There’s few things worse for Batman than a motivated and focused Joker. As The Joker War rages on, Harley Quinn tries to help Batman fight through the Joker toxin that’s making Batman hallucinate about a brighter Gotham where Alfred is still alive and the city has become a modern utopia.
Writer James Tynion IV writes Harley so well. He doesn’t seem handcuffed by the need to make every other sentence a punchline so her humor comes across less forced.
Maybe the one downside to this arc is it hasn’t been that long since Tom King had Bane occupy Gotham during his City of Bane arc. Having another rogue seize the city so quickly — even if the story has been set up better and more effectively — doesn’t manage to avoid that sense of been there, done that.
And it does kind of have a similar vibe with Harley replacing Catwoman as Batman’s main ally while he fights Joker. Of course Bane is a tactician and Joker is more an unpredictable force of madness so their first encounter in this arc doesn’t play out at all like Batman expects.
Tynion introduces a new potential addition to the Bat Family in Clownhunter, a vigilante striking back against the Joker gangs that have taken over Gotham. The only catch with him is his tactics are a tad more violent (read: fatal) than Batman prefers in dealing with criminals.
Artist Jorge Jimenez has a softer, more animated style than many of the recent Batman artists, but he is able to show the darker side of Gotham and make a terrifying Joker. Jimenez’s sense of perspectives is also excellent as he crafts the most heroic, dramatic and frightening takes on the characters. Tomeu Morey always does fantastic color work and he’s utilizing some unique blends with purple and greens for Joker scenes and the dreamworld Gotham clashes nicely with its bright blues and yellows.
Joker War hasn’t disappointed so far and I’m already excited about where Tynion and Jimenez are going to take the next few issues.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10