I really enjoyed Alan Moore’s classic origin story of the Joker in “The Killing Joke” and was more than happy to pick up and read Azzarello’s remake of “Joker.”
The Joker has been given new life thanks to the brilliant performance by late actor, Heath Ledger. The Dark Knight actually releases on DVD this Tuesday.
The story opens with the Joker being released from Arkham; and the news about his impending release spreads like wildfire throughout Gotham. While he was away, many of the mid-level bosses had split up his territory and pocketed the profits.
Joker doesn’t waste time in reasserting his dominance and respect by reclaiming what he feels belongs to him. He is utterly unpredictable, leaving behind a bloody trail just about everywhere he goes. Croc gives him a hand as does Penguin, albeit, under duress. Most of his associates never thought he’d be free again and most didn’t live to regret it.
Jonny Frost witnesses the Joker’s deeds first hand since he spends most of the book in his company. The story is told through his eyes and his thoughts tended to be preoccupied by his admiration of the Joker and his own self-delusions of grandeaur. The truth is that Jonny is a loser, a jail bird who lost his wife and kids. As a lowly henchman, he thinks he can make a name for himself by riding on the coattails of his boss, the Clown Prince.
However, Jonny discovers some hidden truths about himself while joining the Joker in his revenge. He re-evaluates some things about himself and reassess his boundaries and limitations. He concludes almost too late, that he is in way over his head and that the Joker is truly a disturbed man. He realizes he doesn’t have the stomach or the balls to follow the Joker into madness.
The “Joker” was a quick and enjoyable read. The artwork was excellent and the characterizations and the plot were good. Azzarello didn’t do half bad here with his vision of a more modern day Joker. Fans will clearly see how this world that Azzarello has created aligns nicely with the films by Christopher Nolan. My grade, B and a nod to Vanessa Jaye for the recommend.