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Review: Batman: Three Jokers #3

Batman: Three Jokers #3

There’s something odd about getting to the end of Batman: Three Jokers #3 and asking yourself “what was the point”?! Batman: Three Jokers has weaved us through the possibly interesting concept that there are indeed multiple Jokers. There’s never been one. This explains the very different personalities on display. It also explains how their approaches have varied so much. The three issues has juxtaposed that with a trio of heroes, Batman, Batgirl, and Red Hood. Each have their own history with the character and their own trauma. There was something potentially there but writer Geoff Johns has missed the mark with each issue. Batman: Three Jokers #3 delivers the punchline that is neither funny nor makes you ponder anything.

Team Batman has figured out that the Joker is more than one individual and are trying to make more. We’re left to wonder why and why the Joker has taken Joe Chill. The answers are pretty obvious and Johns delivers nothing new from any of this. The Joker wants to be Batman’s number one source of trauma. He sees himself as the only thing that should be in Batman’s orbit. It’s the same schtick we also recently heard in the recent “Joker War.” Johns conclusion is nothing we haven’t seen before in other stories.

Johns’ ultimate Joker is one whose entire goal is for an eternal dance with Batman. One were they both suffer and both deliver pain to each other. That in the end, all the Joker wants is to be Batman’s top source of pain. The only source of chaos in Batman’s life.

And where Johns takes the series after is even flatter. We learn the truth of what Batman and Bruce Wayne knows about the Joker. It’s a definitive when a mystery would have been so much better. It attempts to give form to a force of nature and humanize pure chaos. It ends with the Joker being the exact opposite of what he’s recently become over the years and generally has been for much of his creation. Like so many other characters, adding backstory ruins the character. There’s just some things we don’t need to know. This is a prime example of that.

Jason Fabok‘s art is really nice to look at throughout. With Brad Anderson on color, there’s a stiffness about the page panels that works. Working off of nine panel page grids, those panels are broken only to emphasize compartmentalized scenes. The lack of splash pages or character breaking panels fits the controlling nature of all of the characters. Whether it’s Batman, Batgirl, or Red Hood, or the Joker controlling the chaos, there’s an order to it all. Small details on characters look nice and crisp but, like Johns’ storytelling, there’s a cold nature about it all. There’s a certain lack of emotion about it all beyond a small smile from Batman or Joker’s maniacal glee. There’s a loss of kinetic flow to the storytelling that is regularly seen in other Bat-titles.

Batman: Three Jokers #3 in the end was a boring let down. The idea and build up were intriguing but the conclusion felt like someone ranting for an hour with no point. It adds very little to Batman, Joker, Batgirl, and Red Hood. The characters are the exact same with little to no insight into them. If anything, it erases some of what makes the Joker interesting but attempting to give him backstory. Like a joke with no punchline, it misses its own point.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Jason Fabok Color: Brad Anderson
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Batman: Three Jokers #2

Batman: Three Jokers #2

There’s a lot to like with Batman: Three Jokers #2. The first issue of this series was a bit of a mixed bag, but underneath the stilted dialogue, there’s concepts that show promise. And that might describe the entire series, a lot of interesting concepts that show promise. The execution, that’s another thing.

Written by Geoff Johns, the concept of the series is that there are multiple Jokers. It explains such varied takes on the character and why at times it feels like he can be at multiple places. Dubbed “The Criminal,” “The Comedian,” and “The Clown,” each are distinct in their style. They also seem to want to add to their ranks.

While the series revolves around these Jokers, the second issue is a bit clearer in Johns’ initial focus for the series, the trauma each has lead to. The debut issue circled around Jason Todd’s death and resurrection while the second issue dives further into the trauma of that. Todd’s experience with the Joker is played off of the experiences of both Barbara Gordon and Bruce Wayne, each having their own traumatic experiences.

And that’s actually interesting.

Johns focuses in on a trio of characters who are all attempting to recover and heal from their pasts in their own way. Some have done so better than others. And, in many ways the trio hurt each other. Batman’s cold distance from Jason upon his return only drove him further into the Red Hood persona. Jason’s adoption of that persona, which was once the Joker’s, is a hot topic.

These are all things that are worthy of a story. But, Johns depiction of it all feels cold and distant. There’s a lack of emotion in some ways that makes the result feel rather clinical. That might be due to the actual coldness of Batman, the “detective” aspects of the comic, or that it’s just written that way. But, there’s a lack of connection to the characters. We watch them deal with their pasts from a distance as readers as if watching a play going through the motions but not connecting with the audience.

Part of the emotional oddness of the comic is that it’s very much a “horror” comic. Jason Fabok‘s art, with color by Brad Anderson, is one of nightmares. Continuing a modern-Watchmen like riff in the style, the comic features the hunt for the two Jokers and a discover of failed conversions with a suffocating like attack. Add in yet more torture of Jason Todd and it’s a comic that’s just not very uplifting. The colors look beautiful but are dark with a sickly tint to everything. Batman isn’t necessarily known for a cheery style but this feels a bit gloomy even for that line of comics. Rob Leigh‘s lettering stands out especially as the lettering navigates the Joker’s moods. The lettering is what really drives those moments.

Batman: Three Jokers #2 isn’t a bad comic. There’s a lot to like. But, there’s also something stilted and cold in its execution. Where we should feel empath, we don’t. Where we should be shocked, we’re not. The issue wants to be mature but also never feels like it full grasps the adult nature of the themes and concepts explored. There’s something to say about Batman replacing Jason with more Robins. There’s a very twisted aspect to that.

There’s something to say about Jason’s path in general. There’s something to say about recovery from trauma and while we all have our own path, we still need support. All of that is there but it’s never feels like any of it is really discussed or explored, it’s all surface deep. Hopefully we get a bit more of these interesting ideas but as is, this is a series that feels like it knows what it wants to say but not how to say it.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Jason Fabok
Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Batman: Three Jokers #2

Batman: Three Jokers #2

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Jason Fabok

As Batman and Batgirl follow an unexpected thread linking the three Jokers with someone from the Dark Knight’s past, Red Hood dives headfirst into trouble and finds himself struggling to stay afloat without the aid of his allies. Batman: Three Jokers continues its trajectory as the ultimate examination of The Joker and his never-ending conflict with Batman. Prepare yourselves for the second chapter of one of the most terrifying and personal mysteries Batman has ever faced!

Batman: Three Jokers #2

Get a First Look at Batman: Three Jokers #2

BATMAN: THREE JOKERS #2

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JASON FABOK
Variant cover by JASON FABOK
PRESTIGE FORMAT | ON SALE 09/29/20
$6.99 US | 48 PAGES | 2 of 3 | FC
DC BLACK LABEL | AGES 17+

As Batman and Batgirl follow an unexpected thread linking the three Jokers with someone from the Dark Knight’s past, Red Hood dives headfirst into trouble and finds himself struggling to stay afloat without the aid of his allies.

Batman: Three Jokers continues its trajectory as the ultimate examination of The Joker and his never-ending conflict with Batman. Prepare yourselves for the second chapter of one of the most terrifying and personal mysteries Batman has ever faced!

BATMAN: THREE JOKERS #2

Review: Batman: Three Jokers #1

Batman: Three Jokers #1

Teased since the beginning of DC Rebirth, Batman: Three Jokers #1 begins to explore the Clown Prince of Crime and his various incarnations. The comic is an interesting one delivering a story that’s both expected and unexpected. The direction, so far, is a simple one giving us what is the simplest answer for the numerous variations on the same character. That simplicity also opens up a lot of questions distracting from the story.

Written by Geoff Johns, Batman: Three Jokers #1 reads similar to his take on Watchmen in Doomsday Clock. The writing at times feels stilted forgoing a natural flow. Jokes land with the seriousness of a doctor delivering grim news. The comic is generally joyless. But, it’s also interesting in that it attempts to answer a question no one was really asking and deliver an answer that’s not needed.

The Joker has been depicted as many things and often it’s just a force of nature. He’s chaos in human form and one that takes on whatever is needed at the time. In this concept, there are literally three Jokers. While some would consider that a spoiler, it’s something that’s been made clear for quite some time in the lead up to this debut. It takes what is a character that can morph into so many iterations and creates what is multiple and numerous distinct incarnations. While Batman can change over time, apparently his greatest rogue can not and in this being presented as is, it hurts the dynamic and connection between the two.

Where Johns makes things slightly interesting is the focus on the three Bat-family members most impacted by the Joker. Batman, Batgirl, and Jason Todd as Red Hood are the Bat-trio to take on the Joker-trio. Each of them face the Joker from their trauma. But, Johns falls into shock rather than exploration with the most surface level reading and reaction. Spoilers already abound as to what has happened but Johns takes us to the most base level of characters instead of delivering a more interesting and deeper exploration of the characters and their trauma. The answer to violence is apparently more violence.

The art by Jason Fabok with color by Brad Anderson and lettering by Rob Leigh is the most interesting thing about the comic. The design and look is solid. There’s a dark cloud that hangs over the comic giving us a proper “dark” in the Dark Night. The Jokers also differ enough from each other and update their classic designs into one style well. But, the issue’s art has similar issues the story and dialogue fall in to. There’s a stiffness to it all. Pages mostly are in nine page panels as if there’s an attempt to deliver a Watchmen visual experience. The comic could benefit from breaking the panels and delivering a more dynamic visual experience.

Batman: Three Jokers #1 isn’t bad in any way. It’s also not exciting. There’s a joyless stiffness to it. The comic takes itself a bit too seriously and comes off stilted and honestly boring. There are some interesting ideas that may flesh out as the story progresses. But, the first issue doesn’t excite me to move on. Like Doomsday Clock, it’s a story that has some interesting concepts but filters them through a filter that sucks out any of the fun and entertainment. It’s soulless. After so long of a wait, it’s hard to not get to the end and think “that’s it?”.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Jason Fabok Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Batman: Three Jokers #1

Batman: Three Jokers #1

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Jason Fabok
Colorist Brad Anderson

Thirty years after Batman: The Killing Joke changed comics forever, Three Jokers reexamines the myth of who, or what, The Joker is and what is at the heart of his eternal battle with Batman. New York Times bestselling writer Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok, the writer/artist team that waged the “Darkseid War” in the pages of Justice League, reunite to tell the ultimate story of Batman and The Joker!

After years of anticipation starting in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, the epic miniseries you’ve been waiting for is here: find out why there are three Jokers, and what that means for the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime. It’s a mystery unlike any Batman has ever faced!

Batman: Three Jokers #1

Get a Look at New Artwork from Batman: Three Jokers #1

There’s been a lot of anticipation for Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, and Brad Anderson to explain themselves when it was revealed that there wasn’t just one, but three versions of the Clown Prince of Crime that has bedeviled Batman and his crimefighting allies. The wait is not much longer as Batman: Three Jokers #1 comes to comic stores on Tuesday, August 25.

Thirty years after Batman: The Killing Joke changed comics forever, Batman: Three Jokers reexamines the myth of who, or what, The Joker is and what is at the heart of his eternal battle with Batman.

After years of anticipation starting in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, the epic miniseries you’ve been waiting for is here: find out why there are three Jokers, and what that means for the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime. It’s a mystery unlike any Batman has ever faced!

Batman: Three Jokers #1
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