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"Stop Me if You've Heard This One...": Slade Wilson is being hired by a foreign businessman to kill Bruce Wayne. Slade tells the man that since he's now a freelance mercenary, he has a costume that he's started using. The man tells him tha


Quote1 This thing was too quaint, so I, you know, pumped it up...gave it a little spice! Quote2
-- Mister Mxyzptlk



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Synopsis for "Stop Me if You've Heard This One..."

Slade Wilson is being hired by a foreign businessman to kill Bruce Wayne. Slade tells the man that since he's now a freelance mercenary, he has a costume that he's started using. The man tells him that he can do whatever he wants, just as long as Bruce Wayne meets with an unfortunate end.

In New York, Batman and Superman battle several hero doppelgangers, including Superman and Batman imposters. Both heroes describe the events of the fight, both writing rather biased summaries.

Casefile 273645: It's one thing when people try to KILL you. It's quite another when they begin IMPERSONATING you WHILE trying to kill you. New York City. An as yet unexplained phenomenon (Teleporter? Boom Tube? Spatial rift? Mass hallucination? Simple stagecraft, most likely.) resulted in the introduction of METAHUMAN HOSTILES to midtown. (P.M.S. Levels 2-4) WayneTech business had me at 53rd Street, so I excused myself per S.O.P. and responded to the disturbance. Most striking about the hostiles was their choice of uniform. Variations (for the most part) on the uniforms of the other costumed heroes, including one dressed like me. The clothes do not make the man. While I was containing the threat, Superman arrived on the scene. I directed him to provide support, focused primarily on crowd control and cleanup...
MAYHEM IN MIDTOWN by Clark Kent: Scientists from S.T.A.R. Labs continue to express concern over the "cosmic event" that preceded today's altercation between a group of unidentified metahumans and Batman and Superman. "We have been catching glimpses of erratic dimensional activity across the planet, and are working on ways to identify and isolate the issue," said S.T.A.R. Labs' Chuck Kim. While there was considerable panic in the streets as well as an estimated half-million dollars in property damage, no one was hurt during the brief stressed battle thanks to the timely arrival of Superman. Superman quickly subdued the rampaging metas, who were dressed as existing heroes. Batman arrived moments later focused on crowd control and the subsequent cleanup.


After the battle, Superman and Batman meet on a rooftop, and Superman and Batman thank each other for the other's help in the matter. Superman tells Batman that he'll let Batman know if he finds out anything else about the strange phenomena. He asks Batman if he's figured out his identity yet, and Batman tells him that he has a "who's who" of every college from the last twenty years, and that he'll find Superman's chin in one of the pictures. He asks if Superman's figured out his, and Superman replies that he's way to busy to figure out Batman's identity, and that lead-lining inside of his cowl was a good idea. In their respective homes, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent both pack for a cruise to the Bermuda Triangle, both taking their super-suits, planning on needing them. Clark and Lois Lane both arrive to the cruise ship the next day, and they check in. Bruce arrives with two bikini-clad women. The man checking them in informs everyone of a computer error with booking of the cabins. Since all the others are filled, Bruce and Clark, who don't get along, must share a cabin. That night at the party on board, Bruce dances with Lois, and finally sits down at a table. Slade Wilson, disguised as a waiter, decides to make his move on Wayne by poisoning his drink. Clark, when no one is looking, shatters Bruce's wine glass from across the room in anger, inadvertently foiling Wilson's attempt on Bruce's life. Later, Lois decides to retire, and Bruce and Clark both reluctantly go back to their cabin. That night, Clark and Bruce sleep in their bed, both felling incredibly uncomfortable. The silence is broken when they both hear a scream from above-deck. Outside, another rift opens, right on top of the ship. The two see the impending catastrophe from their porthole, and both begin planning how they will deal with the threat in their respective alter egos. Bruce asks if Clark should go report this, but Clark tells him that Lois has his pencil and notepad. Both try to get the other to leave, but both fail. Bruce decides he doesn't have time for this, and he shoots Clark with a dart, fired from a compact dart gun in his sleeve. The only problem is that the dart is crushed when it hits Clark's neck, and he's perfectly fine, the dart not having penetrated his skin. After a moment of silence, Bruce suddenly recognizes Clark's chin, and matches it with Superman's.

As Clark tries to make up excuses, a man clad in orange and black crashes through their door proclaiming that he's there to save Bruce Wayne. He bounces off of their bed and lands in front of them, just as bullets begin whizzing through their porthole, meant for Bruce. The man is stopped short before he can introduce himself, as the bullets cut through him. He crumples to the floor, suffering from severe bullet wounds, infant of a stunned Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Outside, Deathstroke hangs from a rope, carrying a semi-automatic weapon. He fires a grenade through the demolished porthole, and climbs up the rope to the deck as the cabin explodes. Meanwhile, Lois hears the explosion from the deck, and rushes in that direction. She sees two caped figures making their way across the ship, and both shadowy figures look remarkably like Superman and Batman. She begins to suspect that Clark and Bruce and Batman are Superman and Batman, but those suspicions are quickly put to rest when she sees the true identities of the figures...Superman and Batman. Only, they're wearing very different versions of the heroes' costumes. The pair announces that the ship is now under control of the Crime Syndicate, and the two are actually Ultraman and Owlman.

Back in the cabin, Clark and Bruce pulls themselves out of the burning rubble, Clark having shielded Bruce from the blast. Clark changes into his costume at super-speed, since the two are now aware of the other's identity. He leaves to deal with any trouble topside, while Bruce leaves to change into his costume, knowing that The assassin who shot at them will most likely be back to make sure he's dead. Meanwhile, Owlman and Ultraman seize control, telling the crew to steer the ship away from the rift, and then they'll give their demands. Ultramar whispers to Lois that she shouldn't kill Bruce Wayne because he just found that Bruce was Owlman, but before he can, Lois disappears. Ultraman looks up to see Superman holding Lois, and both he and Lois are very confused as to the identities of the newcomers. Owlman sees Superman, and recalls the dimensional rift that apparently also happened to them on their world. He tells Ultraman that Superman is an alternate version of him. Ultraman asks Superman to kiss Lois so he can see what it looks like, and Owlman, sickened by Ultramar's juvenile behavior commands him to kill Superman. Ultraman responds by delivering the first volley, uppercutting Superman to the face. Superman is stunned by the powerful punch, and drops Lois, who is caught by Owlman. Owlman tells her that she's doing well, and that it's good to keep up appearances while Ultraman plays with himself. He kisses her, and when she looks confused, he tells her that she isn't Superwoman. Lois tells him that her tonsils must have given her away, and she asks what a Superwoman is.

Elsewhere, Bruce runs through the halls of the ship, speaking orders into his wristwatch for his Batsub to follow. A lasso wraps around his ankle, and he trips, and crashes into a table. He looks up and sees Superwoman, who is about to strangle him with the lasso. He becomes confused, since Lois is Superwoman in the other reality. As she prepares to kill him, the man in orange who got shot up earlier, falls from the ceiling and lands on Superwoman, holding his dismembered arm in one hand. As he begins to beat her with it, Bruce gets the lasso off of his neck. The man grabs the lasso from Superwoman and wraps it around her neck, before jumping off of into the air, and pushing her into a desk and the floor. He recovers his arm, and pops it back into place on his shoulder, where it heals immediately. The man attempts to introduce himself again, but is stopped short when Deathstroke shoves a katana through his head, and telling him to shut up. Meanwhile, Superman and Ultraman continue to fight, but both seem evenly matched. Superman stop fighting, and tells him that they need to help the passengers, but Ultraman responds with an unsportsmanlike kick to the groin.

Death stroke begins peppering one of the other decks with gunfire, and Bruce jumps over the railing to avoid the bullets. As he falls, he reaches out and snags the railing of one of one of the lower decks, and pulls himself up, only to run into Owlman. Owlman, asks whee Bruce's uniform is, and Bruce, desperate to keep his secret identity in tact, reaches out and pinches a nerve in Lois' neck, making her go unconscious. Owlman remembers the whole secret identity thing, and asks why Bruce didn't just kill her. When he doesn't respond, Owlman concludes that they're not going to get along, and does for his gun. Suddenly, The mercenary, Superwoman, and Deathstroke all crash through the upper-deck and land in front of them, all fighting. The mercenary sees that Oilman's trying to kill Bruce too, and exclaims that he'd better get union rates for this job. Superwoman, Owlman and Deathstroke all attack the mercenary, annoyed by his constant chatter, and he tells Bruce to save himself. When Bruce dives over the railing and into the water, he screams that he was only kidding, and before he can say his name, he is again interrupted when his neck is snapped by Superwoman.

Owlman radios to Ultraman that things are getting weird, and that he's getting readings that the rift will close soon. Ultraman can't really help at the moment, since he and Superman are engaged in furious combat underwater. When Superman tells him that he can play dirty, Ultraman puts the Man of Steel's claims to the test by thunderously clapping, creating waves that will rock the cruise ship. Superman releases Ultraman from his head-lock, not wanting to endanger the passengers any further. Meanwhile, while Deathstroke kicks the unnamed mercenary's head in, Owlman asks Superwoman what she sees in Ultraman, to which Superwoman replies that he drives Owlman crazy, which is enough for her. Ultraman continues his fight with Superman again by punching Superman in the back of the head, but they're interrupted by Batman, who greets them in his Batsub underwater. Batman asks if Owlman has invented Kryptamite yet, before blowing Ultraman out of the water. Superman flies out of the water, and hoists the ship's hull over his head, saving it from the violent waves created by Ultraman. He radios to Batman to meet him up top. Elsewhere, Deathstroke, in lieu of fighting, becomes agitated by his opponent's constant ramblings. Ultraman and Owlman meet up with Superwoman on the top deck, and they prepare to leave, but they're stopped by Superman and Batman.

Superman and Batman collide with Ultraman and Owlman in a titanic struggle on the deck. As the heroes fight, Superwoman watches, and realizes what a disaster this has become. She turns to leave, stating that she'll try her luck in the rift. Elsewhere, the mercenary, who has been stabbed with all manner of sharp objects by Deathstroke, realizes that Deathstroke is him, from this world. Batman and Owlman stop fighting long enough to realize that the rift is about to close, but Superman, fails to reason with Ultraman, who's only goal seems to be to prove that he's better than Superman. The two continue fighting, and finally punch each other across the deck in separate directions. Batman tells Superman that the rift is closing, and Superman replies that he can't fly the ship out of here with Ultraman in the way, and the two formulate a plan. Owlman tells Ultraman that he can't beat Superman, and that they need to be on the right side of the rift when it closes, so they can get back to their world, but Ultraman blows him off, rebuking the fact that he can't beat Superman. Just then, Superman flies by Owlman and Ultraman, knocking them both to the ground. Ultraman, needing to prove that he's superior, flies after Superman, trying to catch him.

Meanwhile, Deathstroke and his alternate self compare their lives up to his point, and they both realize that their lives are exactly the same, except for one or two minor details. While Deathstroke is distracted, Batman lays him out with one swift kick to the face. Batman tries to thank the man, but before he can introduce himself, he is again interrupted when he falls backwards down the deck, due to the ship moving. Superman pulls away at the last second, and Ultraman stops short, but he gets hit by the ship, Superman having lead him into the path of the hull of the ship. As he's pushed into the rift, Superman tells him that the pressure-wake caused by their super-speed is pulling the ship into the rift. The rift closes, and the ship sails safely away. Batman and Superman exchange pleasantries, and Batman tells him that he'll deal with Deathstroke. Lois approaches them, and tells them that she knows their secrets. Just before she can announce their identities, she hear's Clark's voice from behind her. She turns, and sees Clark standing there, with a very sick Bruce Wayne. Clark explains what happened to him and Bruce during the whole escapade, while Bruce throws up over the railing. Lois, incredibly angry, tells them both to die, and storms off. Bruce, annoyed, states that Clark changed his clothes at super-speed, and that's why he's sick. Clark concurs, and tells him that he practiced ventriloquism when he was younger, and that's how he faked his voice from behind Lois.

The Narrator says that that was the beginning of the world's greatest partnership. The narrator is actually Mister Mxyzptlk, and he explains to an unknown person that he was the one who orchestrated everything. He hired all the killers, and made it all happen. When asked why, he takes out a copy of Superman #76, and explains that today's stories need angst. The original story of Superman and Batman's first meeting was too quaint, so he spied it up a little. The other man grabs the comic, and begins eating it. The other man, revealed to be Bizarro Dan DiDio, exclaims that this was the greatest story ever, to which Mxyztplk agrees.



Notes

  • This story is a retelling of the first meeting of Superman and Batman from Superman #76.
  • It is unknown whether or not this story is in continuity. Mr. Mxyzptlk explains to Bizarro Dan DiDio at the end that he arranged all of the meetings and hired all of the killers, to give an old story "a little spice." Since Superman and Batman have already met in New Earth continuity as of Man of Steel #3, it is unclear as to whether or not this story is supposed to take place on Earth-One, or if this is a Retcon of Superman and Batman's first meeting on New Earth.

Trivia

  • The Earth-3 counterpart of Deathstroke bears a remarkable resemblance to Marvel Comics character Deadpool (who, in turn, was based off of Deathstroke), at least personality-wise, since he is extremely prone to wisecrack and has a healing factor that gives him uncanny endurance.



See Also


Recommended Reading


Links and References

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