Friday, May 27, 2011
An original graphic novel that was released by DC comics as a snazzy-looking hardcover, this out-of-continuity tale focuses on a much more real-world version of Gotham where the Joker one day gets released from Arkham Asylum and tries to rebuild his criminal empire--all viewed through the eyes of a young Johnny Frost. It's written by the talented Brian Azzarello who knows a thing or two about crime-comics, and has beautiful artwork by Lee Bermejo--who does all the pencils but unfortunately doesn't ink every page. Oh, it is also relentlessly dark in tone and about as close as you can get to a Vertigo comic with DC super heroes. I really like it.
Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo have worked together before on their tale of Lex Luthor--which was recently re-released as just, "Luthor," with additonal pages, and this is somewhat like that in the sense that it takes a popular villain in the DC Universe and tells a tale focusing on them. Plus, with it not in continuity a lot of liberties can be taken that aren't possible in normal comics--such as switching up characters and their histories or personalities (the Riddler in this tale is actually cool). This tale is about a Joker who isn't necessarily crazy, but still dangerous, destructive, and full of so much hate--with an obsession for his foe we don't even see until the end in a bit of a purposeful anti-climax, the Batman. This isn't too much about Batman however, it is arguably about his opposite and the elements that make up a city that would require someone like Batman to exist. In other words, this Gotham is a violent, miserable place.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Joker if you want it (Amazon inexplicably adds a "the" to the title).