Batman White Knight Presents: Generation Joker #5 review

Oh my god! We’re almost done! This mini-series just keeps getting worse and this is by far its least interesting issue. I wouldn’t even recommend this to kids anymore. Libraries, jump out while you still can!

Stories like these are exactly why I gave the first Birds of Prey issue a 6/10. DC has burnt me time and time again with promising beginnings only to showcase pure mediocrity at best. My reviews of the terrible flop that was Multiversity: Teen Justice where they absolutely massacred the potential of Gigi reminds me a lot of what I dislike about Generation Joker. You start off with this really cool framing device that allows you to deliver a story in this slick and simultaneous way but the moment you start ramping up the story it all just falls apart. There isn’t a single thread in this mini-series that hasn’t been jumbled up by the mess. The resulting fabric of the story is torn to shreds as we lose track of the kids and make way for a bunch of nonsense.

I mean this isn’t even the first time Katana Collins and Clayton McCormack lazily introduced some backstory that only matters in this issue. While the main story, which could’ve been a great way to involve all the characters, actually makes it impossible to see them influence each other without comical levels of intensity. So you either see these characters making the most intense decisions for the story, or not doing anything at all. A dynamic that I’m really not a fan of. But the characters who aren’t really that intense are just plain boring to look at because of their continued incompetence. I can’t believe we’re still sticking to the police officers, Von Fries, Harley and someone who shall not be named. These characters have all been lurking in the background and whenever they try to impact the main story nothing fundamentally changes.

Y’all might remember that I was actually pretty excited about how the last issue hinted to something pretty major. But my God did it get butchered. I can see someone defending it by saying that the characters all have clear motivations that influence their decisions. To that I would rebuke with, are we really congratulating this comic for the bare minimum? And even then some of these motivations only exist because of the snapshot we got at the beginning. Sure one of the kids’ actions is subtly introduced from the beginning but everything he does removes that subtlety with a sledgehammer.

While I thought the story was pretty mediocre for the most part I also saw in it the potential to have comics express many feelings and tough times that a younger audience could relate to. However this issue sets the kids aside to push forward a plot that has completely lost track of its themes. We’re supposed to be uncovering the legacy of the Joker, Jack Napier and figuring out how his children are always hidden within that shadow they finally get a chance to shine a light on. At some point we were also introduced to the theme of loss and the inability to let go of either Jack Napier or Poison Ivy. These themes could work well in tandem through the technology that keeps Jack’s digital form alive but it’s all fluff! Nothing but the faintest notion of a theme while we run around from place to place and characters shout out the exact meaning of these surface level interactions.

Let’s stray away from the negativity and start talking about awesome art. Mirka Andolfo is the artist for this issue and his panel compositions have been a true delight. They’re erratic when the chase is on, flow smoothly during the action and maintain a level of creativity that is very fun to follow. The character designs maintain this soft and bouncy feeling where, if the writing was able to keep up, any kid could really feel at home reading about characters that look like your Sunday morning cartoons. I’m also a massive fan of the backgrounds in each panel as the story never loses focus of where we are and what’s going on. The backgrounds are richly detailed to allow a real sense of presence for the characters and the world they inhabit especially when they’re at Ivy’s house.

The colors by Alejandro Sánchez have this wonderful granular feel which in addition to the cross hatched shadows compliments the sketchbook aesthetic. You get a real sense of this broken down futuristic hellscape through the colors as the griminess mixes well with the neon lit tech aspects. Meanwhile the lettering by DC Hopkins is incredibly intuitive as we see all the unnecessary babble barely bother us visually since it’s neatly contained in their respective panels. The sound effects are also varied and entertaining to look at with slick blocky effects contrasted by hectic layered ones.

Recommended if…

  • Creative panel compositions compel you
  • You’re a fan of cool looking sound effects
  • You’re in too deep


God I can’t wait for this to be over. The two Joker stories I’m reviewing are at their penultimate issues and it’s honestly such a relief. The fluid storytelling is gone, the subtlety of character decisions is gone, the childhood framing and themes are a mess… Why bother reading this really? Looking at it, sure. But actually trying to unpack it leaves you with nothing more than “oh wow, people have a hard time letting go”, crazy conclusion right there! Really innovative stuff!

Score: 3.5/10

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

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