Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo
Oftentimes, when a long running superhero book brings back a fan-favorite villain, it can be complacent, even boring, because all we get are the same types of stories that have been told before. Snyder and Capullo are not using the standard playbook here. The Joker returns and he does so with a vengeance.
The last time we saw the Joker is was in the first issue of Detective Comics right after the DC52 relaunch. He allowed another villain to literally cut his face off, and has been underground ever since. The first place Joker visits when he comes back to Gotham City is GCPD to get his face back. And he spooks Commissioner Gordon.
As Batman prepares for whatever the Joker has planned we see the network of his allies also prepare for it. Nightwing, Red Robin, Robin, and Batgirl are on full alert and there is a wonderful sense of urgency coming from all of the characters that helps add to the sense that the Joker is dangerous.
There are moments peppered throughout the book where I feel we are getting a Joker more in line with Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight. He even does a taped TV warning about where he will strike next that gets Batman away from the Joker’s true target. This Joker, for the first time, makes the reader worried about the Bat-characters. Normally I know that the characters will all make it out alive, but now I think someone definitely will not. The last page of the main story messed me up because of the implication of what the Joker may do, and what his target means as far as the security of the Bat-Family.
Capullo’s art has been fantastic on this series, but I honestly believe this issue is the best it has ever been. The issue builds and the menace grows through the expert pacing. The story is dark and moody, and the last page might actually give me nightmares. Well done!
FINAL WORD: Best issue of the week because it was not only good, but another great jump on point for lapsed readers!
PUNK ROCK JESUS #4
Vertigo (DC) Comics
Written & Illustrated by Sean Murphy
After last issue I thought Gwen was safe for sure, but it appeared all for naught. After teaming with a religious militant outfit she tries to rescue Chris from the clutches of the reality TV show. It does not go well for her, and Chris snaps. He gets an interesting education and literally gives himself a makeover.
We still do not know what is going on with the angel last issue. We are treated to more of Thomas’ backstory. And much like the Batman issue this week, the last page is a killer!
Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus has been an engaging, wonderful story and you never know exactly what you are going to get from issue to issue. The series really had been building up to Chris’ move towards, well, becoming a Punk Rock singer, and I cannot wait to see where the series goes from here.
I may have liked it better than Batman this week, but the reason that it does not win Best Book of the week for me is because you cannot jump on with this issue. You had to have been reading from the beginning. It still is an amazing series and I cannot wait to own the collection.
FINAL WORD: Still one of the best comics coming out right now. It really is awesome!
HALLOWEEN EVE #1
Written by Brandon Montclare
Art by Amy Reeder
Probably not the first on anyone’s list, but I really liked this book. It is a one-shot, Halloween book, and it is fun and kind of sweet. It offers a story told a million times, about a young girl, in this case Eve, who may or may not have been transported to a magical land where it is always Halloween. Of course, it could have been a dream too.
Eve is essentially the Grinch of Halloween. She works at a costume shop and she does not want to dress up for Halloween. After being forced to work late she finds herself in the middle of living costumes and everything goes crazy from there.
The story is basic, but the art is gorgeous. It is a pretty book, and it has a certain whimsy to it. It also is a great one-shot to give to a friend that normally might not read comics, or who really loves Halloween. For me personally, Halloween is my favorite holiday. So maybe I liked this more than others will.
FINAL WORD: The perfect one-shot if you love Halloween or you want a fun comic to give to that non-comic reading friend!