After years of waiting, DC comics’ The Three Jokers is finally out.
Beware: Spoilers ahead!
Before I get into this, this isn’t a full breakdown of the Joker and his creation history etc. etc. If you want to read something like that, I’ll be happy to do one. Right now, I’m all about what DC is shocking us with!
For years, the true identity of the Joker has been a mytery for Batman fans around the world. Some years back Batman gained control of the Mobius Chair belonging to Metron, something that granted him access to infinite knowledge. He asked it a question, the real identity of the Joker. The answer wasn’t revealed for a long time. In a fleeting panel, we learn that there are 3. Three Jokers! One wasn’t maniacal enough? This happened pre Rebirth in the Justice League comics and then post Rebirth in DC Universe: Rebirth 1.
The first issue of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s The Three Jokers is out on the Black Label imprint. DC’s mature/prestige line. It attempts to give us insight into the history of the Joker and put a cap onto Johns Justice League run where this was teased oh so very long ago.
So Johns and Fabok approach the mystery straight away. The clown prince of crime is causing chaos across Gotham, as he does. Batman, Red Hood, Batgirl are on the move, trying to figure out what is going on.
Witness accounts show multiple Jokers running around at the same time. But that doesn’t seem right. And each of these Joker’s seem to fit into a particular era, one that defines each of these heroes.
A Joker in an aloha shirt, and a broad hat. Straight out of The Killing Joke. The story where Barbara Gordon and her father Commissioner James Gordon were left traumatized. And where Barbara was crippled. Something that forced her to stop being Batgirl, and ultimately taking on the role of Oracle. Of course the reboot of the New 52 made her Batgirl again, but the Killing Joke isn’t retconned.
Another crowbar waving clown dressed in the costume he used in the 80’s is here too. This one seems to be from Death In The Family. The story where the Joker murdered the second Robin, Jason Todd, and his mother. Mentally breaking Batman for a long time, until Tim Drake came into the picture. Of course years later, Todd returned as the Red Hood. Reincarnated thanks to the lazarus pit.
The third Joker so far is a mystery. He seems to be more serious, and resembles the Joker from his solo series, but different. He seems to be the ringleader of this insane clown posse. Everything seems to point to the fact that this will be the one Batman must go head to head with.
If you’re like me, you’ll want to go back and do some reading.
The Killing Joke
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Brian Bolland
The Killing Joke is a one-shot graphic novel released in 1988. It attempts to give an origin story to the Joker, loosely based on the 1951 story arc titled “The Man behind the Red Hood”. Telling the story through flashbacks, while in present day The Joker attempts to drive Jim Gordon insane as Batman attempts to stop him. The origin shows him as a tragic character, a family man and failed comedian who suffered that one bad day that drove him over the edge. Moore wanted to show the similarity between Batman and the Joker. The story affected mainstream continuity, including the shooting and paralysis of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.
Death in the Family
Written by Jim Starlin
Art by Jim Aparo
Covers by Mike Mignola
A four part storyline also from 1988, Death in the Family follows the second Robin, Jason Todd, on his quest to reunite with his mother. Todd was introduced as a replacement to Dick Grayson, the beloved Robin in 1983. He was relieved of his duties due to his impulsive nature, and discovers that Catherine Todd is not his birth mother. Tracking her to the Middle East, Todd runs into Batman who is on the trail of the Joker. During the course of this adventure, Todd is kidnapped, tortured and ultimately killed by the Joker. This series is famous for it 900 voting system. Fans were given the choice to call in to two separate numbers and chose whether Jason would survive the torture, or die.
There is a lot going on in DC comics these days, with the giant event, it’s only natural that the comic books carry on the excitement.
With The Joker War currently on in the Batman comics, this is the perfect time for The Three Jokers to come out. It’s well written, it’s gripping, and it leaves you wanting.
Johns and Fabok have done a beautiful job bringing this concept to light. It’s a fitting story for the clown prince of crime. The second part releases September 30.