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BATMAN #23.1 (Joker) Review

The Joker needs a parenting sitcom. (Looking at you CW)

2013-09-04 07-08-00 - Batman (2011-) - Featuring Joker23.1-000

There have been so many great takes on the Joker by iconic writers like Moore, Morrison, Azzarello, but now we might have to add Kubert to that list. In an issue that doesn’t shy away from the envelope pushing grotesque nature that a character as twisted as the Joker demands, Andy Kubert and artist Andy Clarke spin a unique tale in a month laced with unimportant DC fill-in issues.

The bizarre and disturbing childhood of the Joker is juxtaposed with an early adventure of him raising a kidnapped gorilla as though he was his own child. There’s no metaphor for parenting here; it’s flat out guidance, love, and discipline from the clown prince of parenting. It just works on so many levels. The story is as emotional as it is wacky. While it may not have the same depth towards Batman, this story has the same level of insight into the Joker as Alan Moore’s narrative did in the classic Batman: The Killing Joke.

In fact, Clarke’s illustration in this book feels reminiscent of Brian Bolland’s work in Killing Joke. The thing that really keeps it from achieving that level of hyper realism is the over saturated colors in the book. That’s not necessarily a bad thing tough, especially in terms of giving this book a feel of its own. Joker’s flashback scenes here are some of the most visually brilliant in any comic book involving the character. It looks like a Crayola nightmare with mortifying reds and horrific greens murdering my eyeballs.

2013-09-04 07-08-00 - Batman (2011-) - Featuring Joker23.1-006

There’s lots of different ways to write a Joker story but only the truly great ones can delve us into the disturbing and psychotic mind of the Joker to play on our sympathies while not mitigating the horror we simultaneously feel towards him.

10 out of 10! This is the best book (next to Forever Evil) that DC will put out all month, get it!