James Gordon has been in pursuit of the Joker, funded by mysterious individuals who want the Clown Prince of Crime brought in and killed. Gordon has also had to deal with numerous other interested parties with the same interests and with a far higher likelihood to resort to violence to do that. The Joker #9 has Gordon teaming up with Vengeance, the clone daughter of Bane, to go after the Joker in the next location they think he might be.
James Tynion IV delivers an interesting issue with The Joker #9, one that opens up a massive world of possibilities. We learn there’s a bigger conspiracy going on, one involving cloning and doppelganger bodies. It’s a concept that seems somewhat farfetched, and that’s impressive for the world of Batman. While there’s a lot to like about where this issue could take not just this story but the DC Universe as a whole, there’s also something that feels a little rushed and out of leftfield. What was once a simple manhunt has turned into something greater. While that might explain some of the conspiracies and strange happenings in the DC world, it shifts the focus of the story quite a bit. It’s not longer one about a falsely accused Joker. And due to that, the issue and the series falters a bit. There’s an interesting aspect about a crime the Joker hadn’t committed yet everyone thinks he did. Some grand conspiracy involving DC’s criminals is something entirely different.
The issue does give a lot of history on Vengeance. So, if you want to get the details on the cloned daughter of Bane, this issue is for you.
Things aren’t helped by Stefano Raffaele‘s art which feels a little inconsistent in the comic. There’s moments the panels and pages look great and others where it feels a bit rushed. Characters don’t always hold up against themselves and the general look and feel of the comic can vary from one panel to the next. The look and style feels like a bunch of different creators all mashed into one. The color by Romulo Fajardo Jr. is solid giving a sickly green hue to the panels and pages at times, really nailing the tone of it all. Tom Napolitano‘s lettering also is good, especially that of the Joker whose style varies just enough to give it a unique feel that enhances the character.
Sam Johns, James Tynion IV, Rosi Kämpe, Marissa Louise, and Ariana Maher continues Punchline’s story. Leslie, Harper, and the newly protected Kelly dive deeper into Punchline’s history as we learn the fate of many of her past acquaintances. The story is interesting in that it shows Punchline’s dive into madness happened far earlier than has been depicted before but overall, it’s a piece of the very larger puzzle that’s being crafted as far as those characters. Not a lot of excitement with it but a lot of history that could become key.
The Joker #9 isn’t a bad issue but it just feels like it shifts the story far too much from the initial launch. Having various groups all trying to capture the same person could drive the series for quite a while and feels like it was just being touched as far as potential. This one issue shifts all of that in a major way. This is an issue to read because of its possible impact on the DC Universe, not necessarily because it does its story any justice.
Story: James Tynion, Sam Johns IV Art: Stefano Raffaele, Rosi Kämpe
Color: Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Marissa Louise Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Ariana Maher
Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review