Batman: Joker War by James Tynion IV, Jorge Jiménez, and Tomeu Morey
DC, HB, £17.49
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Bruce Wayne is a wanted man, accused of embezzling funds from his own business. He has nowhere to hide as Joker has taken over Wayne Enterprises and with it, all Batman’s equipment and hideouts. Or does he?
Harley Quinn, Joker’s one-time moll, wants this fruitless war between Joker and Batman to end. She is just one victim, how many more have to suffer before Batman stops the madness? Surely the two of them will be able to stop Joker once and for all.
But the Joker isn’t alone, and Batman must reach out to the wider Batfamily because even without his gadgets and his money, he still has his friends.
Batman: Joker War is a direct continuation of Batman: Dark Designs, so it may be a little confusing at first if you’re reading out of sequence. However, it won’t be difficult for anyone who has read enough Batman/Joker comics to catch up. Joker has managed to steal everything from Batman, and he has overcome his desire to be the sole vigilante in Gotham because even he accepts there are times he has to rely on his family.
Harley Quinn is an interesting character in this timeline as her separation from Joker has changed her. Like Catwoman, she is almost an honorary member of the Batfamily. On the separating page between parts 5 and 6, we have half of Batman and Joker lined up to make a whole, and on either side of them, there are their supporters. Harley Quinn takes a prominent place behind Batman. This is a recurring theme in recent comics and a positive move for such an iconic character.
The artwork is glorious, dramatic, and sinister. Batman suffers from hallucinations brought on by an enhanced strain of Scarecrow’s toxic. They are real for him, so there is no difference in the artwork from reality and hallucinations. Joker pushes boundaries, and the art reveals the full horror of his plans in graphic detail. Tynion’s story does justice to Jiménez and Morey’s talent.
Batman: Joker War is a fast-moving theme of getting back to basics, of what Batman and Joker were in the beginning and that family can be more than blood. They are the friends we choose for ourselves. Highly recommended.