Review – The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #2 – Who Is Joker?

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The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #2 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #2 – Matthew Rosenberg, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Francisco Francavilla, Artists; Arif Prianto, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Ray: The second issue of this revival of Joker’s book is stronger, funnier, and meaner than the first. That’s mostly because the story is now divided into three stories rather than two. We’ve got two different Jokers—one in Los Angeles, where he’s tearing the city apart and trying to stake his claim as the kingpin of the west coast, and the other in Gotham where he’s crawling up from the dirt and trying to put his network back together. Are these the two surviving Jokers from the recent Three Jokers miniseries? I’m not sure, but it’s the cleanest answer. And then there’s Jason Todd, fresh off the events of Task Force Z and at rock bottom himself—and he’s not going to let this mystery go unsolved no matter how many people he has to pummel.

The bloody end. Via DC Comics.

We don’t see too much of the LA Joker this issue, and he’s easily the least interesting part of this comic. I assume he’s the impostor, because he just seems like a one-note killer who turns on his henchmen at the first opportunity. On the other hand, the Gotham Joker is just pathetic—and that makes him a lot of fun to watch. As he tries to track down the few people loyal to him, he winds up running into brick walls as it becomes clear just how much of his “power” was being seen as untouchable rather than actually being powerful. A reunion with Harley goes in a very different direction than I was expecting, and this issue drives home just what a hard time Joker will have clawing his way back to the top.

Then there’s the backup by Francavilla, and these seem to be updated versions of classic Silver Age Joker tales. In this one, Joker feels unappreciated by his fellow villains, so he fakes his death in the most dramatic way possible—all so he can observe in secret as they hold a funeral for him and say nice things about him. He eventually reveals the ruse—and it blows up in his face in hilarious fashion. This is an odd story, one that feels deliberately broad at times, but it made me laugh and the art is brilliant.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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