Writer: Andy Kubert
Artist: Andy Clarke
Villains Month is here, and everyone will have their favourite villain that they are looking forward to reading. Mine personally is this man, the Joker, and although I was sceptical about Andy Kubert becoming a writer, I had a lot of hope that he would do a good job. So did he?
Following his troubled childhood Joker takes a gorilla from a zoo, and helps it to become his sidekick, Jackanapes.
This has to be one of the worst comic book issues that I have read in a long time, and it's such a shame as I was really hoping for something brilliant here. Andy Kubert doesn't do a terrible job of writing this issue, as to be honest it's a fun story, and I liked how he was going for a fun Joker story. I did however feel that it didn't suit the Joker, and the story in itself felt too silly, as although I was hoping for something much darker, this goes to far in the opposite direction. I did however get the feeling that Kubet understood Joker, but at the same time he didn't appear to be able to execute that into a brilliant story, and if this is a sign of what he'll be like as a writer he should stay as the amazing artist he is.
The best part about this issue was the art, and Andy Clarke did a phenomenal job. It would have been nice to see Kubert himself on art, as I love when artists who turn to writing do their own artwork. Clarke however is a much better artist, and I'm glad he worked on this issue, as it makes it almost worth the purchase. The detail in his artwork is simply outstanding, and I really enjoyed how he managed to show Joker's expressions throughout the issue, as although some of them aren't what I'd expect from the Joker, they had to follow the story, which needed this. I also loved the layout as it really helped give tone to this story. Blond's colours were also amazing, helping to add tone, and vibrancy to the issue.
Kubert took an extremely risky move at the start of this issue by showing Joker's childhood, and it didn't pay off. Now I understand that with Joker you can put him in nearly any kind of situation, as he's that unpredictable. There is also the fact that his origin is that mysterious that even if you told it there would be the question whether it's real or not, as although this comes from Joker himself, does Joker really remember? Besides this it didn't do much for me, as although it showed symbolism of his character, and how he's possibly been shaped, also helping lead into this story, it just didn't feel right for the Joker, and after this I'm happy that it's questionable about what's real or not with Joker's past.
This wasn't entirely centred around his childhood, as it'd quickly jump forward in time to Joker, and his gang at the zoo, with it apparently being the reason for the flashback. During this sequence I found Joker's expressions to be rather odd, as it didn't seem like the Joker, even if he was being serious. I did however find his gang interesting, as although they weren't spectacular, being far from a Harley Quinn, they added some humour to the issue. I especially loved seeing Max Roboto again, as given his limited history it was nice to see him added.
The main centre of this issue would be Joker bringing up a gorilla from a baby to an adult, calling it Jackanapes. Now those keen Batman fans will already have spotted that Jackanapes is already an existing character, being a foe of Damian Wayne during the possible future that was shown in Batman #666. Now the tie to this title is the only thing I liked about Jackanapes in this issue, as along with Max Roboto this shows that Kubert may be leaving some teasers for his upcoming Damian: Son of Batman limited series, which is set in that possible future.
This may appeal to some people, but it certainly didn't to me, being too ridiculous. It also felt very rushed, and didn't have a lot of character interaction. It was however fun to a certain point, and showed that Andy Kubert understood the character, but at the same time also showed that he couldn't execute it into a decent story. Due to all this I wouldn't recommend this, as it's not worth the gamble to see if it's for you.