Oct 26, 2008


The Joker has been around almost as long as Batman and as such there are thousands of pages of stories featuring him. Some of the tales are easy to remember because of the sheer power of the writing. KILLING JOKE is obviously one of them, his part in Dark Knight Returns is also a stand out. In Joker Brian Azzarello has raised the bar. Along with artists Lee Bermejo and Mick Gray Azzarello has told a story that will be remembered for ages to come.
We are seeing the story through the eyes of Jonny Frost, a hood who has decided he needs to work for the Joker. Jonny is there when Joker gets out of Arkham Asylum (found to be sane?!!) and he follows the Joker on wild ride to take back what is his, or at least what he perceives to be his. Encounters with some of Batman’s most famous foes are part of the path, but these are not the villains on the cartoons. Killer Croc is a bad ass gangster from the hood, Penguin is a money man scared of his own shadow. Riddler
Is a punk kid who is the ultimate hustler, and Two Face is a man used to getting his own way with delusions of grandeur. The coolest reworking for me was Harley Quinn who has become a demented sociopath blindly loyal to Joker.
As Joker works his way through the city leaving a trail of chaos in his wake it becomes easy to want to feel sympathetic for Jonny who seems in over his head, but he knows what he wants and it seems to be going out in a blaze of glory will do him just fine, as long as the ride is interesting.
This book looks at the joker in ways I don’t remember seeing him, truly disturbed and yet strangely vulnerable as well. He quite simply doesn’t see what he is doing is wrong, or at least he doesn’t care.
Joker is full of detailed artwork that is simply beautiful and a story that is layered and rich, and marks a new high in Azzarello’s already impressive career.

Joker is available in hardcover October 29th


Ali Karim said...

It was great being introduced to Brian Azzarello in Baltimore, especially being a old, old, old Batman reader from way back.

Still 'The Laughing Fish' haunts me as do all those Marshall Rogers's Batmans, even though I love Frank Miller, and his version. Though off all the names associated with Batman - Marshall Rogers remains my favourite


Ayo Onatade said...

My graphic novel collection is slowly growing thanks to you!!!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Jon-Although the lovely Ruth and lovely Jen have graced my project with a favorite forgotten book, it won't be complete without a choice from you. Now that you've had a moment to breathe, could you do one sometime in November. Patti

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

I'm with Ali. "The Laughing Fish" is my all-time favorite Joker story...and the late, great Marshall Rogers remains my favorite Batman artist. This new graphic novel sounds like a good read, though.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

I'm pretty Sure "The Laughing Fish" is one of the stories collected in The Greatest Joker Stories ever told, and it's in trade paperback.

It is one of the best, I would narrow my favorites to about 5 and I wouldn't be able to put them in order. Joker is definitely there.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

"The Laughing Fish" is also in a great trade paperback called "Batman: Strange Apparitions." It collects the classic 1970s Detective Comics run by the Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers team. That run also brought back Deadshot (my favorite Suicide Squad member) in his first appearance since the '50s.