The Joker #5
Written by Matthew Rosenberg, James Tynion IV, and Sam Johns
Art by Francesco Francavilla, Sweeney Boo
Letters by Tom Napolitano, Ariana Maher
The Rundown: James Gordon’s previous experience with the Joker is explored. The Row siblings each deal with situations involving Punchline’s influence.
The action takes place years ago. Captain Gordon stops a criminal using unusual means. Then, he promises to aid District Attorney Harvey on a dangerous assignment. Later, Gordon’s family life is touched on. Afterwards, a visit to Arkham involving the Joker causes Gordon great concern. This leads to a series of incidents that challenges Gordon’s character.
In the B story, Cullen Row meets with friends at an arcade. There he learns how much Punchline means to those around him. When he confronts his romantic partner, Cullen is left with a difficult decision. Meanwhile, Harper seeks advice from someone unexpected. Elsewhere, a Queen decides to hold a trial.
The Story: Rosenberg and Tynion craft a compelling narrative that explores Gordon’s relationship with the Joker. I am impressed by the nuanced level in which Gordon’s psyche is explored. This episode really shows how the Joker entraps his victims without ever lifting a finger. It also gives an insight into why Gordon behaves the way he does in the present time. I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this thrilling series.
I really enjoyed this entry into the series. I find Cullen interesting, and would like to hear more of his story. I also would like to see how his adventures will tie into his sister’s. When it comes to Harper, I am invested in her case work. I enjoy following her as she discovers more about Punchline and am looking forward to the next chapter in her journey.
The Art: The illustration in this issue is very well done. Francavilla uses a traditional art style with a color palate that changes with the scene and tone of the story. While Boo uses a modern and youthful art style highlighted by bright and bold color work. Each style captures the essence of the particular story and works to elicit an emotional response from the reader.