Batman: Three Jokers by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson.
DC Black Label, HB, £17.23
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
On the same night, three vicious murders take place in Gotham, and the witnesses all say the same thing; it was the Joker. But given the locations and times of the murder, that would mean the Joker was in three different places. Batman has to consider the possibility that for the whole of his vigilante life, he has been fighting three Joker’s not one. Joined by Barbara Gordon and Jason Todd, the two members of the Batfamily who have suffered the most at the Joker’s hands, Batman sets out to stop the Joker for good, no matter how many of them there are.
The premise of Three Jokers is Batman’s greatest nightmare, what if there was more than one Joker, and it was first introduced in the Darkseid War thread. I loved the way the story begins with Batman staggering home after another night defending Gotham. Everywhere he looks, there are memories of the Joker, whether they are the scars on his body or the costumes of Batgirl and the second Robin. It is a fantastic set-up, showing how interwoven the Joker and Batman are with each other. It’ also paves the way for Barbara and Jason, who have their own scars, to join Batman in hunting the different Jokers.
Each of the three Jokers has a different feel to the others, representing the Joker at different periods such as when he crippled Barbara or beat Jason with a crowbar. This works well when Jason and Barbara are forced to confront ‘their’ Joker. Barbara demonstrates her rehabilitation has not just taught her to walk again, but also to handle her emotions when faced with the Joker. On the other hand, Jason reacts as he always does, showing he still has a long way to go with his recovery.
Fabok’s artwork is glorious. There is one panel which shows Barbara comforting Jason after he had been beaten by the Jokers. Batman’s shadow covers them both while Barbara talks about getting Jason somewhere safe. It’s a powerful image that needs very few words. Some sequences are done without words at all, such as Jason breaking into an abandoned swimming pool or the catalogue of scars on Batman’s body and how he got them. The art is so good, we do not need the words.
The Three Jokers asks the question who is the Joker? Does he have a name and if he does, does it really matter? Is he a name or is he his actions? And is his power from his actions or the fear his victims give him? It’s well done with Batman having the last word and demonstrating why he is the greatest detective of all time. Highly recommended.