Artist: Lee Bermejo
I have been meaning to read this story for quite a while now, and after reading, and reviewing Batman: Broken City, I decided to buy more work from Brian Azzarello, including, Superman: For Tomorrow (which I also wanted for Jim Lee's art), which I've read, and reviewed since, this book, and Luthor. I'm also a huge Batman fan, and Joker is my favourite villain, so that was another reason.
Somehow Joker has been released from Arkham Asylum. When no one wants to pick him up an aspiring crook named Jonny Frost decides to pick him up, and becomes his right hand man.
This was a brilliant book, and very enjoyable. To be honest although I'm a big fan of both Batman, and Joker I didn't know what to expect from this story. This is the case for most Joker stories, and that's one of the things I like about the character, his mysteriousness, although I'll talk more about Joker later on in my review. Brian Azzarello did a tremendous job in this book, and it was probably the most unique Joker story I have ever read. As I said in my intro I've been trying to read more of Azzarello's work, and that's mainly due to his brilliant Wonder Woman run that's out the now. This however isn't the first time I've read Azzerello's work on a Batman themed book, as like my intro also said I've read Batman Broken City. I wasn't the biggest fan of Broken City, but I did enjoy it, and I can see the odd similarity in this story. Azzarello has however taken all the things I liked in that story, scrapped the rest, and added more bizarreness, all of which I liked. Azzarello also did a very good job of writing the Joker, and although he hasn't done better than the other great writers that have wrote the character, he has done him justice, and showed his unpredictability.
Lee Bermejo's art was nothing short of phenomenal on this book, and it really helped set the tone of the story. I have to be honest I haven't seen much of Bermejo's art before, which I'm ashamed of as it's awesome, and some of the best art I have ever seen. I was actually introduced to Bermejo's art with the Before Watchmen: Rorschach series (which was also written by Azzarello), and I really liked it. I then started to see his art on covers like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and when I decided to get this book, and Luthor I was very happy to get the chance to see more of his amazing artwork. The detail in Bermejo's artwork is fantastic,as there is nothing that lacks detail. I also love how he deals with expressions, as some artists have beautiful artwork, but awkward expressions, whereas Bermejo's doesn't. What I especially liked about Bermejo's art was that although he made it very obvious who all the well known characters were, he added his own unique look to them, like having Riddler with question mark tattoo's, and Penguin with a small mohican like hairstyle. Also unlike Broken City I liked the realistic looking Killer Croc, as it fitted with the realistic story setting. I also loved the Bermejo's cover, and liked that it was nothing more than a smile, Joker's most distinguishing feature, making a simple, but bold statement. Patricia "Trish" Mulvihill's colours were also nice, and really helped to make Bermejo's art even better.
|Joker, a Serious Mad Man|
When I said earlier that Joker was controlling most villains, the one he wasn't was Two-Face. Apparently whilst Joker was in Arkham Two-Face had taken over most if not all the Racket's in Gotham City, and Joker wasn't happy about this. I liked that there was conflict between Joker, and Two-Face, as a story where everyone kisses up to Joker wouldn't be fun, or enjoyable, and wouldn't seem right. It was nice to see the two get into a mini gang war, as it makes the story feel more realistic than most Batman related stories, something that this book has done all the way through. I don't really want to talk too much about the conflict as to avoid spoilers, but it was fabulous, and I loved that there were two characters that driven to be on top that they wouldn't back down.
|Joker and Killer Croc Bully Penguin |
(or Abner as he's called in this book)
Now I'll finish off by talking about Batman's appearance. It was nice to see Batman as a background character, and that was one of the things I liked most in this story. With the title being Joker you want it to be centred around Joker as much as possible, and having Batman as a heavy feature wouldn't help that. I did however like that he made an appearance in this book, as at the same time it wouldn't be right if he didn't. There were two things I liked about Batman's appearance more than anything. The first was the way Bemerjo drew him, as it was simply fantastic, and the second was the way people talked about him, as whenever they were talking about him they wouldn't say his name, which I really liked.
A very interesting, and entertaining book. Azzarello, and Bermejo have done a brilliant job of giving us something that's not only enjoyable, but unique. The story is dark, but also emotional, and above all else, a very good read. I would highly recommend this book as it's very enjoyable, and well worth the read.