Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin
Colours: June Chung
Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 6th June 2018
With Booster Gold’s time travelling adventure now well and truly wrapped up, we return to Gotham City to follow up on a story featuring everyone’s favourite psychotic clown, The Joker. During the DC Nation short we discovered that Mr J had found out about Batman and Catwoman trying the knot, and that he was waiting in a stranger’s house for his invitation. This is the follow up to that short story.
Tom King takes some time this issue to remind us of a very important fact: The Joker is not a nice person. At the beginning of this story the Joker decides he wants to speak to Batman and to do so shoots up a church leaving no survivors. The tale that unfolds from there is a familiar yet somewhat horrifying series of events. The Joker attempts to recount his past but is unable to do so with any real clarity. He flips between crazed lunatic and confused witness several times and it is a delight to see him not being made as relatable or goofy as he is often portrayed.
Mikel Janin is on pencils again this month and his darker version of the Joker is a sight to behold. Fusing the nightmare vision of Capullo’s Joker with some familiar and unique aspects of his own turned out to be a master stroke, just as it was during in the War of Jokes and Riddles. This version of the clown prince of crime is creepier because he feels real, and the confused and often pained expressions on his face immediately followed by a sinister grin speak to his complicated and fractured persona. Of course, Batman makes an appearance too and he is every bit the impressive guardian of Gotham, tall and imposing yet silent and lethal.
June Chung brings us a dream like colour scheme here, delivering a haunting vision of Gotham City. Batman, ever the ally of the shadows should really dominate this issue but The Joker is given a deeper shade of deadly purple and along with his chalk white skin and piercing green eyes he battles constantly for the readers attention.
By this point, it’s very easy to believe that Tom King and his crew of creatives can do no wrong, and every issue produced by this particular collaboration is both striking and instantly re-readable. The Joker actually feels dangerous again and that is the direct result of a strong narrative and excellent artistic direction. The final panel is one heck of a cliff hanger that I am super excited to see the conclusion to next issue.
This issue is a great first issue for a new reader or an excellent new arc for existing readers – everything you need to know is explained by the Joker as part of his colourful monologue. The team once again utilise a unique visual style coupled with a strong narrative giving us one of the most exciting books on the shelves today. This really needs to be in your pull list and as close to the top as possible. Avoid spoilers and consume this at your earliest opportunity, you will not regret it!
The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato