The Joker #4 – James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, Writers; Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo, Artists; Arif Prianto, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorists
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The last three issues have been a slow burn, as Jim Gordon committed to a dangerous mission and left for Belize to track Joker—at the same time various villainous forces decided to follow suit with their own plans for the killer clown. But this issue, everything converges in an explosive issue that finds the arch-enemies on the same side for a brief moment. Gordon’s narration, as he reflects on all the mistakes he’s made and the people he’s let down along the way, ties the issue together perfectly. And he has lots of time to reflect on it as he tries to survive a hail of bullets both from the enemies and from the Joker—who has apparently been stockpiling weapons for an invasion he knew was coming.
We don’t know much about the new female Bane yet, and most of the other villains are just creepy ciphers, but once Joker is unleashed at the end of the issue, things pick up in a big way. Tynion knows how to write the villain with an odd sense to him—of course he wasn’t behind A-Day. It doesn’t fit his MO—there’s no real joke to it. The two-man play that ends this issue is some of the best writing of the series, and there’s a surprise burst of fun when we flash back to Gotham as Cass and Steph help Oracle investigate the mysterious Cressida. Batman might not be in this book, but it’s a perfect combo of all the things that make Batman books work. Tynion continues to hit the main story out of the park.
The backup, in what I believe is the final chapter for Mirka Andolfo before she moves on to a major Black Label project, is a fast-paced read. When we last left Harper Row, she was tricked into ingesting a paralysis potion and was trapped as Punchline’s psycho former partner set her up to die in a fire. The tension in this segment is excellent, and the Punchline segments continue to establish just how easy it is for her to manipulate—as she gets closer and closer to being Queen of Blackgate. Looking forward to seeing how Sweeney Boo continues this story.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.