The Joker #8 – James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, Writers; Guillem March, Rosi Kampe, Artists; Arif Prianto, Marissa Louise, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: And now for something completely different. Last issue we saw Jim Gordon take a nice vacation in Paris, try to get away from the Joker—and promptly be arrested by Interpol where he met a new potential ally in Inspector Isabella Hallows of Interpol. It looked like his fortunes might be looking up, but their alliance was very short-lived, as they were interrupted by the hulking Vengeance. The new, female Bane proceeded to attack and critically wound Hallows, seemingly taking her out of the issue, and abscond with Jim. But she’s not targeting him—rather, she sees him as an ally in the same goal of killing the Joker. And so, Jim Gordon’s crazy world tour takes another bizarre turn out of his control.
Vengeance has been lurking around the fringes of this comic since the start, but this issue finally gives her the focus as we find out her origin. Even knowing what we know about Bane, it’s pretty disturbing and makes you equally sympathetic towards her and terrified of her. And then there’s her extended monologue about how she would kill the Joker if she had the chance. It’s deeply, deeply disturbing and violent, almost shockingly graphic for a main-line DC book, and briefly took me out of the comic. But Joker is lurking in the background, as always, and Jim is carried further along to what’s sure to be a bloody final showdown. Not every issue of this book is perfect on its own, but there are few titles that build tension as effectively.
And then there’s the Punchline backup, which gets its third regular artist in Rosi Kampe. Kampe’s art is more realistic than the stylized Andolfo and Sweeney Boo, but it’s fitting for what’s essentially a jailbreak thriller. Now that Harper has successfully found Kelly and forged an alliance with Orca, there’s only one thing left to do—escape the prison without getting murdered by Punchline and her army. It’s a tense, action-packed ten pages that continue to sell Punchline in her new role as the Queen of Blackgate.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.