Cease me should you’ve heard this one. A person goes to the physician as a result of he’s been hit with Joker gasoline and may’t cease laughing. The physician says, “Don’t fear, it’s nothing critical!”
All proper, all proper, you possibly can put down your tomatoes. I’m finished with my joke telling for this column. That form of factor is greatest left for the professionals. You recognize, clowns, comedians…and criminals. The form of joke tellers who actually know tips on how to knock them lifeless. Or generally completely incapacitated. We’re speaking guys who will go away an viewers in stitches…in the event that they don’t bleed out earlier than they will get medical help.
Sure, I’m referring to the Jokers—and no, that’s not a typo. There are three of them. A minimum of, there are in Batman: Three Jokers, Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s thrilling new DC Black Label sequence which is now full and picked up in a single single graphic novel.
First teased on the finish of Johns and Fabok’s Justice League: Darkseid War and later in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Batman: Three Jokers is a taut Gotham-set story specializing in Batman, Batgirl and Purple Hood as they examine three simultaneous Joker assaults. That the assaults had been the work of three separate Jokers isn’t actually a shock—it’s proper there within the title in spite of everything—however how there may be immediately a couple of Clown Prince of Crime creating mayhem in Gotham is a thriller that unfolds because the story goes on. Nonetheless, what I discovered much more stunning than the e book’s central thriller is how a lot Batman: Three Jokers ties into Batman: The Killing Joke.
Whereas Three Jokers might not be formally labeled a sequel—and I personally wouldn’t name it that—it’s clearly set throughout the Alan Moore and Brian Bolland comedian’s continuity. Occasions from The Killing Joke are referenced and even seem in flashback moments afterward within the story. Fabok’s visible storytelling is brazenly influenced by Bolland’s work on The Killing Joke, right down to his heavy use of nine-panel grids. In different phrases, should you’re a Killing Joke fan, Three Jokers is more likely to be proper up your alley.
But, apparently, the 2 books are very totally different in what they in the end should say concerning the Joker and Batman. In The Killing Joke, the Joker’s motive for torturing and tormenting Commissioner Gordon with the capturing of his daughter was to point out how little it takes for somebody to snap and provides into the darkness. As he famously says, “All it takes is one unhealthy day. That’s how far the world is from the place I’m. Only one unhealthy day.”
Nonetheless, it’s what the Joker says instantly afterwards that Batman: Three Jokers runs with: “You had a foul day as soon as. Am I proper? I do know I’m. You had a foul day and all the pieces modified! Why else would you gown up as a flying rat?”
The Clown Prince will not be improper. Batman did have a really unhealthy day, as all followers know. When he was a baby, each his mother and father had been shot to demise in entrance of him by a avenue prison named Joe Chill. The grief, anger and immense unhappiness he felt over the loss impressed him to turn into Batman to make sure that no different baby will ever should undergo the identical factor.
Nonetheless, it will seem that whereas the Joker could have been proper about Batman in that earlier confrontation, he isn’t precisely completely happy about it. (SPOILER ALERT for anybody who hasn’t learn Batman: Three Jokers but. I’m about to debate a part of the ending.) Within the remaining chapter of Three Jokers, we be taught that the Jokers have kidnapped Joe Chill, ostensibly to make one more Joker out of him. Nonetheless, close to the tip of the e book, it’s revealed that the one Joker left standing really orchestrated it in order that Batman would be taught the reality about Joe Chill—that the person who murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne deeply, deeply regrets what he did and it’s haunted him his complete life. It’s a heartbreaking confession that occurs to reach on the very finish of Chill’s life, but it surely’s a honest one, as made evident by the handfuls of unsent letters he’s written to Bruce trying to clarify and apologize.
Why would the Joker need Batman to listen to it? To, as he places it, heal Batman’s biggest wound in order that he could possibly be his biggest ache. The Joker acknowledges that so long as Bruce is, at the least partially, pushed by the anguish he feels at dropping his mother and father, all the pieces he may probably do to Bruce (or Babs or Jason) would all the time be secondary. And after seeing the ultimate Joker immediately or not directly kill the 2 others, it’s clear that he doesn’t wish to share the highlight with anyone.
What this says concerning the Joker isn’t new—he’s all the time seen himself as Batman’s darkish counterpart, their destinies perpetually linked. That theme weighs heavy on Three Jokers because it did on The Killing Joke earlier than it. The place the 2 books differ is in what they should say concerning the thought of insurmountable ache. The Killing Joke launched the concept of “all it takes is one unhealthy day,” whereas Three Jokers appears to counsel it’s not fairly that straightforward. Batman’s by no means been completely motivated by the demise of his mother and father. It’s part of it, positive, however there’s an excellent larger factor that motivates him and it’s additionally very current in Batman: Three Jokers—compassion. Bruce does what he can to guard the individuals of Gotham as a result of, like his mother and father earlier than him, he cares about them.
There could also be no serving to the Joker, however the truth that Batman has that compassion, even extending it to the person who killed his mother and father, means that whereas one unhealthy day could set you off on a brand new path, it’s love and forgiveness that may hold you on the best aspect of it.
Tim Beedle covers films, TV and comics for DCComics.com, writes our month-to-month Superman column, “Super Here For…”, and is an everyday contributor to the Sofa Membership, our weekly tv column.