Review – The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #3 – Emergency Surgery

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The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #3 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #3 – Matthew Rosenberg, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Francesco Francavilla, Artists; Arif Prianto, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: Violence is basically an essential part of any Joker book, but how that violence plays out makes the difference between a darkly funny book and one that just feels gratuitous. The first part of this issue toes that line constantly, sometimes with great effect. Splitting the story between the two Jokers, it doesn’t give us many answers about the supposed imposter—the “Hollywood Joker,” who’s trying to take over the country’s crime scene. He only appears briefly, being rebuffed by the Legion of Doom and even Punchline who has moved on from him. Meanwhile, the scrappy Gotham Joker finds himself caught between Harley and Jason Todd, both of whom rather gleefully want him dead.

Close calls. Via DC Comics.

He winds up drowned in the Gotham river, is rescued by some homeless people who quickly regret it, before he staggers into a Gotham hospital demanding help for his possible poisoning and a very real bullet in his head. Naturally, his method for getting that help is to hold a doctor hostage and possibly place a bomb in the hospital. This version of Joker is actually pretty funny at times, narrating the issue with some bizarre old jokes and riddles. I just wish that he seemed to do more than wander from one brutal beatdown to another and occasionally kill a random person he comes across. Neither Joker really feels much like the deadly arch-nemesis of Batman, and I’m wondering if that’s a clue to something.

The Francavilla backup only enhances the surreal feeling, as the backups continue with the theme of over-the-top ’60s-style “lost” Joker adventures. In this one, Joker manages to anger Big Barda, which results in him having a one-on-one encounter with the wheels of a train. He survives—but is missing his second half, which means he has to be dragged to the hospital for an emergency leg transplant in the most ridiculous way possible. Unlike the main story, this one isn’t even trying to be taken seriously—which might actually make it work better.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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