Batman: Three Jokers #2 is another successful issue in the series that keeps my hype alive, but it puts that much more pressure on issue #3 for a strong conclusion. There has been a lot of talk and comparison between this and The Killing Joke, and it’s a fair point to bring up. In issue #1, we got to see the tone that Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, and the rest of the creative team are bringing, and they do amazingly well to bring the vibe of The Killing Joke while giving me new reasons to care and turn the page for this series.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Batman: Three Jokers #2!
I really enjoy what Jason Fabok is doing with the covers on this series. Granted, there are a lot of variant covers to choose from, but I am so glad that the main covers of this series are the three different Jokers we see as characters in this story. I guess when you put these three issues together with The Killing Joke, you could have four of a kind. This issue’s cover features “the Criminal” Joker, and I just love the look of him — he seems like he would be a great cerebral character that just has this tic to him instead of a super villain clown.
The way he interacts with characters really shows him stealing the show, but he does get a bit outshined. The way he talks down to Jason Todd is amazing and when he finally laughs it is one of the most intense Joker panels I’ve seen in comics. His laugh doesn’t bring out a nervous feel or a good emotion, it brings out a guarded feeling, which is awesome.
Jason and Brad Anderson work attentively together, and there is so much to see in this issue, including so many Easter Eggs and panels of symbolism that are just fantastic. One of my favorite panels in this issue is so plain but hits amazingly: in the ninth panel of page 22, broken lock parts fall on the ground to form a broken smile. There is so much you could read into this, but it is so amazing because of how many layers it can represent for this issue and what happens to Jason Todd, who I felt was the main star of this issue. The way his emotions get dragged around this issue is intense and shows us why he is a guarded character, and when he is broken, all that is left behind is a broken smile. Man, that hit deep.
Geoff Johns just might be worse to Jason Todd than the Joker is. The hits don’t stop, as Jason has to square off against the Jokers, gets tormented by their words, gets told he wouldn’t be a smart Joker, and then finds peace and safety in Barbara’s room only to have that foolish moment of love/pity hit worse than a crowbar.
Speaking of Barbara, it was awesome to see how Batman sees her inner strength and how Barbara dealt with her Joker traumas after being shot. These were some great character moments that really show strength of character and family.
On the flip side, Batman himself had an interesting moment in this issue that, honestly, made me look down on him. That may come as a shock to some, as Batman is all about the law — if he wasn’t, there wouldn’t even be one Joker as he would’ve taken him down by now. Yet in this issue Batman really covers for Jason and seems to be ignoring the fact that Jason killed a Joker, which I find super interesting as that’s always been the ultimate red line for Batman.
The discussion between Batman and Barbara on page 13 is wild as she is wanting to bring Jason to justice, which makes total sense in the Bat-Family way of thinking, yet Batman seems against it. It all just seems really out of character for Batman, but the story isn’t over yet, so I would like to see that play out and give the story a chance to explain his behavior.
“Criminal” Joker kept mentioning hate when he was dealing with Jason Todd, and also seemed to imply that they choose who will be a Joker or the next Joker…so that got my mind thinking about this question, “Who, outside of the Joker, hates Batman?” Now, depending on your take on continuity Joe Chill can be a hired gunman, or maybe Geoff Johns is looking to add more to that myth. Bringing Joe Chill into this story is exciting, and when Batman goes to talk to Joe in Blackgate it is interesting to see that Bruce struggled at first to get his Batman voice, so another trauma surfaces.
Batman: Three Jokers #2 keeps the mystery alive and brings in the drama after that explosive issue #1. Granted, we are down to two Jokers, but the hits don’t stop. If you thought “A Death in the Family” was rough on Jason, just wait until you read this issue.