Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Joker #10 Review

The Joker #10 Review

There's A Problem With Junior

The Joker #10 Review
Written By: Matthew Rosenberg, James Tynion IV, Sam Johns
Art By: Francesco Francavilla, Tom Napolitano, Belen Ortega, Alejandro Sanchez, Becca Carey
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: December 14, 2021

The hunt for the Joker continues after the previous Annual, where we saw a glimpse into the past and witnessed more reasons why Jim Gordon hates the Clown Prince of Crime. While taking a look into Gotham's past, where Batman and Batgirl were beating up bad guys and our new Commissioner Gordon was cleaning up the GCPD, that Annual issue felt more like taking all the narration boxes that we get in a normal issue of the Joker and expanding on it with an oversized issue. I'm not sure that we need to see more about why Jim Gordon doesn't like our title character because he tells us every issue it feels like but let's continue our look into the past with this issue of the Joker.

For this issue of the Joker, we go back in time to Gotham City right after the Joker shot Barbara Gordon and tried to make Commissioner Gordon go insane. The Gordon family is still going through a hard time and trying to transition to the life that the Joker left them; where every day is a struggle and it only gets harder when Jim's ex-wife Barbara comes back to Gotham to leave their son James Gordon Jr. with his father because the boy is going through some problems and she thinks that he could use a good male role model. While previously I thought that we didn't need to see any more motivation to why Jim Gordon would hate the Joker, this inclusion of James Gordon Jr. actually makes this storytelling more interesting because whenever Jim Gordon would bring up his son and what the Joker did to him that part always felt forced and really didn't make much sense so having Jim's deranged son take center stage this issue and see his obsession with the man who tried to tear apart his family actually adds to the story in a way that we haven't seen before.  

The Joker #10 Review

As for our Punchline backup, we see former friend of Punchline Kelly Ness continuing to be scared and Harper's brother Cullen learns that his boyfriend, who has connections with the Royal Flush Gang may be bad... but he's not all bad. It's a weird backup that doesn't feel like it does enough with either part of its story to really feel like it matters or gives us information to allow us to understand the implications that it's trying to convey.  

The Joker #10 Review

All in all, I enjoyed the art in both sections of this book but found that the main story's flashback to explore James Gordon Jr was way better than the backup and way better than I expected. While I didn't really care for what we got in the previous Annual because it was done in this style and told us a story that we could already ascertain as Batman fans, this exploration into James Gordon Jr.'s connection to the Joker and why Jim Gordon blames the Joker for his son's demise is something that desperately needed to be talked about.  It always felt like a weird addition that our former Commissioner would add into the conversation whenever he talked about why he was hunting the Joker and having a further background on James Gordon Jr. is something that I'm all about. I really enjoy the character of Jim Gordon Jr. would love to see deeper into his psychology, especially from the young age that we get him as here. Sadly though, the Punchline backup didn't do much for me. The short page count doesn't really have enough time to do anything that feels important and doesn't get me excited for what's to come next.

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Bits and Pieces:

I dig Francesco Francavilla's art for these flashback issues that take a closer look at why Jim Gordon has an obsession with taking the Joker down but while I like the look, I thought that the previous Annual issue felt unneeded in what it told but thankfully this continuation does something new and explores James Gordon Jr. and how this young twisted mind became intrigued with the criminal that hurt his family so much. This was a much-needed look at why Jim Gordon brings his son up with his hatred to the Clown Prince of Crime and I only wish that I liked the Punchline backup as much as the main story.


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