Saturday, December 27, 2014

Batman Annual #3 Review

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Roge Antonio
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 24, 2014

You've Got a Friend In Me

When Batman Annual #2 came out way back in the Summer of '13, it seemed to be a cool little side story involving Arkham Asylum security and a new (old) villain named the Anchoress.  Little did we know that it was also the beginning of the Joker's return.  Yea, in retrospect, that Annual was a pretty big deal.  So, does this Annual contain hidden messages and top secret character returns?  I guess we'll have to wait until next Christmas to be 100% sure, but for now we can enjoy it for what it is...a creepy and captivating story of the Joker and how far he will go to have a best friend.

James Tynion uses a changing timeline to tell his dark story that ties into the Endgame story going on in the current Batman series. Actually, it feels more like an extension of his backup story in Endgame which is not a bad thing since it's been so good.  Tynion does a great job showing a brutal and sadistic Joker who is more of an evil force of nature than ever before.  What I took away from this Annual is that Batman better watch out because this is not the old Joker he's been dealing with over the years, this Joker wants revenge...and a friend.

The issue deals with a young reporter named Tommy.  It opens showing us that things don't go swimmingly for him, but the fun (or horror) of the issue is seeing how he got there.  Step one is his insistence on reporting on the Joker.  He goes against every one's advice and writes a story that the Joker just needs a friend.  That sets off a chain of events where Tommy becomes the "best friend" the Joker always wanted.  Yea, it's as horrific as it sounds as everyone close to Tommy suffers and his life becomes a living nightmare.  Like any good Joker story, Tommy (and the reader) aren't quite sure what is real and what is just the insanity from being so close to evil incarnate.

Tynion gives the reader some nice cameos and we get a look at the Joker's face, but the best part for me was the tie-in to the last Annual.  It gives us a little glimpse at what the Joker was doing in Arkham for a year and in true Joker fashion, it's not what you'd think. It seems that he really took his disguise seriously.  After all the torture, bloodshed and horror he authored, I was kind of touched at the nice ending.

Roge Antonio's art is dark and moody which fits the story well, but I was not in love with his Joker.  Looking at it now, it's the nose and square jaw that turn me off.  It's not a deal breaker by any means, It's just not my cup of tea.  Now that I'm complaining, I also didn't like the huge-boobed Harley either, but I'm sure Antonio's version will find some fans.

Bits and Pieces:

I'm not going to go overboard and say that this is a must-read issue, but if you like a good Joker story, pick it up.  Like Tynion's backups to Endgame, you can skip it, but you'll be missing out on some seriously good moments.  While I wasn't a huge fan of Roge Antonio's art, it's dark and gloomy style fit the story well.  Annuals are sometimes a hard sell, but if you are reading Endgame and/or a Joker fan, I can easily recommend this to you.



  1. This story was kind of the same premise as Azzarello's Joker story. In both stories we got to see a new side of Joker. We also saw Joker's "friend" loosing their mind as they get more and more exposure to the Joker.

    1. very true. I did like seeing that the Joker was doing a good job at the Asylum while he was in hiding. Nothing wrong with a hard days work.

    2. This reminded me more of the btas episode joker's favour