Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Batman Annual #3
Tynion, Antonio & Filardi
The latest Batman annual is a good read that focuses on a regular character and his dealings with The Joker over the years. The book is not written or drawn by the series regulars (Snyder and Capullo), which makes the book not essential reading but may ultimately stand up as an interesting self-contained read about The Joker. Whether that’s now or down the road, it makes for lasting entertainment. I recommend checking this out for an interesting take on a relationship with one of the more infamous villains in comics.
A newspaper foreign correspondent returns home to Gotham after a number years away and finds a very different scene. This is back when Batman and his rogue gallery began running around Gotham. Naturally the man is curious about some of the goings on and decides he will brave the waters and get to know one of the more treacherous characters: The Joker. Sure, the warnings come from his boss, his colleagues, but he’s faced civil war generals that committed unspeakable acts against their own citizens, including children. Surely he can handle a nut-job dressed as a clown?
A quick stakeout, turns into a confrontation with The Joker and the pair have some interesting dialogue before Batman and Robin can break things up. Over the next five years, whenever possible, The Joker finds his “friend” and has a kind, but psychologically torturing relationship with his journalist friend. This leads to constant paranoia and a degrading measure of ruin over time. It’s a great read.
The part of the book that was difficult to get behind was the inclusion of continuity. This made the timeline jump in an unnatural way to try to place The Joker where he needs to be to match existing stories. There is one point where the pair don’t meet for two and half years, but in another small break of a year and a half or so, the journalist finds himself a bride and has his one year anniversary while establishing an entirely new identity. She’s involved in one confrontation with The Joker, but isn’t out of the picture after the two and a half year break. I find myself distracted by trying to make sense of these events during these time brackets.
The books works great because it builds the terror and the paranoia while slowly bringing the journalist off of his perch. The book is over sized, which provides some space to accomplish this, but it works very well in the tension and terror department. The book also has a nice pace as it doesn’t spend more than a few pages on any given scene and each scene has just enough for the reader to get grounded before the build-up, climax and move to the next scene or time period.
The artwork is good. There are some scenes, particularly with Harley Quinn where the anatomy just doesn’t render too well. Particularly, in her legs or entire lower half of her body. However, the artwork builds up the terror nicely and couldn’t depict a more terrifying Joker if it tried. There are definitely more highs than lows for the artwork.
If you like a good Joker story then here is a good one for you. It actually does have Batman in it, but not much at all. Even without Batman there is a good character study of The Joker and how he might twist a regular person. It’s a chilling read by the end of the comic book. I recommend checking this out.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles