Joker - Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo
Got to read this a little at work today, got a little buzzed off of some Whipped Cream Burnett's once I got home and then decided that I should finally write this after I finished preparing dinner.

I feel like also mentioning, somewhere and somehow, that I hate the emotional manipulation known as Mother's Day. Did you know that it was originally created to commemorate dead mothers, not turkey-necked old broads who don't understand how to buy house phones? Just mentioning it, because after getting off of work, I almost feel like flipping off my own mother.

Onto the actual review, or whatever, I have to say that this book was the cause of a mild argument between me and the mister. I believe, deep down to my core, that [b:Batman: The Killing Joke|96358|Batman The Killing Joke|Alan Moore||551787] is a scarier story and a much better Joker, all around. It is more than a little unfair to compare the two, however; they are two completely different Jokers from two completely different times, and it just happens to be a fact that Alan Moore's Joker is the best that has ever seen print. There was never any contest for the best Joker after Moore finished his - his gleeful, seemingly bi-polar Joker sincerely felt as though life was a joke and the insane means through which he tortured Commissioner Gordon in order to draw out Batman are a shock - in comparison to Azzarello's Joker, who tricks the psychiatrists of Arkham into letting him out and commences to turn the city inside out to regain his criminal empire.

This is the Joker, post Heath Ledger's complete and utter revamping of the character, and it is not without merit, but it makes me want to go watch The Dark Knight and see this role done with all of the background stuff out of view of the audience. The Joker is a bit too much in the light, which is exactly what made Ledger's Joker so compelling.

And that is simply the largest problem with this Joker; the POV of the story is that of the self-admittedly uninteresting Johnny Frost - a guy who basically falls into the role of the obsessed hand of the Joker just by being the guy who picked him up from the Arkham.

Despite the mainly uninteresting POV - and a rather profound lack of Batman - the book brings some gangster appeal and good old fashioned destructive anarchy to the Joker. The art style is grotesque and dark, playing a perfect stylistic opposite to The Killing Joke's cartoonish horrors.

Gritty, the audience is treated to the old Batman villains re-imagined to fit into a world of organized crime, with everyone taking part of the action. With every villain aware of him, Batman - who never appears until the very end - becomes a Godat, forever spoken of but only eventually actually appearing. In a sense, this book is a a view of the extreme of what would happen if the Joker were free to run around unimpeded - as though Batman happened to be on a vacation and left all of Gotham to do what it would without him.

Dark and quite serious while giggling maniacally the whole way through, The Joker is a great work of post The Dark Knight Batman fiction.