Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Joker #4 Review

What's Black and White and Red All Over?!

Written By: James Tynion IV, Sam Johns
Art By: Guillem March, Arif Prianto, Tom Napolitano, Mirko Andolfo, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Ariana Maher
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: June 8, 2021

It's time to head back into the mad world of the Joker and Jim Gordon's hunt for him but as we saw in the previous issue, it looks like that hunt has come to an end because not only did Jim Gordon find the Clown Prince of Crime but so did Vengeance, the daughter of Bane and the Sampson Crime Family from Texas and now it looks like our former Commissioner might actually have to team up with his prey to survive this onslaught. Let's jump into this issue and see if the madness of this situation gets worse or if Jim Gordon can finish his job in killing the Joker and make his way back home. Let's check it out.

As I said in my intro, in this issue we see everyone converge on the Joker but as you would imagine, our pale title character isn't going to make it easy on anyone to take him down but that's not the only story going on in this issue because we also have The Batgirls, Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain checking in on Jim Gordon's mysterious benefactor and while you know who's funding Jim's hunt for Gotham's biggest madman if you've been reading this series, it looks like that mystery is going to come a calling to the Bat-Family as this series continues and I can't wait to find out more. 

While I like the direction that the main Joker story is going, the Punchline backup is having diminishing returns for me as in this chapter we see the aftermath of Punchline and Orca's fight and how Alexis Kaye plans on turning the tables on her rival from the Royal Flush gang..... and while that sounds cool on the surface, it all feels kind of out of nowhere in here.

All in all, the Joker bit of this book continues to be really strong, and adding a new layer to the story with this installment felt like it's keeping things fresh, while also adding some intrigue with Vengeance, the daughter of Bane..... I just wish that Jim Gordon's introduction to each issue wouldn't go on for so long with the narration because it just feels like padding to where the story is interesting enough on its own without the deep thoughts of Jim Gordon feeling like it's trying to be more intelligent than it is. Sadly though, the Punchline backups don't feel like they're doing all that much with the minimum page space that it has and I'm finding it less and less interesting with each issue... even the art which I have been enjoying felt weird to me this issue, where I was struggling to understand what was going on panel by panel. Thankfully though, I continue to enjoy the Joker's art, and if the art and story remain strong in that..... Well, what else can I really ask for?

Bits and Pieces:

The Joker hunt continues to be interesting in new and unexpected ways with each issue and this one is no different. We've got intriguing characters, deep mysteries, and the psychology of our favorite former Commissioner driving this story forward in excellent ways and I only hope that the Punchline backup starts matching the pace of the main story because sadly, that backup is already losing steam with me and making less interested in a new character that I was really digging initially.


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