Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #9 review

A miracle has happened in this issue of Joker. We get plot progression! It’s not much plot progression. In fact, I could pretty much sum it up in 3 sentences. However, at least we get somewhere.

Killer Croc and Joker

Throughout this story, we’ve met various Batman rogues who each have a different opinion on who the real Joker is. During one of the Joker’s fights with Killer Croc, Croc explains that the reason no one really can differentiate between the two is that no one in Gotham, aside from Harley once upon a time, knows or cares who the Joker is. They just know him as the freaky murder-clown, and that’s all that matters. It makes no difference to them who the “real one” is because Gotham will be left with the same clown-freak regardless of who wins the fight.

I have a couple thoughts on this. First of all, the minor mention of Harley reminded me of what we’ve lost with DC turning her into yet another hero who hates the Joker. She could’ve very well been utilized in this story as the only one able to tell who’s the real Joker, but DC just hasn’t wanted these two to interact beyond Harley affirming that she hates Joker now (again and again). Secondly, while it’s a good observation to say that the other villains of Gotham don’t care at all about who the Joker is, I feel this commentary kind of ruins any intrigue this story could have.

Where Are We Really Going With This?

It means that no matter how this story ends, whether we find out who the real Joker is or whether it’s always left as a mystery, we’re just right back to the status quo. This series isn’t making any interesting new developments on Joker’s character. It’s just affirming what he already is on a superficial level. That wouldn’t be so bad if this was an insanely entertaining series, but as you can tell from my previous reviews, it really hasn’t been.

At least the artwork is better in this issue. I liked the details of the various locations from Croc in the Sewer to Ventriloquist in the theater. It looked much less 2-dimensional than the last few issues’ art. The action and dialogue sequences were more fast paced, which I think helped the reading experience go much quicker this time.

We also get a little update on Red Hood, who was arrested chapters ago, and now… is out of custody. This is the problem with this series. Any bit of plot progression we get is something that could have clearly happened much sooner. For example…


The Jokers both assemble their own teams of rogues to fight each other in a war. Didn’t we just get a comic arc called Joker War? While this development isn’t terribly original, I feel like we could’ve gotten here by the 6th issue rather than the ninth.


Back Up

The back up is another Silver Age-style comic with art by Will Robson again. This time, however, the comic is not aiming to be a silly and dark one. It’s a very strange story of Gordon, who witnesses the Joker dropping to his death. But then Gordon cannot accept that the clown is truly dead even after the autopsy. So Gordon goes off and becomes a crazy clown himself. What’s the point? If this was meant to be a story about how denial and paranoia leads to someone’s own downfall, it needed more development. It felt quite random.

Recommended if…

  • You’ve come this far in the Joker series and you want to see it through to the end


Despite some improvements in this issue, the only thing that’s keeping me into this series is I’m curious about the Knight Terrors tie-in next month. Exploring the Joker’s worst fear as being him working a 9-5 job actually sounds brilliant. As for the rest of this run, it’s overall just mundane and forgettable.

Score: 6/10

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