Joker | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, December 7th, 2023  



Nov 01, 2008 Year End 2008 - Best of 2008 Bookmark and Share

When the Joker is released from Arkham Asylum, his first order of business is to reclaim his territory and to show Gotham’s other villains (notably Two Face and The Penguin) who’s boss. The story is told from the perspective of a two-bit hood named Jonny Frost, who volunteers to pick up the Joker from the asylum and hopes to hit the big time as the Joker’s right-hand man. Frost slowly realizes that he’s in way over his head as he discovers that the Joker is more psychotic than he could’ve imagined. Written by Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets) and drawn by Lee Bermejo, Joker is in line with the gritty realism of last summer’s mega-blockbuster film The Dark Knight: the Joker’s “smile” is the result of a knife scar à la Dark Knight, Harley Quinn is a gun-toting stripper, Killer Croc is more of a calculated thug than a mutant monster—and in one scene, the Joker skins a man alive. Batman doesn’t show up until the end of the book, and you have to wonder why he takes so long to intervene on the Joker’s murderous antics. Joker doesn’t particularly shed much new light on the Crown Prince of Crime—this definitely isn’t the Joker equivalent of a Year One origin story. But Bermejo’s hyperreal art is certainly arresting, and Azzarello’s tale is still an intense read.


Author rating: 7/10

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