The Joker #7 – James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, Writers; Guillem March, Sweeney Boo, Artists; Arif Prianto, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: One of the best things about this title—which will outlive James Tynion IV’s run on Batman—is how it manages to tell a true global Bat-story that feels like the best spy thriller in the DCU. And it does it without its title character often being front and center. Joker really doesn’t appear in this issue, but his influence is felt loud and clear. The opening segment, which sees Santa Prisca being transformed into a tourist paradise, brings back the highly underrated character of Julia Pennyworth in a spectacular action segment. I’m also glad we’re seeing her reaction to Alfred’s death and the fallout it caused with the Bat-family. Not that I think Alfred will be staying dead for too long, but Julia’s anger here speaks for the fans!
Jim Gordon ended last issue being arrested by French authorities, but it seems that’s as much a feint as anything. He’s not actually a suspect, but a player in the hunt led by Isabella Hallows, his Parisian counterpart who has had her own battle with vigilantes over the years. The dinner shared between the two of them sheds some fascinating light on how Batman’s crusade has influenced not just Gotham but the whole world, and the way the madness has started creeping across borders. It’s always good to see the Batgirls, and the dialogue in their segment is fantastic—until it gets interrupted by a surprise Talon attack. There is so much going on in this issue it would feel overwhelming in lesser hands, but instead it’s probably the best Bat-book at the moment.
Then there’s the Punchline backup, as Harper Row continues to delve deeper into the mystery of Punchline’s past—if she can survive Blackgate prison first. Much of this short story is a tense escape from Punchline and her minions, but the one woman who might be able to shed light on the villains’ story is lurking in the prison as well. Meanwhile, Cullen finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into the world of some of Gotham’s deadliest criminals. Not too many big events this issue, but Sweeney Boo’s art is fantastic as always.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.