The Joker #1 (REVIEW)

Mar 9, 2021

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The Joker #1
DC Comics

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Guillem March
Colors by: Arif Prianto
Letters by: Tom Napollitano

Over the decades, Joker has become much more than just another member of Batman’s rogues gallery. He has become the boogeyman. Someone, something, that gives nightmares to all those he encounters — and even those he hasn’t. This is what James Tynion IV explores in The Joker #1.   

There is very little of the title character in The Joker #1, and that is to the book’s benefit. By now, we all know who and what Joker is, so finding a unique story to tell can be difficult. While the focus is mainly on Jim Gordon, Joker’s presence still looms large. Using Joker as a haunting visualization Gordon see’s everytime he closes his eyes was a great touch. 

There have been a great number of people who have suffered at the hands of the Joker, and you can put Gordon near the top of that list. Tynion and Guillem March paint a great picture of a worn-down old man, whose life work has done nothing but bring him misery and nightmares. Making Gordon the focal part of this story provides readers with a sympathetic character who is now faced with a choice: continue to do what’s right or do what needs to be done.

I was engrossed with Gordon’s narration throughout the entire issue, and I am extremely intrigued with where this story will go. Some of the elements presented throughout The Joker #1 will undoubtedly add layers to Gordon’s character. We know when it comes to the law, Gordon will always do what is right — but can The Joker finally get him to cave?        

In addition to The Joker #1, we are also given Punchline: Chapter One. Written by Sam Johns and James Tynion IV, with art from Mirka Andolfo, colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr., and letters by Ariana Maher, Punchline #1 picks up from the events of the Punchline one-off that came out late 2020.  As we discovered in that issue, Punchline is a menacing character who’s not to be messed with. As far as short stories go, Punchline: Chapter One did what it was supposed to — it acted as a quick refresher for who the character is and leaves you wanting more.  

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