Review: ‘The Joker,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The joker #3

The Joker #3 is published by DC Comics, written by James Tynion IV and Sam Johns, with art by Guillem March and Mirka Andolfo, colors by Arif Prianto and Romulo Fajardo Jr., with letters by Ariana Maher and Tom Napolitano. As Jim Gordon prepares to begin his hunt for The Joker, he finds himself pondering the why and how he found himself in this place, preparing to potentially commit murder. Also, life in jail takes a hard turn for Punchline, and Bluebird uncovers some shocking new information in her investigation.

This month’s story opens with Gordon deep in thought as he thinks back on his history with The Joker and how it lead him to this place. In particular, his mind goes back to one bad day on Amusement Mile.

That this series would directly reference The Killing Joke was probably inevitable. With the first two issues managing to keep Gordon’s reasons for his disdain for The Joker fairly broad, I had started to hope a direct reference to that unfortunate storyline wouldn’t be needed. Alas, The Joker #3 put that hope to rest.

Individuals far better versed in the reasons why The Killing Joke‘s complete stripping of Barabra Gordon’s agency as a character and the reduction of her trauma to nothing but shock moments is deplorable have written numerous pieces on the subject, so I’ll not dive into it here. I will simply once again try to wish into existence the day when DC decides to just quietly stop talking about that whole garbage fire of a story.

While the reference of the above story was a letdown for me, Tynion delivers an excellent internal monologue from Gordon throughout his portion of The Joker #3. His thoughts about the nature of The Joker, what makes him hard to track down between crimes, and how grossly they had underestimated him in the early days as simply an attention seeker with a gimmick are all executed brilliantly by the skillful scribe.

Once Gordon takes off for Belize, the monologue shifts to the job at hand. The approach and means Gordon implements as he starts tracking his man in The Joker #3 are compelling and interesting. While I’ve always appreciated Gordon as a character, Tynion has added a lot of depth that is often absent to the character throughout this series.

Guillem’s art does a great job capturing the many moments throughout this story.  The artist’s ability to capture Gordon’s mindset is mostly impressive. The only stumbling point is in one particular moment where the writer describes The Joker as having  “cold shark eyes.” The eyes in the accompanying panel are a great many things, but cold isn’t one of them. This is a small issue, to be sure. But when the rest of a story’s art is so perfectly implemented, these are the things that jump out at you.

Pairing greatly with March’s art is Prianto’s colors. The colorwork throughout is vibrant and strong. The palettes used always help reinforce the story’s mood and further strengthen the narrative as a whole.

Wrapping up our look at the primary tale of The Joker #3 is Napolitano’s letters. Napolitano brings Gordon’s musings to the reader in a manner that keeps the detective’s thoughts clear and easy to follow.

The secondary story continues to follow the dual narratives of Punchline’s life in jail as her trial continues and Bluebird’s continued search for evidence that’ll help ensure she stays there. Punchline’s side of the story sees her encounter with the recently jailed Orca. The meeting is less than pleasant.

The rest of the time sees Aiden showing Bluebird through the contents of Punchline’s old college dorm room. Some surprising revelations come of this exploration, but I’ll leave those for you to discover.

Andolfo continues to deliver a solid performance on this story’s art. The emotions are captured well and combined with Fajardo’s colors; the visuals come together with the story nicely.

Rounding out The Joker #3‘s secondary story is Maher’s letters. Maher’s dialogue placement is spot on here, despite some extremely wordy panels. This excellent placement helps to keep the images feeling balanced despite how heavy the dialogue can be.

When all is said and done, The Joker #3 continues to build up its two stories nicely. What comes next for the primary tale has me genuinely intrigued as Tynion leaves Gordon in a position I never saw coming at the end of this story.

The Joker #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

The Joker #3
4

TL;DR

When all is said and done, The Joker #3 continues to build up its two stories nicely. What comes next for the primary tale has me genuinely intrigued as Tynion leaves Gordon in a position I never saw coming at the end of this story.