I honestly don’t know where to start with this review, I really don’t. I’ll be going into heavy spoilers, so if you’re new to this comic and haven’t then please avoid (Unless you don’t mind spoilers!) So, it’s here, Three Jokers is here. First, it’s a lovely hardback with a...See more
I honestly don’t know where to start with this review, I really don’t. I’ll be going into heavy spoilers, so if you’re new to this comic and haven’t then please avoid (Unless you don’t mind spoilers!) So, it’s here, Three Jokers is here. First, it’s a lovely hardback with a dust jacket. The pages seem thick and glossy. You don’t get half of the variants in the back, but you do get some. You also don’t get any sketches or scripts which is a shame. I’m assuming and speculating that they will bring this out in an Absolute edition or some kind of special hardback in the future to commercialise it further. So to the story and art.... I bought these comics as they came out, mainly because I’ve been thirsting for this story since The Darkseid War and the whole Button saga in Rebirth (Which seems so long ago now.) I’ll start by saying Jason Faboks art is superb. He can cram so much into small panels and that in itself is spectacular. He also really captured the looks of Brian Bolland and and the eeriness of his Joker. Saying that, the panels are small at times, but the colours, mood and art are just beautiful. I’m concerned by Bruce’s and Jason’s facial structures looking similar to the point I often had to double takes when they’re unmasked. The writing at times can be very small too. Bruces size was also a concern for me too. We all know Batman is buff, being a gym bunny I know how being bigger makes you slower, and his size to me resembles Ronnie Coleman or time even The Hulk and that’s the same with Jason (Red Hood) and it’s distracting. The story... First act, I was gripped. Batman’s size etc I can live with because the story plays so well. I was concerned and scratching my head at Batgirl/Barbara Gordon hearing of Jokers killings whilst running on a treadmill and then running so fast she broke it.. Yeah, broke it. So we go through the motions and we see The Three Jokers and for the best part you can really tell them apart. The Criminal, Clown and Comedian. The dialogue from Batman written by Geoff Johns always seems to be played out so coldly, like he never really cares and I still feel like that now. Batman gets angry, broods and even when he’s being emotional it seems like a sociopath attempting emotions they’re unfamiliar with. In the finale of the first act, The Clown Joker is shot by Red Hood And a great confrontation between Batgirl and Redhood happens and it kept me gripped. Second act. As I said, the story itself runs smoothly for the best part finding out why there are three Jokers and that’s never conclusively answered but heavily implied in art and dialogue with The Three explaining they want to make a new better Joker. I appreciate that and I like the concept but it just kills the mystery of Joker for me. So we are Seeing a load of new Jokerized victims attacking our Trio of Batgirl, Batman and Red Hood. Batman is still cold, Batgirl is written well and Jason is Angry. This scene relives Death In The Family and I loved this scene. Finally I saw some raw emotion from Red Hood and it made him likeable especially as the comic progressed. In this act we get to see a badly written smooch between Jason and Barbara and it just doesn’t fit in with any current narrative. It’s badly written and a throw away shock moment which ultimately goes nowhere. Act three, well the climax. Joe Chill is dying and Bruce has to face up to one of his biggest demons, the Death of his parents again, and again. We’ve seen the deaths of Martha and Thomas god knows how many times in comics, films and animation so how many times do we need to see it? It plays well in this narrative but it is an eye roll moment. Anyway, Chill is hanging over some Ace chemicals which will make him a Joker that hates Batman and that forces Batman to save Chill. Batman finally forgives Chill, and this is one time I feel Batman’s emotion with him looking away from Chill as he apologised and explains his reasons. That’s what I was hoping for. The Criminal is killed by The Comedian. Again, a great scene. Joker wants to be the one pain that Batman hates so the status quo continues. And that ending would have been great if it ended there... Alfred asks how The Jokers came about and in which order and he also asks what his name could be and Bruce says he always knew... Now here is where and why I knocked off two stars. All along this has been a love letter to Alan Moore’s Killing Joke. It’s again like so many others, put more weight on it and used it as the ultimate narrative. The Joker from The Killing Joke always looked sympathetic. He loved his wife clearly and wanted more, but now it’s different. It’s shown that as a failing Comedian he was a brute and abusive which I was gobsmacked by. It’s taken away some sympathy and mystery from Joker because even in The Killing Joke he said his past is multiple choice depending on how he remembers it, but Johns considers this canon. Wow... I think Johns has made a blooper here. I think he’s gone for a sadistic Joker that has no sympathetic attributes. It just fell flat. So flat. Add in the throw away romance between Red Hood and Batgirl. The ending is just so sloppy. I can’t get behind it. I think too much emphasis goes on The Killing Joke. It’s a great piece but writers are milking this cow dry by building and building on that one narrative despite its iconic standing. I want to love this story, but I’m finding it hard to believe that Joker was just bad, bad and more. I found him more enjoyable knowing he had one bad day and it drove him to what he is. Now I think the mystery is gone, the sympathy is gone and now we know too much. My rating might be harsh, but I’ve had three re-reads and I find new things to enjoy and analyse but the ending I haven’t warmed too. I know Johns is working on a sequel, so I hope for better. I will say that it does make a great companion to the up and coming Joker War in the main continuity.