Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Joker #5 Review

The Long Joke

Written By: Mathew Rosenberg, James Tynion IV, Sam Johns
Art By: Francesco Francavilla, Tom Napolitano, Sweeney Boo, Ariana Maher
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: July 13, 2021

Previously in The Joker, we saw our Clown Prince of Crime slip away from not only our former Commissioner Gordon who unbeknownst to him was put on the hunt by the Court of Owls, but he also gave the slip to two members of the Sawyer Family, a Texas crime family, and Vengeance, the Daughter of Bane. Before he parted ways with Jim Gordon though, Joker let him in on the idea that A-Day was caused by someone else and now possibly we might have Jim Gordon on the hunt for the person framing the Joker. That's neither here nor there though because for this issue we're having a weird interlude that takes our characters back to the past and where Jim Gordon's obsession began. Let's check it out.

This is a strange issue in this series because while it wants to up the ante in showing you the obsessive connection that Jim Gordon has with the Joker, I don't know if we needed to interrupt the series to go back in time and actually see how Jim Gordon reacted after they originally captured the Joker when he first emerged in Gotham because through Jim's narration previously we've pretty much been dealing with his obsession this series already and seeing a situation where the Joker consumed his life for a period in time didn't make it feel any more real than it already did.

Even if it feels like a weird yield in our story and focusing on things that we have a decent understanding of, there's a decent vibe to this that makes you think back to things like Year One or Long Halloween, or at least that's how it was for me but it's cool seeing the early days of Captain Gordon working with Harvey Dent and seeing how concerned Jim Gordon is with the Joker while everyone else is focused on the organized crime in Gotham. Feels and vibes though don't make this a really good installment to this series and ultimately it feels out of place or just something thrown in while we wait longer to find out what's going on in our Joker series. That aspect paired with a Punchline backup that makes me feel like we missed a chapter somewhere left me wanting for this issue of The Joker.

All in all, the art style is fine and works for the flashback story being told here but since I've been enjoying the regular art on this series, this bit came as a bit of a disappointment to me overall and that goes for the story as well because even though it was well told and gave a couple of days in the life of Jim Gordon during the early days of the Joker coming to Gotham, which is cool..... I didn't get anything really new out of this story that wasn't already conveyed through simple narration or what someone who's read Batman in the past wouldn't know as well. Also, while I enjoyed the art in the Punchline backup, that story feels like it's going nowhere slowly and with each issue I feel like I just keep waiting for something groundbreaking to happen because while Punchline is rotting away in prison, so is my interest in her. 

Bits and Pieces:

If you don't mind halting the story that was being told and can get into a day in the life of Captain Gordon, where his obsession with the Joker begins many years ago then maybe you'll dig this issue but for the most part, even though the story was told well I didn't feel like I got anything new out of this and just kind of feel disappointed that we have a strange one-shot issue shoved in when things in this book were really getting interesting. Like I said though, the story is well told and the art works well for the type of story it is but this is a strange installment with a pretty weak backup.


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