Special “Villains Month” Title: Joker 1
Andy Kubert, Andy Clarke
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The Batman tie-in had me very hesitant at first, for three main reasons. The first being that Andy Kubert is a great artist, but I was not familiar with his writing ability and am usually very upset when writers become artists and vice versa. That was not an issue. He was great. The second one was that it wasn’t Scott Snyder, regular series writer. But that ended up being okay, too. And the third issue I had was, how are they going to tell a story about Joker with his face all magically fixed? Well, they didn’t. So all of my initial fears were immediately put aside, warranting a second read through.
This is an entirely flashback story, which is what I initially thought all of Villains Month was going to be, so it was exactly what I was expecting on that end. It was a simple one-and-done Joker story from the past. In a weird way, it was an awkward and bizarre love story, between man and ape, father and son, psycho and killer. Joker kidnaps a baby gorilla and trains him to be not only his pet, but his protégé. And in a weird way, his son. Naturally, things do not go as planned and the poor chimp dies in the heat of battle. Joker then nonchalantly makes a terrible pun at his dead “friend’s” expense, leaving fans assured that the Joker really is not capable of human emotions, excluding joy and rage. The flashback sequences may irritate some fans who are firm believers that Joker’s origin is never to be touched, but I personally enjoyed the little glimpses we got into the boy who would become the Batman’s greatest enemy.
All in all, it was well worth the extra dollar for the awesome cover. Kubert has established himself as a more-than-capable writer. And Andy Clarke’s artwork has never been better. Especially in the flashback sequences. Joker’s abusive aunt was by far the biggest strength of this issue for me as a reader, but I can understand where some people won’t like her inclusion into the mysterious origin of the character. Excluding the fact that Snyder had nothing to do with this and it didn’t really add anything new to the character, this was a fun little ride through Crazy Town and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My Rating: 4.5/5