Geek Goggle Reviews: Batman #23.1 The Joker

by Jeff

Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews

1500929 Geek Goggle Reviews: Batman #23.1 The JokerBatman (Joker) #23.1
DC Comics
Kubert & Clarke

Framing is everything. If you picked this book up from a random bin at a show or in a store and read it then you would find a disturbing and entertaining one-shot about the Joker, presumably a Silver Age or Bronze Age lost story. However, when put out as the leader in the line-wide promotion for villains taking over the DCU and tie that with the 3D cover gimmick, you have a book with high expectations. When you compound that by putting this particular story in your flagship book, normally guided by your top creative team, that’s reinvented the Joker as something so evil and twisted you are setting lofty expectations. Then you don’t use that A-list creative team that is on its third year of the run of this very title, you have a complete mess of a story. This comic book couldn’t be in a worse spot in the lineup and it suffers horribly as a result.

Basically the comic book is about the Joker and how he decides to friend and train a baby monkey as his partner in crime. The book uses a tiny amount of the Joker’s origin to drive this desire to train a monkey. The origin component is one of child abuse and tries to provide some sort of reason as to why the Joker behaves the way he does. The comic book is almost entirely Joker centric.

The main problem here is that this Joker doesn’t resemble any part of the Joker as seen in the Death of the Family storyline from last year. There is almost no connection at all that I can find between the two characters.

Another problem is that this story doesn’t seem to connect to anything in the current DCU. Not the villains taking over initiative, not the Court of Owls, nothing. It reads like a lost story.

Finally, the book doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why is he training a monkey exactly? And since when does the Joker hang out with a team of people? When does the Joker need a reason to do anything? The Joker doesn’t strike me as the type that every had a background that led him to crime. This is some sort of sympathetic role that just doesn’t fit. This was a very strange story.

geekgoggle Geek Goggle Reviews: Batman #23.1 The JokerThe 3D cover is awesome. It might be the best of the promotion. The artwork is consistently good. The pencils are very polished and very detailed. The book is served well by the artwork. While the book does give a Silver Age view it’s done so in a modern way. It’s a pretty good visual comic book.

DC editorial couldn’t have created a bigger mess if they tried. This comic book manages to snub its nose at any loyal follower of the Snyder/Capullo book while chopping Kubert and Clarke at the knees by putting their story in the flagship book. How DC editorial allowed this incarnation of the Joker into the main Batman book is completely unreasonable. This story hidden away in some other Batman book would have been a decent effort but jamming it in here gives it no chance of surviving. If you’ve missed all Batman books for the last 20 years then you might like what you find in here.

1 out of 5 Geek Goggles

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