It’s villain’s month for DC and how could I resist an issue starring the guy who got me started down the road of comic books, Mr J. himself?
If the New 52 Joker has left you pining for his fresh-faced looks of old, this is just what the doctor ordered. Writer Andy Kubert also brings some of the pathos of Alan Moore’s Killing Joke Joker to his take on the character, with flashbacks of Joker’s childhood. (Gaggy the monkey hand puppet, by the way? I want one!
A cute story of fatherly love between man and gorilla, this issue exactly captures the manic energy of the Joker. One of the things that interests me most about his character is that he’s a cartoon in world of illustrations. He’s unpredictable, sinister beneath a veneer of fun, and has a complete disregard for safety. In one panel, he and his adopted gorilla son, Jackanapes, are stealing cookies from a girl scout, a couple of panels later they’re shooting down helicopters, no discerning line drawn between the two. He is mad and dangerous, but there is also something strangely innocent about him. The page that truly summed up his character for me was Joker wearing an apron, spooning baby food into the a young gorilla’s mouth whilst two people in the background lie murdered. Very disturbing, very Joker.
I don’t see how this story’s going to have much of an impact on the DCU, and the conclusion felt a little rushed and forced, but it was good fun.
The colours in this are beautiful, all those greens and purples and pops of orange. Clarke’s flashback panels are slightly sketchy and have a Tim Burton-esque feel to them, yet they sit well beside the brighter present day panels. The artwork is strong, simple but not overly so. Visually, it’s an appealing issue.
It might not be for everyone, but I think Joker fans will want to add it to their collections.