This 3D cover truly expresses the madness that is the Joker. With moving “Ha Ha Ha’s” and chattering teeth as well as a great menacing 3D Joker, Batman #23.1 Joker is a must have for the cover alone!
Once again the agent of chaos has gone against the grain. Instead of giving us an origin story of The Joker we get a rather sympathetic look as to what family means to the crazy clown. The opening pages are attention grabbing, offering the reader a brief creepy look into the abusive childhood that tormented young Jack Napier. Then the flashback ends and we move forward to an older Jack, without his stitched and stapled face. We’re a little bit closer to the present but it is still somewhere in Joker history – well, his mind is so shattered he could even be making this up!
The Joker finds himself at a zoo, causing trouble as he is about to leave. He catches a quick glance of a gorilla and her child. Overwhelmed with a desire for family, he decides to kidnap this gorilla offspring and give him the life that he never had! Yes for you avid readers, this gorilla is none other than the gorilla henchman seen in the pages of Batman #666, Jackanapes!
There are some great moments as Joker attempts to raise his new child, you know those father and son moments when you teach your kid how to fire his first bazooka. Remember those days that you and your father used to watch late night horrors and laugh at the plight of individuals… ahh, the nostalgia. But is this what you would want to read? Batman #23.1 Joker comes off as being more of a Jackanapes origin through the narration of the Joker, leaving the reader wishing they could have got a little bit more history on a legendary villain. Sure you get to view the torment of his youth, but is that enough? Maybe Kubert put this story out there for Jackanapes. In October we will be given a Damian Wayne: Son of Batman limited series. But for those who were wanting a Joker origin…sadly this is not for you. Then again, I guess it is the sheer mystery of this villain that makes him one of the all-time greats!
The art is spectacular. The harsh lining used in the opening flashback creates a very uncomfortable scene that creates the vision that the Joker had of his childhood. Everything is dark, dirty and full of grit an environment that no child should grow up in. Add a purely evil relative into the mix and you will cringe at the punishment young Jack Napier is subjected to. Andy Clarke switches his art as The Joker tells us the tale of Jackanapes, but his art continues to impress! The visuals of this book make up for a rather average story. The colours and imagery send us on one bizarre carny carnage adventure, but Clarke manages to capture emotions and expressions very well when need be!
Is this issue worth buying? Definitely, it is the Joker we are talking about. The artwork in this story makes up for its mediocrities. Andy Clarke gives us one of the best drawn Batman issues that I have seen in a long time. Despite an attempt at getting some sympathy for the Joker out of the reader, which really is not necessary (he is pure evil genius and that is what makes him appealing), Kubert gives as a zany little trip down memory lane which is passable but far from great. You cannot help but feel that Kubert was playing it safe in this one. But who could blame him, Joker’s history should remain untold!
Fortunately, we managed to secure a rare 3D cover copy of Batman #23.1 Joker, thanks to Reader’s Den. Feel free to contact the staff at Reader’s Den, they may be able to secure a 2nd print for you. They are also running an awesome competition where the winner will receive one of these much sought after Joker 3D lenticular issues.