Review: Batman: The Joker Warzone #1
DC’s “Joker War” has been a bit of a mixed bag for me as an event. Some of it feels like we’ve seen it before. While it has some good moments, it also feels like it never quite commits to the chaos. What bothers me the most is that the story feels like it’s just a bridge to what comes next. It’s not a story I feel like I can pick up on its own to enjoy. Through the issues of Batman, it never quite feels like a story that is a stand-alone adventure to enjoy. That might be even more pronounced in Batman: The Joker Warzone #1. It’s a tie-in comic filled with creative talent, solid stories, art, and a few “continued in 2021”. It’s also very good.
“A Serious House” opens the comic. Written by James Tynion IV with art by Guillem March, color by Tomeu Morey, and lettering by Clayton Cowles it focuses on a confrontation between the Joker and Bane. The story is fantastic with a fascinating back and forth as Joker goes over his issues with Bane and contemplates ending his life. There’s a “play” like quality about the segment and with amazing art it’s the highlight of the issue. It sets up something for 2021 which feels a bit frustrating in that it telegraphs more to come instead of surprising and hints that the Joker survives “Joker War” for that to happen.
“Family Ties” features writer John Ridley, art by Olivier Coipel, color by Matt Hollingsworth, and lettering by Deron Bennett. Focused on the Fox family, the story focuses on their receiving information to unlock Bruce Wayne’s fortune. But, Ridley takes that concept and adds so much to it giving us a mini-debate about what good Bruce, and thus Batman, are doing with all of this money. Could they use the money in a better way to help people? Should it go back to Bruce. With an ending that feels ripped from the headlines, Ridley shows why he’s one of the best storytellers in any medium today.
“The Symbol” is by writer Joshua Williamson, art by David LaFuente, color by Hi-Fi, and lettering by Gabriela Downie. Orphan and Spoiler are on a mission to get a Bat-symbol where they wind up fighting Hench Master. Hench Master feels like a new character whose job it is to “train” henchmen for various villains. It’s a fun story that feels like it’d fit in any Batman anthology and an entertaining fun distraction that’s a bit cheerier with some good action sequences.
“Ashes of Eden” is by writer Sam Johns, art by Laura Braga, color by Antonio Fabela, and lettering by Tom Napolitano. Ivy is dealing with the destruction of Eden. The entire segment is a declaration from Ivy about where her head is at and what’s to come. It’s also another story arc that we’ll see in 2021. What’s interesting, and possibly the most controversial, is Ivy seems to reject all humans and that might include Harley. Whether I’m reading too much into it, I have no idea but the Ivy/Harley stans may get a bit angry about what’s to come for these two.
Wrapping up the comic is “Clown Hunt” by writer James Tynion IV, art by James Stokoe, and lettering by Clayton Cowles. This is our first real story about Clownhunter who has stalked the Joker’s henchman and delivered brutal justice. We don’t know much about the character but we get our first good look at Clownhunter without the mask and better sense of what the citizens of Gotham thinks about him. There’s a lot of potential for a long-term interesting addition to the world of Batman and where this one goes is exciting.
Overall, Batman: The Joker Warzone #1 is a solid one-shot. It adds some stories within “Joker War” without making them vital. There’s a bit too much left to be experienced in 2021 which emphasizes my issues with “Joker War” overall. It doesn’t feel self-contained enough. If you took those segments and left out the “too be continued,” these would be really solid on their own. Even if you’re not reading “Joker War,” there’s enough here to enjoy and worth checking out. It’s the rare event one-shot where you can ignore the actual event.
Story: James Tynion IV, John Ridley, Joshua Williamson, Sam Johns
Art: Guillem March, Olivier Coipel, David LaFuente, Laura Braga, James Stokoe
Color: Tomeu Morey, Matt Hollingsworth, Hi-Fi, Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Deron Bennett, Gabriela Downie, Tom Napolitano
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review