The Joker #5 (REVIEW)

Jul 13, 2021

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The Joker #5 Cover

The Joker #5
DC Comics

Written by: Matthew Rosenberg with James Tynion IV
Art and Colors by: Francesco Francavilla
Letters by: Tom Napollitano

Right from the start, The Joker #5 presents a stark contrast from the previous four issues. It feels and looks different as The Joker #5 introduces writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Francesco Francavilla into the fold. While the series was not in need of a change of pace, the decision to have Rosenberg and Francavilla take the reins for this issue was fantastic. 

The Joker #5, in many ways, is a throwback — not just with the noir style storytelling Rosenberg uses, but also with Francavilla’s art. However, The Joker #5 is also a literal throwback. The entire issue takes place in the past — Captain Jim Gordon’s past. What Rosenberg shares and explores about Gordon’s past is just how far back his obsession with Joker goes.

What Rosenberg examines in this issue is what if Gordon were just as much to blame for his own torment? The Joker-Gordon relationship goes far beyond cop vs. bad guy. It is almost as if Joker is a drug and Gordon is completely under its control. Much like Harley Quinn, Gordon has fallen under Joker’s spell, and it just about costs him everything. 

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The Joker #5, in many ways, is a throwback — not just with the noir style storytelling Rosenberg uses, but also with Francavilla’s art.

Francavilla’s art helps set both the mood and the tone for this issue. It is dark, it is gritty and pairs perfectly with Rosenberg’s storytelling. What especially caught my eye was Francavilla’s use of color, particularly his depiction of District Attorney Harvey Dent. Francavilla’s use of warm oranges and cool blues to shade each side of Harvey’s face was a great nod at who the character is and what he is to become. 

Overall, The Joker continues to be an outstanding series, whether it is being written by Tynion or Rosenberg. While the series so far has been more about Gordon than Joker, I am fully enthralled with the character study of our embattled commissioner and the journey he is on for ultimate justice. 

In addition to The Joker #5, we get Punchline Chapter 5 written by Tynion and Sam Johns, with art and colors by Sweeney Boo and letters by Ariana Maher. Punchline Chapter 5 was a small step back, both from a character standpoint and as well as advancing the story. Additionally, while Boo’s art is extremely creative and beautiful, it just felt out of place, especially for the tone of this series.

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9/10

Looking for more comic book content? Go check out the latest episode of Geeks WorldWide Radio‘s TLDR podcast, where Joseph Gilmore and Nick Friar discuss comics weekly and talk to creators from the industry — available on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

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