By Adrian Tullberg
Superman looked for the Joker.
Then again, the bright spotlights stabbing into the sky at the top of Gotham's highest skyscraper might have been signs that the Clown Prince of Crime wasn't being subtle.
No traps, no technology, just a lead-lined box in his hand that looked like the switch to the bomb he'd stated he'd set off on his latest Twitter post.
Spotting the Joker from orbit to knocking him down, the switch now in his hand, not even moving a fraction of a millimetre (mercury switches were common enough)
The Joker laid on his back, blood streaming from his nose, muffled giggling from his split lips.
Superman carefully prised open the box (away from himself in case a chunk of Kryptonite was inside) to find ... nothing.
"Too late Supes."
Superman dragged up the Joker to his face level. "What did you do."
"Oh me? Nothing. Nothing. Well, nothing much. I swear I haven't hurt anyone. Lately."
The jaundiced eyes leered back at him.
"If you really wanna know? Just look down. Around. Any part of Gotham."
Superman, keeping a close grip on Joker, scanned the streets, the people, the infrastructure.
The technology, the superstructure, the material structure of every building.
The people, the lungs ...
Their blood, their DNA.
"Red hot! Real hot!"
"Please. Just Joker. Or Genius. Unappreciated artiste. Champion of the true nature of ..."
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!"
"Not. In. My. Ear! I'm right up close to you!"
Superman let the Joker go, the man straightening his clothes and brushing his hair back into position with exaggerated movements.
"... I was gonna tell you anyway."
Joker waved his hand into the air. "That little government black ops operation that wanted to commit an act of genocide by killing every last surviving Kryptonian? They had a massive R and D budget, and wanted to create human soldiers who had a chance in hell in fighting Kryptonians hand to hand. So ... they got their hands on Kryptonian blood, skin, bodies, during the times there was a punch up here on Earth ... had more success with that when they tried to clone you because they had more to work with. Basically, they discovered how to rewrite Kryptonian over human DNA."
Superman tried to cover up his horror. Not very well.
"Turned out the General in charge had a thing about turning humans into ... the enemy and shelved the project. And you should know I'm all about the chemistry ... biological warfare, weapons of mass fun ... in short, I founds it. I loads the combined genetic package onto a viral vector and spread it via aerosol throughout the entire city while you, the only person who could locate a microscopic organism and shut it down, were looking for me, a person."
Superman scanned the city. The changes were beginning, genetics overwritten, new, superior organs growing and subsuming the originals, all with solar powered superspeed.
"And considering you've been looking at the city instead of me, listening instead of looking at me ..."
A purple fist connected with Superman's chin with more power than it should ever possess, staggering the Kryptonian.
"... you'd have noticed I'd infected myself twenty minutes ago."
A tall, lanky figure knocked the Man of Steel down, grappling, pinning him. Superman began to realise how a man who spent literally decades training himself for battle would have trouble against this madman.
"Normally, I'd keep you alive, see how much fun it would be too see you fight against several million super-people, but to be honest? While Batman was perfect for me ..."
Superman tried to stop the arm wedged around his neck.
"... I'm afraid to say I'm just not seeing the chemistry between us."
An unhumanly fast, experienced squeeze and twist.
"... and you should know I'm all about the chemistry."
The Joker kicked the red-and-blue body off the side of the tower. Or rather, he meant to, instead seeing the corpse propelled into the distance.
Oh well, plenty of time to see how strong he was.
The Joker looked at his whole new city ... and world, to play with.