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Review: The Joker #5

The Joker #5

The Joker so far has been a very enjoyable and quite surprising comic series. When first announced, I was a bit turned off about a series that would put in the spotlight an “edgelord”, making the Joker “fun” instead of the unrepentant vile force of nature he is. Instead, we got a story about a man full of regrets and unaccomplished goals. The series isn’t about the Joker, it’s about James Gordon and his unfulfilled mission to stop the Joker once and for all. The Joker #5 takes us into the past exploring the dance between these two and their earliest of years.

Matthew Rosenberg and James Tynion IV team up for an interesting “year one” type story. It gives us some of the earliest years of the two’s dance. Arkham Asylum wasn’t yet the facility it is now and Gotham’s crime bosses’ still ruled. What we’re presented is the beginning of a man’s obsession and the Joker’s torment. There’s a Moby Dick aspect to it all and it delivers even more depth to not just Gordon but the Joker.

What’s interesting is that Rosenberg and Tynion show how forward-thinking Gordon is. While others are focused on the likes of Falcone, Gordon sees the new threat that Joker represents. We also see how his obsession splits his focus and ability to be effective. While the Joker has killed, Gordon’s obsession with the Joker has as well.

Francesco Francavilla steps in on art and color and his style is as fantastic as expected. With lettering by Tom Napolitano, the issue has both a horror and noir style about it. It’s fantastic to look at and even simple scenes like sitting in a chair deliver tension and fear. The art nails the mood and feel of the issue perfectly.

The issue also continues Punchline’s story both in prison and outside. We see how the character is still sowing chaos. Writers Sam Johns and James Tynion IV deliver a chapter that feels a bit like a bridge to the next arc for the character after the initial setup. Sweeney Boo‘s art pops as expected with a great style and beautiful neon colors. Ariana Maher‘s lettering emphasizes the interesting back and forth between characters.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg, James Tynion IV, Sam Johns Art: Francesco Francavilla, Sweeney Boo
Color: Francesco Francavilla Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Ariana Maher
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

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