The Joker #2 – James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, Writers; Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo, Artists; Arif Prianto, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorists
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: For a title with Joker in the title, Joker has relatively little to do in this series so far—and that’s a good thing. Sure, he’s skulking around in central America, enjoying the hospitality of a horribly scarred crime boss and wearing out his welcome. He’s creepy, as he always is when Tynion writes him, but he’s the least interesting part of this series. And that’s because this is easily the best Jim Gordon story since Superheavy. When we last left off, Jim was presented with an opportunity from a mysterious woman—to head down south and track Joker down personally, with the intention of killing him. He’s obviously at his limit, no longer willing to let Joker kill again—but he’s also hesitant to go against Batman’s code, and talks the offer over with him in a compelling segment without giving away one particular detail.
But it’s his conversation with Barbara that really sets this issue apart as one of the best things Tynion has written at DC, as the two finally have a conversation that has been years in the making. Not only is there some serious emotion packed into this issue, but it does a great job of tying up some of the loose ends from the recent Batgirl run that didn’t work at all and seemed to be tearing a rift between the two crimefighters. This is the best look at Barbara’s new status quo we’ve seen yet, as we see her torn between her past as Batgirl and her future as Oracle (possibly). But in case you forgot, there’s a major threat out there, and the issue ends with a fantastic three-pronged segment as we learn just how many people are interested in hunting down Joker—along with the return of a major threat.
Then there’s the Punchline backup, which continues to be excellent as well. As Punchline is in Blackgate, picking fights with the Royal Flush Gang and bringing an underused Gotham villain into the mix, Harper Row continues her hunt through Alexis Kaye’s past. First stop—the future Punchline’s teenage best friend who was her initial partner in crime. This story maybe likes using topical technology references a bit too much, but it’s hard not to enjoy Punchline’s caustic look at the world and the chaos she causes in prison. Plus it’s great to see a starring role for Harper again.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.