REVIEW: ‘Batman: Three Jokers,’ Issue 3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Three Jokers #3

Batman: Three Jokers #3 is written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Jason Fabok, colored by Brad Anderson, and lettered by Rob Leigh. It is published by DC Comics under their Black Label imprint. After the events of Batman: Three Jokers #2, Batman races to save Joe Chill from the remaining Jokers. Meanwhile, the Criminal’s plan is revealed in all its horrific glory.

As always, the highlight of the issue is Fabok and Anderson’s art. In 48 pages, Fabok sets the Gothic vibe that fans expect from Batman and Gotham City. He also makes great use of the nine-panel grid that has served as a recurring feature for this series. One example is a page where Batman, Red Hood, and Batgirl enter the old theater where the Jokers and Chill are. We see their different methods: Batgirl and Batman are direct while Hood is a bit rough in his method. Each character is afforded three panels, and each of them disappears into the shadows.

Anderson makes great use of the shadows, using them to highlight Fabok’s transitions from scene to scene. He also adds to the Gothic vibe of Gotham with muted colors, breaking things up with the garishly bright purple and green that the Joker wears. Color can help set the mood, and this is a very somber comic indeed.

However, Johns’ writing fails to generate any tension or justify Three Jokers‘ existence. The Criminal’s plan makes no sense at all-he apparently has been trying to make a better Joker for years, and somehow made two more Jokers without the self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Detective” finding out. I feel like this storyline was meant to be a bigger deal since it spun out of DC Rebirth, but editorial mandates may have led to that changing. Regardless of changes in storylines or not, Johns could have still made the idea of three different Jokers more compelling.

Johns also tries to incorporate a twist involving the events of The Killing Joke and the Joker’s true identity, and it just feels forced. The Joker works best as a force of chaos. He doesn’t need to be defined. He doesn’t need an origin. He just needs to challenge Batman. Every attempt to humanize the Joker or give him depth has fallen flat on its face, and this is no different.

The relationship between Red Hood and Batgirl also takes a weird turn. Their kiss in Batman: Three Jokers #2 came out of nowhere, and it doesn’t make sense for him to suddenly fall in love with her. I also maintain that this would have been better as a Red Hood story since he has the biggest ax to grind with the Joker. Another piece of evidence? Batman urges him to change his identity since it’s tied to the Joker’s history, and it’s one of the few moments where I felt any genuine emotion.

Batman: Three Jokers #3 is a disappointing end to an extremely disappointing series. Though Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson delivered some of the best artwork of their career, Geoff Johns’ story lacked dramatic tension and had characters making baffling choices. Worse still, Batman feels like an afterthought in a story featuring his archnemesis. As somebody who was looking forward to this storyline, I’m utterly disappointed. I highly recommend that fans read Batman: Lovers and Madmen or Batman: Endgame for a good Joker story.

Batman: Three Jokers #3 is available wherever comics are sold.

 

Three Jokers #3
2

TL;DR

Batman: Three Jokers #3 is a disappointing end to an extremely disappointing series. Though Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson delivered some of the best artwork of their career, Geoff Johns’ story lacked dramatic tension and had characters making baffling choices. Worse still, Batman feels like an afterthought in a story featuring his archnemesis. As somebody who was looking forward to this storyline, I’m utterly disappointed. I highly recommend that fans read Batman: Lovers and Madmen or Batman: Endgame for a good Joker story.