but my job ain't to question why he does stuff. My job is to turn you in to him and get my money."
"But…but Joker, you don't understand," stammered Nygma. "I'm meeting some very important people here, people who are the only hope for this galaxy's survival…"
"Yeah, that's a likely story, Eddie," interrupted Joker, nodding. "You don't really expect me to believe it, though, do ya? I ain't stupid."
"We'll see how stupid you are," muttered Nygma, waving his hand in front of his face. "I'm not the bounty you're looking for."
"Yeah, you are," retorted Joker. "What, you think you're some kinda Jedi with the hand trick or something?"
Nygma sighed, and then pulled aside his robe to reveal a lightsaber. "I am a Jedi!" he hissed.
"Uh huh, and I bet that's your shiny laser sword, huh?" asked Joker, sarcastically. "C'mon, Eddie, don't make me laugh. I know the Jedi are a bunch of nerds, but you're too nerdy even for them. Plus I doubt you know how to use a laser sword."
"I do so!" snapped Nygma, his hand flying to his belt. And that was when Joker shot a blaster bolt in his chest, killing him instantly.
"Sorry, Eddie, I got an itchy trigger finger when people reach for weapons," said Joker. "Well, he didn't have the reflexes of a Jedi, that's for sure. And he didn't see that blaster bolt coming, the way a Jedi should have. Either he was lying, or he was a really crap Jedi."
He took the lightsaber hanging from Nygma's belt, and pressed the button activating it, revealing the green blade. "Still, that's a real laser sword," he said, waving it around. "Maybe he was telling the truth. Which means I killed a Jedi!" he chuckled. "How's that for awesome, toots?" he asked, turning to Leland.
"Congrats. But you're getting rid of the body," she retorted. "And the lightsaber. You can't sell those things these days – too many questions."
"Yeah, maybe Nygma being a Jedi explains why the price on his head was so high," said Joker, nodding. "Pengers wants to appease the Bat for as long as possible so he'll leave him alone, and sending him Jedi corpses is sure to do just that. Anyway, I'll need the body to collect my reward, so don't worry about that," he said, hefting up the corpse and throwing it over his shoulder. "And the lightsaber can be a nice souvenir for me, and a good story to tell about that time I killed a Jedi. Course I'll say he put up more of a fight for dramatic tension. I'll maybe even lie and say he shot first!" he chuckled.
"You do that," said Leland, nodding.
"Well, see ya around, toots," said Joker, heading for the door with Nygma's body over his shoulder.
"Maybe you will, if Penguin doesn't just kill you instead of paying you for him," retorted Leland, dryly.
"Well, he can try, but he'd better beware of me – I killed a Jedi, y'know!" chuckled Joker. "Quite a joke, toots! Quite a joke!"