Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Joker #8 Review

The Birthplace Of Vengeance

Written By: James Tynion IV, Sam Johns
Art By: Guillem March, Arif Prianto, Tom Napolitano, Rosi Kampe, Marissa Louise, Ariana Maher
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: October 12, 2021

The hunt for the Joker continues this issue with Jim Gordon and the Daughter of Bane, Vengeance. Previously, we saw Jim Gordon working with Interpol's head of the super-villains unit, the adequately nicknamed Madame Halloween and it looked like the two hit it off pretty well in that they would work together to hunt down the Joker if Gordon would also help her track down a group called "The Network", and if for some reason there was an accident in the apprehension of the Clown Prince of Crime at the end of it all.... You know, something like he was accidentally shot to death by Gordon..... Well, Madame Halloween would look the other way and chalk it up to "shit happens". I don't know how well this pairing will be though because at the end of the issue it looked like Vengeance wanted to interrupt the meeting. Let's jump into this issue and check it out.

For this issue of The Joker, we see the backstory of Vengeance explored here as the so-called Daughter of Bane "disarms" Madame Halloween and kidnaps Jim Gordon so that the two can join up and tackle this Joker problem they both face. To get the background though we have to have a strange lead up where Vengeance has to take out some cops and then firemen carry Gordon across Paris to a boat to do a poor job in tying in the last issue where Gordon was arrested by Interpol because his fingerprints were left at a massacre scene in a laboratory. As it turns out, not only did the Joker do this and leave Gordon's fingerprints behind, but Vengeance and her Santa Priscan goon squad were there as well and the new character learned that this laboratory was her place of origin and while I'm okay with the idea of this backstory, it just kind of comes off clunky and her motives for joining forces with Gordon don't fair any better in my mind. Really though, that's all you get out of the Joker portion of the story and while I like the idea of Vengeance and wanted to know more about her, this issue's way of presenting it was kind of boring, convoluted, and left me wanting more.

As for our Punchline backup, Harper Row is trying to get the former friend of Punchline, Kelly Ness out of prison so that she can tell the world what kind of monster Alexis Kaye really is but for it to work we have to have Orca have strange connections to characters and motivations that kind of flip flop on a whim and not only that but we have to have Blackgate Prison feel more like a summer camp than an actual prison and by the end of this chapter it doesn't feel like this Punchline backup is doing much for the character or Harper Row for that matter.

All in all, the art in both sections of this book continue to be great, I just wish that the stories to both could match because while the Punchline backup has felt like it's been treading water for a while now and not really doing much to evolve or even elevate the characters involved, the Joker story feels like it's totally hit a slump now that the initial hunt for Joker has happened and we've moved past it because in the previous issue we just had Jim Gordon and Madame Halloween talking at a table, while the interesting parts had nothing to do with the main story and in this the majority of the issue was Vengeance and Gordon just talking about an origin story that didn't have much of an impact on me overall and because of it this story now feels less of a hunt and more of a..... chat? I don't know, it just feels like the momentum of this series has been lost and I don't know how it's going to get it back, but I do know it's not going to be from the Punchline backup.

Bits and Pieces:

While the art continues to look great in both the Joker main story and the Punchline backup, the momentum of both stories seems to have been lost and we're stuck learning information about the characters involved in boring, clunky ways and it seems that the hunt for the Joker is now the least interesting thing about this book. I think back to the last issue where Julia Pennyworth and the Batgirls fighting the Court of Owls was the highlight of that issue, but sadly, we don't have any of that here and the background of Vengeance isn't as impactful as I originally hoped it would be.  


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