Now the most wanted man in the world, The Joker sets out on his newest chapter…  Your Major Spoilers review of The Joker #1 from DC Comics awaits!


Writer: James Tynion IV/Sam Johns
Artist: Guillem March/Mirka Andolfo
Colorist: Arif Prianto/Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Tom Napolitano/Ariana Maher
Editor: Ben Abernathy/Dave Wielgosz
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 9, 2021

Previously in The JokerThe Joker is the most wanted man in the world! But the Clown Prince of Crime is several steps ahead of law enforcement, and he’s on the run overseas.  James Gordon, facing retirement, realizes this is the manhunt of his life and the last piece of a storied career… but what mysterious and deadly forces are also in pursuit of The Joker?


This issue begins not with The Joker, but with Jim Gordon, the former commissioner of Gotham.  In the wake of Joker’s latest escape (which included the gassing of dozens of Arkham inmates and employees, including Bane and The Scarecrow, whom I don’t believe are dead for even a second), he has been experiencing nightmares about the one who got away.  Gordon remembers a cop back in his Chicago days who insisted that, sometimes, you see evil and know that it’s more than just crime.  In those instances, he advised, you will want to respond with deadly force.  Gordon isn’t sure if it’s a warning or advice, but when he is approached by a rich woman who wants to pay him to find and kill The Joker, he’s not sure if he wants to take it.  The backup story deals with Punchline, still in jail in Gotham, as her followers demand that she be released.  Leslie Thompkins and Harper Row need to find hard evidence that Punchline committed the crimes she’s accused of, but that’s complicated by her brother becoming one of her followers.


Guillem March does really good work with the art on the first story, reminding me of a cross between Tim Sale and David Mazzuchelli, really selling ex-Commissioner Gordon’s angst and bad dreams.  Every page is layered with nuance and darkness that really sells the Gordon’s dilemma, especially the scene at his son’s grave.  There’s even a beautiful shot of a mural dedicated to the late Bane that is utterly enthralling, while the premise of Gordon hunting down the Joker to kill him, while abhorrent, is a strong one.  The backup story is a little less impressive to me, but the use of Harper and Leslie is nicely done, and it’s easy to see how a story about a social media campaign by a total monster would be appealing in today’s climate.  In short, it’s a pretty good comic and I hate every single second of it.  It’s dark, it’s grim, the horrors of The Joker’s latest crime spree feel much more sensational and horrific than usual (including, apparently, cutting out his own eye?) and there’s an almost gleeful sense that we’re supposed to revel in the violence and root for the monsters.


If you’re a Bat-fan, someone obsessed with the idea that The Joker should be the main character or a fan of the recent movie outing, you’ll probably enjoy The Joker #1, as the first story is strong in both story and art terms, and the backup balances the obnoxiousness of Punchline with well-done character bits that work, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I gotta tell you, though, I hope that this isn’t the tone of all the Infinite Frontier material, because I’m incredibly disturbed by this issue’s distasteful bits.

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It's Good... I Hate It.

Don't get me wrong, this book is a solid bit of comic book storytelling, but I cannot stand Punchline and I find the lead story's premise off-putting. If you're a Bat-fan, it'll probably be your jam.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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