Joker: the Man Who Stopped Laughing #8 review

I don’t hate this issue of Joker as much as I have the last few issues. There are some good things to glean from it. But if you’re hoping for a lot of plot progression here, after chapter after chapter of this series has gone no where, well you’re out of luck.

About Comic Book Sales

Let me say this though, I follow what sales estimates we get for comics, and I’ve been using them as part of my reviews to discuss how comic readership at large seems to be reacting. Of the three ongoings that I’m reviewing, Poison Ivy sells the most. Her comic is flawed, but probably the best written solo I’m currently reviewing. She’s also a character who hadn’t been utilized for years up to this point. Harley Quinn isn’t selling well at all. Years of overexposure and bad representation seem to have caught up to that character.

How Well Has Joker Been Selling?

What about Joker though? This series is not the highest selling comic, but it consistently places at about the 50-60 mark in the sales rankings (decent sales). That’s despite the fact that this has been a mostly awful run. It hasn’t been getting much discussion around the story either. Fans buy it though, because it’s the Joker. That’s what I’m getting at here. It doesn’t matter what this comic actually is. It’s got “JOKER” on the title, so it’s a guaranteed seller. I think that’s the real point of the series: just make sure there’s a Joker book on the comic stands each month so DC can always capitalize on his popularity.

As such, this is yet another issue that does little to progress what simple story we already have. The most plot development we get is a little bit that reveals how Red Hood has been manipulated to get involved with this “Two Jokers” mystery. We also get a set up where it seems Batgirl will assist Red Hood in getting out of jail. The rest of the issue is dedicated to the two Jokers fooling around and fighting in their own respective corners of the world. No progression on who either of these Joker really are, 8 issues in.


Joker Antics

It’s through the antics of these two Jokers that we get our entertainment from this comic, however. Rosenberg has been very hit or miss with his humor for the character. His voice for the Joker generally lands in this chapter, however. After years of getting a Joker defined by wanting to kill everyone in the most gruesome ways possible, I enjoy reading a rendition of the character that is just trying to display his own sense of comedy and charisma through every situation he’s in. He doesn’t have to kill everyone. He just wants to be theatrical.

The scenes with the other Joker in the sewers fighting Killer Croc were a little less entertaining, being more focused on the action. While the second Joker is still displaying the same nuance as the first one (not needing to be just about murder) his witty dialogue needs to be present and strong, just enough to keep this otherwise empty comic the least bit engaging.

What’s Happened to the Artwork?

The artwork, for the action especially, seems to struggle in this comic. For example, Manhunter slams Joker into a car, multiple times, in one page. The concept is great, but Di Giandomenico doesn’t do a good job of conveying the motion (there are no lines to give the illusion of Joker being pulled back, then slammed into the car). It ruins what could’ve been a great visual. In general, I see the artwork as having become thread bare in detail and interest, though. It’s part of what makes it hard to get engaged with the comic in the first place.

But does any of that matter, really? After all, this is a JOKER comic. It doesn’t seem DC has to do much to get people to buy it. I imagine we’ll be getting more and more filler issues like this for the rest of this series just to pad it out to the inevitable ending. The story here doesn’t really matter. Keeping a Joker book on the stands for the time being does.


The back-up, for some reason, brings us back to the artwork of Francavilla trying to mimic the style of Silver Age comics again. This one has a premise that’s a little more interesting. The Joker decides that the fight between the good guys and bad guys just winds up getting people hurt. He then decides to kill all the good guys to end the suffering. There are some genuinely funny jokes in here, like a news reel playing below some panels declaring, “Bruce Wayne found dead in a Batman costume. Batman unavailable for comment.”

However, Rosenberg is still unable to balance the wackiness of the Silver Age with the incredibly dark comedy and violence of the Joker. Therefore, it still doesn’t entirely work.

Recommended if…

  • You want a Joker that is more about jokes than murder.


Joker: the Man Who Stopped Laughing still isn’t a good book, despite the main character being a little more entertaining in this chapter. Readers seem to buy anything with the character’s name on it, however. Because of this, you can expect the series to continue, just as it has been.


Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.