In the last two issues of Joker, we were introduced to two people claiming to be the real Clown Prince of Crime. One of them professed to have changed his ways, wanting to do good now, while the other was one of the more vicious depictions of the Joker that we’ve seen as of late.
Do we get more clues as to who these two Jokers really are this month? Let’s find out!
I was having a very difficult time writing my reviews for the first two issues. They were both neither good nor bad enough to leave a real impression on me. When I received this chapter, I hoped the story would pick up. Unfortunately, I now think the series has gone from middling territory to outright bad.
I was so utterly confused throughout this entire comic due to its depiction of the multiple “Jokers.” Something I praised before was how the artwork was used to help the reader differentiate between the two Jokers. One Joker was drawn with spaced-out lines across his face, softer eyes, and calmer expressions, giving him a more non-threatening look. The other was drawn with a lot of close, sharp lines, intense eyes, and more exaggerated expressions, giving him an unhinged and sinister look. Now, however, the two depictions seem to cross over. We have a scene end with something specific happening to the “softer” Joker (like getting shot). Then, we get a scene where it seems the “softer” Joker is doing something completely different at the same time in a different location. Then, we get a scene where the more “unhinged” Joker is in a different scenario, yet referencing events that happened to the other Joker as if they happened to him.
This happens throughout this issue with very quick cuts between locations and times. I went from piecing together the mystery to not being sure of what I just read. I get that Rosenberg wants to keep the reader guessing and not spoiling the mystery too quickly, but there’s a difference between doing that and confusing and frustrating your audience. If I had been reading this in trade, I might have given up at this chapter.
Things I Liked…
In spite of that, there are still a few things I liked about the comic. Aside from the confusing depictions of the two (or more?) Jokers, the artwork was still pretty great. I especially liked the snowy nighttime sequence where colorist Arif Prianto masterfully portrayed how the yellow car lights would shade both the people and the snowfall at various distances. It looked really gorgeous. The action was also nicely drawn as well. I appreciated how Carmine Di Giandomenico depicted the faded image of Jason jumping on his hands before back-flip-kicking an enemy. (I especially needed that in order to see exactly what Jason did).
Rosenberg’s dialogue is also still pretty decent. There was even a joke from one of the Jokers that got me to laugh at one point, but obviously these things would be better if they complimented a more cohesive story.
Why Does it Have That Title?
At this point, I’m also questioning why this series is called “The Man Who Stopped Laughing.” The plot line about the Joker professing to have turned a new leaf and wanting to help people came and went with the first issue. Now the series is completely focused on the mystery of why there are two Jokers. Unfortunately, the title of the series itself feels like bait to make it sound like we are getting a new, subversive direction with the character. In reality, we are getting a rehash of Geoff John’s The Three Jokers storyline. However, even with all of the problems I had with that story, The Three Jokers did the multiple Joker mystery much better than this series has so far.
Mathew Rosenberg once again delivers the back-up for the comic. It begins with Joker falling in love with another buff female superhero, just as he did in the first back-up story. Then it becomes a dark comedy about the Joker going to the hospital that gets way too violent for the comedic tone Rosenberg is going for.
While I thought the previous back-up story was fun, this one was terrible. It was simultaneously repetitive of the other back-ups Rosenberg has written, and tonally all over the place. It felt like Rosenberg just threw whatever came into his mind onto the page to meet a deadline – which is making me wonder why he was made the sole writer across the entire book. Why not have another writer take on some of the workload and present a more compelling back-up, one that has more of an overall plot line as opposed to random Joker episodes made to look decades old? Instead, the back-ups are starting to feel like forced filler that don’t justify the $5.99 price tag on this comic.
- Geoff John’s The Three Jokers is one of your favorite comics.
- You love the Joker so much, you want multiple!
I don’t like giving out so many negative reviews to comics, but I can’t say that anything in this Joker series is worth $5.99 so far. I’d want a Joker series to be fun or intriguing, or both, but I’ve gone from feeling underwhelmed to being frustrated. DC’s not doing their most iconic villain justice so far.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.