The Psychotic Joker declares back his City
Author of award winning graphic novel 100 Bullets (Brian Azzarello) presents us with Joker. It’s a graphic novel solely based on the Joker, readers will learn why the Joker being released from Arkham is Gotham’s worst nightmare.
The story begins with a small time thug (Jonny Frost) volunteering to collect the Joker from Arkham Asylum. Nobody knows why he’s released but he claims that ‘he’s cured’ and is ‘no longer sick’. Jonny Frost is Joker’s right hand man and the narrator throughout the story.
While Joker was away, he left his rackets in what he thought was reliable hands. Unfortunately everyone took a piece of his pie, imagining that Joker would never return. Now back on the streets of Gotham, Joker wants what he believes is rightfully his; Gotham City.
With the help of Killer Croc, Harley Quinn and forcefully The Penguin, the Joker embarks on a long night of redemption. Joker shows no remorse to anyone that crosses his path, shedding blood everywhere he goes.
As you may have picked up from Lee Bermejo’s artwork, Joker is a mature graphic novel. Violence is ever present on almost every page, at one stage in the story the Joker skins a man alive and butchers an old couple in bed with a knife.
His character can only be described as a Clown on crack, I know he’s meant to be unpredictable but some sequences are totally random. For instance when he kills an old couple in bed with a knife. The end result is the bed and walls soaked in blood. He has no motivation to kill them and it’s not explained at all.
One of the most striking resemblances between ‘The Dark Knight’ and this novel is the Jokers appearance. In the novel the characters are portrayed as normal people as opposed to super villains.
Be prepared for gore and heads with a hole in them
Take Killer Croc for example; in here he is a large African American with exaggerated muscles and scaly skin, which may put a bad taste in reader’s mouths. The Riddler looks like a mix between a crack head with a crooked back and a pimp with a cane. The Penguin is approached as a small fat man, with a physique of a penguin.
Other characters you can expect to see are Two-Face and a glimpse of Batman. Although Batman only makes cameo appearances, his presence makes a big impact. It’s almost as if he is a myth and a feared predator, only seen by a handful of criminals.
Overall the story is very engaging and constantly tantalizing, enticing you into a world that’s lost its innocents. It’s an interesting take on the Joker that makes you think; a man of his caliber could actually be real and exist in the underworld.
If you’re used to a Joker that packs explosive toys in his inventory and transports in style, then Brian Azzarello’s Joker is not for you. This graphic novel is not for the feint hearted, be prepared for gore and heads with a hole in them. This Joker carries a revolver and gets chauffeured around town by a low time thug called Jonny Frost.
It’s a worthy contender for your bookshelf that you’ll scour through for days to come.
The Bad: • The story ended