DC This Week

Review – The Joker #15: Road’s End

The Joker #15 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Joker #15 – James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, Writers; Giuseppe Camuncoli/Cam Smith/Lorenzo Ruggiero, Sweeney Boo, Artists; Arif Prianto, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: After several months off, we get the conclusion of James Tynion IV’s Joker run—and the greater-scope conclusion of his Batman run as a whole. For fifteen issues, Jim Gordon has been running around the world trying to track the Joker and got pulled into a larger criminal conspiracy involving the Court of Owls, Bane, and a particularly twisted cabal of billionaire cannibal rednecks. Now he’s returned to Gotham, and Batman has one question—exactly what has happened to Joker? This series not only tested Gordon’s will to survive, but how determined he was to keep his sense of morals. He was tempted to kill the Joker multiple times, and even now no one is sure what he ultimately decided.

The lost ones. Via DC Comics.

But then, that’s the problem with a story like this—we know the Joker can’t actually die, so any choice is sort of a foregone conclusion. So it all comes down to how compelling the writer can make it. Tynion, no surprise, sticks the landing and delivers some great new status quos for several players. The character of Vengeance, Bane’s daughter of sorts, is a particularly good addition to the mythos. The unique bond between Batman and Gordon has always been at the heart of this, and their conversation atop the roof is one of the best scenes of the series. It serves as a good closing act for Gordon if the creators want to give him a rest, but it also leaves him in fine position for a reset. In the end, this was more an old-school detective thriller than anything, and it delivers a strong conclusion.

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Also returning for one last act is the Punchline backup, which brings back artist Sweeney Boo for the final chapter. Punchline is now free, having been acquitted, and Harper Row wants answers from her on the fate of the disappeared witness. It’s really more a setup for a new series or one-shot coming this fall, but the creative team has always done a great job of demonstrating just how unbalanced Punchline is while never taking away from how manipulative and cunning she is. She’s a uniquely terrifying villain and I hope future writers manage to keep that vibe.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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This post was last modified on July 2, 2022 9:31 pm

Ray Goldfield

Ray Goldfield is a comics superfan going back almost thirty years. When he's not reading way too many comics a week, he is working on his own writing. The first installment in his young adult fantasy-adventure, "Alex Actonn, Son of Two Seas", is available in Amazon now.

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