Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo
There are many many iterations of the Joker. Comic books, television, movies, fan fiction, no matter the medium people really love this character. And for good reason. Joker has become a Shakespearian level study with actors dreaming of one day putting their own spin on the madman of Gotham City.
I have loved many different takes on him and Brian Azzarello‘s vision is no exception. In this DC Black Label run there is no doubt that Mr. J is a psychopath. No one would be able to deny his brutality and downright murderous ways. He even tortures people in front of an audience just to capture their attention.
There are many versions in which Joker is more of the brain behind any crime or chaos but in this standalone he gets his hands dirty. It’s refreshing to see this side of him. The purely narcissistic demon who will kill anyone who dares get in his way.
The book starts with Joker being released from Arkham Asylum against anyone’s better judgement. The criminals of Gotham, such as Killer Croc, know he needs a ride but no one volunteers so Johnny Frost draws the short straw and shows up at the gates. Johnny becomes Joker’s right hand man and partner in crime. He quickly becomes addicted to the rush of sudden power he has over the city. People fear him!
By the end of the comic book he finds out that even being on Joker’s good side will not keep him safe. There is no loyalty, only who can be used and for how long. This Joker is a villain, no doubt about it.
I’ve been enjoying reading these DC Black Label comics. The dark content, adult themes, and no holding back is right what I’ve been looking for after being burned out on the family friendly side of the genre. Azzarello gives us a complex story and Bermejo supplies the awesome imagery to accompany it.
I mean, just look at this panel, that’s fantastic! His reflection in the mirror like that, gorgeous.
I recommend Joker to any DC fans or anyone looking for a solid standalone comic book. This one does not require a lot of backstory and is not tied to any larger story lines so that you can enjoy it all on it’s own.
Comment below with your favorite Joker! There are many to choose from ranging from reformed to downright terrorist so let me know. My recent favorite is from the HBO Harley Quinn show, he’s running for Mayor and I would definitely vote for him.
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