Writer: Tom King / Artist: Mikel Janin / DC Comics
Thus far, Tom King has done a laudable job exploring the minds and motivations of the characters of the Batman universe. Fringe characters–read: Kiteman–have been brought straight to the center and second and third-tier villains were given their long overdue solos. But there hasn’t been too much time devoted to one of the most captivating characters in all of fiction given that we’re 48 issues in. I’m talking about the Clown Prince of Crime himself, Joker.
Issue #48 starts off with a cold open to show a well-dressed man praying in a church. Is he praying for forgiveness? Nope. He’s praying for protection while the Joker kills everyone in what was meant to be a wedding in the background. Eventually, Batman shows up in the middle of Joker’s deep dive into homicidal insanity and the show begins. Joker’s thoughts are noticeably scattered as he talks to the rival who probably represents the most impactful relationship of his adult life.
In “The War of Jokes and Riddles” we got to see the genocidal jokester, but he was mostly a supporting character. To make up for any spotlight he may have missed then, issue #48 of Batman where he owns almost the entire issue. As a matter of fact, and I double checked this, Batman only ever utters one word in the entire issue. But everything he does is completely in character.
Admittedly, I had to read this issue twice a few hours apart to really grasp it. The cold open caught me off guard and I kept searching for explanation as to why the events of the issue transpired as they did. On the second read, I learned that Joker is coping with a loss. In his own unhealthy, horrible way. The loss of that same impactful relationship he feels signifies a turning of the tide as Batman won’t be his spiritual other half. So what does he do? Something drastic in the name of garnering attention. With the wedding of the century around the corner, it’ll be interesting to see how this storyline gets wrapped up quickly to get us to the point. If anyone can pull it off, it’s the King/Janin combo.
Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other coverage of the Dark Knight here.
Want to get Black Nerd Problems updates sent directly to you? Sign up here!