Joker #1 (Batman 23.1)
Written by Andy Kubert
Art by Andy Clarke
Colored by Blond.
Cover by Jason Fabok and Nathan Fairbairn
Published by DC Comics
Joker #1 is part of DC’s New 52. This comic is another great idea from DC focusing stories on some of the most intriguing villains in comics history. And when you think of psychos the first name in crazy is and always will be the Joker. Whether it be Jack Nicholson in that creepy beret, Heath Ledger as a clown faced nurse, or his amazing one-sided crowbar fight with the soon to be dead Robin, the Joker never ceases to deliver more crazy than that lady who screams at road signs.
Joker #1 gives one of those brief glimpses into the past of the man called Joker. It shows flashbacks of a young Joker being raised by his evil aunt Eunice. She’s not very nice to him. Bleach scrubbings and beat downs are on the menu. As well as a healthy side of mental cruelty. But family is family. As with most sane people this sense of family provides inspiration for our villain to start his own family. As with some insane people (and none come to mind) Joker decides his child should be a gorilla he kidnaps from a zoo. A lovely young ape named Jackanapes. Joker takes on the role of a father figure to the young Jackanapes. Correcting mistakes made by his terrible aunt on his own child rearing. He sends Jackanapes to school, and teaches him life skills such as arson, marksmanship, and the complicated art of bomb making. It plays out like an episode of Full House.
The art was masterfully subtle. The impossible task of giving a madman human emotion was captured expertly by Clarke. Seeing the Joker cast as a scared little boy as well as a nurturing father has got to be tougher to draw than smashing an acid filled pie into the Dark Knight’s face. Everyone knows pies are easy to draw. All in all, a great comic from beginning to end. It’s nice to see a Joker story that doesn’t have that Bat-eared freak screwing everything up for our hero.