Review: Batman Confidential #22

by

The Joker goes to jail, and nothing will ever be the same…AGAIN!

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In what appears to be tale inspired by or related to the Dark Knight movie, the latest issue of Batman Confidential shows what happened the first time Batman captured the Clown Prince of Crime and tossed him in the slammer.

BMCON-Cv22.jpgBatman Confidential is a pretty hit and miss title for me.  I like the concept of telling early tales of Batman and the rest of the Bat family, but that was already done in the pages of Legends of the Dark Knight (and done much better I might add).  So I’ve been less than thrilled with the adventures of naked Batgirl and Catwoman, or the horrendous origin story of the Batplane that kicked off the series.  It’s taken Batman Confidential 22 issues to deliver a story that makes the reader go “whoa!”, and it just so happens to feature The Joker.

Yes, I know there was that other Batman Confidential story arc that supposedly told the origin of the Joker, but it was so bad, I find myself curled up in the corner crying every time it is mentioned, so let’s just pretend it never happened, m’kay?

Interestingly, the first chapter of Do You Understand These Rights?  is not really a story about Batman.  Yes, it does show Batman at the beginning and end of the issue, but the rest of the space features the Detectives of the Gotham City Police Department and how they deal with the sudden appearance of a homicidal maniac.

The detectives in question are easily identified, but it’s nearly impossible to pin a name on either of the two leads until late in the issue when one of their names is called out.  At first I thought the heavy-set detective might have been Harvey Bullock during a better, brighter time in his life – just off a honeymoon, things are going great, has a partner he gets along with, and so on.  Had they used the Bullock name it might explain so much more about the the character that has become a staple in the Batman titles, made his story more tragic, and made a better tie to the Batman universe.  But what’s in a name, as the end result is the same; the Joker messes with your mind for his own amusement.

There are some humorous moments in the beginning as the Joker is booked, including a goofy little bit of the Joker mugging during his mug shots.  After that, things turn to the dark side, as the Joker is thrown in among the rest of the prison population, and all hell breaks loose.  During a scuffle between The Joker and Geoff (that’s the Harvey Bullock-like character’s name), the pasty-faced criminal lifts Geoff address book.  When given the chance to use his one phone call, the Joker decides to call Geoff’s new bride and say some not so nice things.  The end result is so shocking, you’ll half expect Brad Pitt to come out screaming, “What’s in the box!?”  And the Joker did it all over the phone!

This is a solid story, and kudos to Andrew Kreisberg for delivering a story that appears light in the first half, but quickly turns to reveal the Joker is someone you don’t want to mess with.  The art is also nicely done by Scott McDaniel, with inks by Andy Owens.

I came very close to dropping this title after the last issue, but this Joker story has me wondering if DC has figured out exactly what needs to be done story wise, that I’m willing to follow this story arc to conclusion and see what happens next before I make my final decision.  I’m giving Batman Confidential #22 a solid 4 out of 5 Stars.

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