The Joker 80th Anniversary Special #1
Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Gary Whitta, Greg Miller, Denny O’Neill, Peter J Tomasi, Paul Dini, Tom Taylor, Eduardo Medeiros, Rafael Albuquerque, Tony S Daniel and Brian Azzarello
Art by Jock, Mikel Janin, Dan Mora, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Simone Bianchi, Riley Rossmo, Eduardo Risso, Rafael Albuquerque, Tomeu Morey and Lee Bermejo
Inks by Joe Prado
Colors by David Baron, Jordie Bellaire, Ivan Plascencia and Marcelo Maiolo
Letters by Tom Napolitano, Clayton Cowles, Troy Peteri, Clem Robins, Rob Leigh, Deron Bennett, Carlos Managual and Jared K Fletcher
The Rundown: Writers and artists gather to celebrate the twisted legacy of Gotham City’s Clown Prince of Crime.
Scars – A psychiatrist with a theory about the Joker’s pathology does his best to treat the living victims of the Clown Prince of Crime. After relaying his theories about the nature of the fear Joker elicits, the doctor will experience the Joker’s world firsthand. A terrifying short story with an incredibly dark ending supplied by the masterful art of Jock.
What Comes at the End of A Joke – Punchline makes her first play at being the Joker’s new partner with the criminal looking on. As origin stories go, this was boring. I was hoping for something interesting both in the setup and execution, but everything in the story just gave me the impression that Punchline is not going to be anyone remotely interesting as a character. The dialogue came off as stiff and preachy. The art was great, but that was about it.
Kill the Batman – Batman is dead and his secret identity revealed to the world. As the city and heroes from all over mourn and gather to pay their respects, Joker walks among them with a plan for his greatest prank ever. Unfortunately, he begins to question whether or not his joke will be understood after he killed the only person he knew would get it. A fun, funny short that plays well into the dynamic between Batman and Joker. Great artwork punctuates the story right up until its awesome ending.
Introducing the Dove Corps – Joker has had enough of Gotham City and is looking for a change of scenery. After contacting some people he knows at the UN, he becomes a member of the elite Dove Corps and accompanies them on their mission to rescue hostages. After learning about their non-lethal mandate, Joker decides to be himself. The dialogue was good, but the story was predictable from start to finish.
The War Within – Joker finds that the best way to beat the Batman is to walk a mile in his boots. A beautifully paced and disturbing psychological thriller that showcases the mind of the Joker in a new and interesting way. The art is disturbing, haunting and amazing.
The Last Smile – Joker wakes up from a truly disturbing dream. A dream about his final moments and the final performance he will give to an audience of one. An audience who will have an unexpected reaction that truly haunts the Clown Prince of Crime. An entertaining and engaging story that becomes more interesting as the story shifts.
Birthday Bugs – A small boy is alone on his birthday when the Joker arrives to see the kid’s father. Seeing something of a kindred spirit in the kid, Joker decides to gather the neighbors for a party and send a message to his dad about crossing him. A truly disturbing story from start to finish with creepy art work to match.
No Heroes – A young man starting a new job becomes the target of the Joker when he inexplicably decides to be a hero and stop a robbery at the bank he works at. Joker decides to talk to the young man before giving him an interesting gift. A well done, engaging story that speaks to the unpredictable nature of the character.
Penance – An up and coming mob figure makes an enemy of the Joker and intends to lure him into a trap with something the criminal is after, but first he seeks absolution from his priest in a confession with a twist. A good story that showcases the fear Joker instills in everyone, including other criminals.
Two Fell Into the Hornet’s Nest – Joker is returned to Arkham Asylum where he is subjected to a series of mental and physical torture that could either be real or the product of his own twisted psyche. A disturbing story with even more disturbing visuals.