Joker War is here as the event OFFICIALLY kicks off today with Batman #95. Reading through the books, I am blown away by Batgirl #47 and what it means for Batgirl specifically, but the other stories all have interesting and important stuff.
- Detective Comics #1024 Harvey Dent, the Talons, and Batman (Joker War Prelude)
Recap: This issue is a continuation of #1023 and sees Harvey Dent and Batman face off against the Talons controlled by joker. It opens with Harvey Dent having to decide between Batman and Joker. Choosing Batman, Harvey Dent and the rest of the police fight to take down the talons who are WAY too numerous in number and WAY too difficult to kill. While the fight happens, Joker enjoys watching it all play out and at one point takes out numerous police with implants Hugo Strange put in their head. As they all start to lose, Harvey Dent decides to sacrifice himself blowing everything up. Rather than die, The bullet in Dent’s head moves to result in Dent becoming two face again. However, he is unable to move because Batman paralyzed his mech suit. Unable to move, Dent received surgery from Batman who removes the bullet which brings Dent back. The joker lost this fight but did what we wanted causing chaos.
Note: This most likely happens before His Dark Designs and there was no mention of any of the events in that arc.
Thoughts: This isn’t a must-read by any means. In fact, the events of this book don’t seem to have been all that important serving instead as a sort of conclusion to Tomasi’s run so far heading into Joker War. Both issue #1023 and #1024 require serious context before you jump into the books. It’s probably best if you sit this one out.
- Batman #95 Joker War Part 1
Recap: A lot happens in this issue and a lot of it is unclear. Joker has taken over all of Wayne’s fortune. Everything Wayne owns is being seized by both the government and the police. The police however are seizing the Wayne buildings in an effort to stop the joker after Gotham Gazette reported that the Joker is behind the loss of Bruce Wayne’s money. However, the police are told they have to leave because an injunction was filed against them. Batman will be without the police’s support in Joker War. Meanwhile, Joker is visiting the old theatre on Crime Alley where he has filled the theatre with intoxicated guests to show the film Bruce saw right before his parents died. His plan goes further though as he plans to buy every theatre in Gotham with the Wayne fortune. Meanwhile, Punchline has intoxicated Lucius Fox forcing him to reveal everything to her. Now, Batman seems to be in hiding while trying to figure out what to do next. He eventually tries to enter a secret Batcave in the Wayne Enterprises building, only for Punchline to be there. Punchline has filled the room with a non-lethal toxin that she is immune to. Under the effects of the toxin, Batman tries to escape and hears Alfred’s voice right before a Batplane fires lasers at him.
Thoughts: Overall this issue is a lot to take in. The story isn’t bad at all and makes great use of the Joker. Punchline is proving to be a great character and is starting to fit naturally in the story. I’m very impressed by Tynion’s ability to set the stage, but right now everything just feels like stage setting. After a whole arc of stage setting for Joker War, I had hoped we would have gotten more action by now.
- Batgirl #47 Joker War: Tie-in
Recap: This is the issue I REALLY want to talk about. Some HUGE game changing stuff happened here.
It starts with Barbara walking into her appartment after a long day. Tired she fails to notice the presence quietly hiding in a corner. Suddenly she realizes that everything is slightly off and she throws a wine glass and the figure who happens to be the joker. They begin to fight, and Joker reveals he knows she’s “the worst robin”, Barbara keeps fighting back, but Joker has the upper hand with a device that controls her implant. Without use of her legs, Barbara struggles but manages to land some blows on the joker before he makes her stand up and sit on the couch by controlling her legs. Stuck on the couch, joker recaps their history. Barbara however verbally starts laughing to make the joker uncomfortable. Losing the verbal battle, Joker takes Barbara to the roof by controlling her legs where he threatens to blow the city before criticizing Barbara’s relationship with the guy she’s dating. Joker wants the codes to the Batcave’s analog computers and Barbara reveals a hint, but says she doesn’t actually know the code. Feeling like he can break into it now. Joker plans to walk Barbara to the Batcave with him, but Barbara refusing to lose control of her body anymore drives a pole into her implant removing it. Though no longer able to walk, the joker can’t control her anymore. She then throws the pole at Joker as he tries to leave hitting him in the back. The issue ends with both of them lying on the ground bleeding from their backs.
Thoughts: This issue is deeply unsettling, thanks to the art and story content, but it works really well. Barbara and Joker spar physically and verbally and each have the upper hand of each other at different moments. Though Barbara has no control of her legs, she still takes control of the verbal argument, and ultimately, the issue also thrives from the direction the series seems to be setting up. As a Joker War tie-in this issue takes place after Batman #95, but that’s about the only tie-in element. Instead, the story does what any good tie-in does and uses the event to set up stakes and consequences for the event. It seems to me like Batgirl was cancelled for a potential Oracle comic and that sounds AMAZING. It’s too early to confirm, but without her implant, it looks like Oracle will fully be back soon.
Overall, Joker War is off to a great start. From Nightwing’s impending return to Barbara becoming Oracle again, it is clear that the story has real consequences and status quo upheavals. I can’t wait to see where the event will go!
What did you think of the Joker War stories?