Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colours: Marcelo Maiolo
Release Date: 28th December, 2016
[Warning: This review contains spoilers]
Terry McGinnis’ disguise as a “Joker” does not very last long in this issue, much like my patience for this story.
Remaining undercover in Jokerz Town, Terry McGinnis earns a place within Terminal’s inner circle. He does what he can to protect Dana Tan while formulating a plan to get them out of this colorful part of town. The jig is up before it begins however, because both Tan and Terminal recognize him under the disguise. Terminal rounds them up, but not before knocking McGinnis around. All the while, Max and Matt work behind the scenes to repair the Batsuit. Matt even goes behind enemy lines to get it back to his older brother.
This issue had potential to show how far McGinnis would be willing to go in order to join the ranks of the Jokerz; however, it’s all hypothetically told via Tan’s exposition. A lot seems to happen in this issue but in reality, there isn’t much going on. The story is dedicated to filling in either McGinnis and/or Tan regarding prior events (Terminal bringing back the Joker, even the giant joker is back and whaling on Terry, etc.). These are things the readers already know – assuming they’re following this series – so it ends up as more of a recap than progressing the story forward.
Writer Dan Jurgens seems to be holding back information for a bigger reveal, but with each of the characters being limited by this style of storytelling, it seems like everyone is just running around until that big revel finally comes. For example, Max and Matt are always seen running around trying to help McGinnis, which works since they’re filling in for Bruce Wayne as support. Jurgens has included them into the stories, but this time it comes off as over the top. Matt is shown navigating the streets of Jokerz Town all the while wearing Robin’s red and green color scheme. Perhaps by Matt joining his older brother to save Neo Gotham, Matt might find an actual place in this world. With McGinnis still trying to earn the mantle of Batman back, it highlights everyone else’s unpreparedness.
The issue ends on an interesting note that reveals that the corpse isn’t the Joker but Bruce Wayne. It should be exciting to see the upcoming albeit personal battle between McGinnis and Terminal. Originally I thought the janitor would turn out to be Wayne in disguise, but at this point it might be safe to say that it isn’t. Though with multiple Jokers, Superman/Clark Kents, etc. anything is possible in the DC Rebirth Universe.
Bernard Chang’s artwork continues to be on point, but it’s the desecration of Wayne’s corpse that is the both terrifying yet arguably the best looking moments in the entire issue. Colorist Marcelo Maiolo makes this book absolutely stunning! His use of washed out vibrant colors brings Terminal’s club to life while the blues and lighting effects create a surreal night backdrop for Neo Gotham.
Overall this was a bit of a disappointing issue, which only makes it harder to recommend. Jurgens is playing the long game, but will it be worth the wait? There are some interesting ideas on the board, but it seems like there are still several pieces that need to be introduced or revealed. I hope Jurgens gets as many issues as he needs in order tell the story he envisioned, but he really needs to start picking up the pace.
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The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511