DC This Week Roundup – Joker Double-Feature

Comic Books DC This Week
The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #6 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #6 – Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Cady, Writers; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Will Robson, Artists; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Hi-Fi, Colorists

Ray – 8/10

Ray: The bedraggled Gotham Joker is out of commission, so this issue is devoted almost entirely to the LA Joker—and that helps kick this issue up a few notches. This version of the Joker is more charismatic and chaotic, but still just as violent—such as hitting a comedian with acid because he didn’t like his jokes. But there’s just one problem—he doesn’t quite understand LA. As he gets prepared to get back to Gotham, he has one violent surprise in store for the city. The only problem is, he’s planning his getaway at the wrong airport, meaning he has to get across town and deal with LA traffic, street hustlers dressed as Batman, and even a surprise vigilante appearance. It’s a bizarre and pretty funny segment that actually makes Joker briefly work as a protagonist.

Then there’s the backup, which has a guest co-writer and artist. It’s just as Silver Age silly as the past few, but with a different tone. It focuses on Ralph, the Joker’s twin brother who lives in suburbia with his family—until Joker dies, and Ralph is asked to fulfill his last will and testament. Naturally, that means causing chaos in Gotham—and he starts to like it. It’s all ridiculous, and pretty fun.

Batman & the Joker: The Deadly Duo #5 cover, via DC Comics.

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #5 – Marc Silvestri, Writer/Artist; Arif Prianto, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: At the center of this story has been one horrific day for Gotham City—the day the Simms wedding turned into a massacre, and Big Bad Donald Sims lost his eye and his daughter, and eventually his sanity. It’s been hinted that his loss led him to the mad experiments that have been terrorizing Gotham, and this issue shows the whole gruesome event in full detail for the first time. Overall, the plot here isn’t bad—Joker being aligned with Batman is honestly the least interesting parts, as all he seems to do is hang around and snark. But its take on Batman isn’t bad, and the art is nicely creepy when the villains show up. This issue reveals the truth behind the experiments, as well as giving us a nice twist ending in a particularly creepy segment. But while it works decently as a horror comic, it lacks the noir edge that makes the best Batman horror comics work. Instead, it feels like an ’80s splatterpunk horror, and there’s only so far that can go.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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