Batman: Three Jokers #2 – Geoff Johns, Writer; Jason Fabok, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Geoff Johns is usually a writer known for epic cosmic action and superhero adventure. But he delves deep into his darkest instincts for this Gotham-based thriller, as the three people hurt most by Joker over the decades confront the monster—in three faces. When we last left off, Jason Todd had slain his own personal demon and killed “the clown,” the Joker from Death in the Family, in front of Barbara Gordon. This issue does an amazing job of delving into the trauma that both Barbara and Jason have undergone and how it affected them—while the family rallied behind Barbara and supported her through her recovery, Jason was left alone to struggle through his pain and reinvent himself in blood. I’m not sure Bruce’s calm approach to Jason’s actions this issue are exactly in character—they seem like a kinder, gentler Bruce than we’re used to—but it’s definitely preferable to the alternative of a Bruce that views his son as just another rogue to be defeated.
Joker is absolutely terrifying in this comic, as he should be. While The Clown is dead, we get a horrifying flash to The Comedian’s twisted fantasy life. The Criminal, the first of the Jokers and the seeming mastermind, reminds me of a more serious Jack Nicholson Joker at times. The addition of Joe Chill to this comic is an unexpected wrinkle, as Batman finds his parents’ killer as a dying old man in Blackgate. I’m not usually a big fan of Joe Chill stories, but this one has potential. This book has been delayed quite a bit, so there are some unexpected similarities to Joker War—particularly in Joker’s horde of mind-controlled minions that resemble a zombie army. While Joker War uses reanimated corpses, Batman: Three Jokers uses mind-controlled victims. A harrowing segment in which Jason is kidnapped by the remaining Jokers with a twisted goal is the issue’s most effective, although something that spins out of it is sure to be the issue’s most controversial moment. While I did see the last-act twist coming, this is one of the most effective Bat-thrillers I’ve read in a while. Geoff Johns waited a long time to write Batman in the main continuity, and the wait was more than worth it.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.