Comic Vine Review

34 Comments

Batman Annual #3 - Friends

4

What happens if the Joker decides he wants to be your friend?

The Good

Who doesn't love a good Joker story? The interesting thing about Joker in the New 52 is, we haven't really seen too many actual Joker stories. Some might feel that's a crazy statement but if you think about it, we only really had two main stories, Death of the Family and the current Endgame arc. Joker did appear in 2011's DETECTIVE COMICS #1 but then wasn't really seen until his return after his face was cut off. Despite having Endgame on the cover, this focuses more on just the Joker.

James Tynion IV has the task of delving into who Joker is and what he's capable of. Starting off 'five years ago,' we get some glimpses into Joker's activities over the years. When a reporter looks into uncovering more about the Joker, Joker forms a twisted attachment to him. You can imagine how something like that might go.

Tynion gets the chance to showcase Joker's brutal nature without making the story feel like it's going over the top. He manages to make Joker feel extremely frightening at a more psychological level. If you've read my past reviews, you know I enjoyed Death of the Family and I'm loving Endgame. It is also refreshing to be able to see Joker in a smaller setting. Seeing him go after someone other than Batman is pretty creepy.

I wasn't familiar with Roge Antonio's art before. He has an interesting style that gives us a mix of an angry yet playful Joker. It might sound like a weird combination but it works for Joker. It's interesting to see the flashback sequences and adventures over the year as the story builds. It makes you stop and think about all the other possible adventures we're simply not aware of. This is something we haven't really thought about since the New 52 began.

The Bad

There is a tiny bit leading up to Endgame towards the end. This is really just a pure Joker story instead of a firm connection to the current arc. Being labeled as part of Endgame could be a good or bad thing depending on whether or not readers want an annual tied to the event or not.

There were some moments the art left me wondering a little. It might be an editorial decision but the idea that Harley Quinn has been wearing her same current outfit for the past "five years" is a little unsettling. It would've been nice to see some variation and possibly even her original outfit used. There were also some instances when the colors felt too vibrant considering the tone was more on the dark side.

There is also the problems with a specific "five years ago" timeline. This has been bothersome to some readers since the New 52 started. It's a little confusing because now we're not entirely sure how many years have actually passed since the New 52 started. Are we to assume the opening with Joker took place during the same time Darkseid attacked in the first JUSTICE LEAGUE arc or is this now a year or two after those events? It's a minor concern but can be problematic if you allow yourself to think about it.

The Verdict

If you've been looking for some pure Joker wackiness without being tied to a huge story event, this is the issue for you. Despite being labeled as part of Endgame, it's really more of a self-contained story that slightly leads up Joker's current standing. James Tynion IV delivers some refreshing and twisted moments in Joker's life as we see what it means to be friends with him. The art by Roge Antonio gives us a nice different take on Joker over the years. If you've been wondering what Joker's been up to when not involved in a long battle against Batman, this is an issue you'll want to check out.

34 Comments

Avatar image for wardishy_
WarDishy_

1252

Forum Posts

447

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

I hate DC's timeline but get around it by basically pretending it doesn't exist. I don't care if they say it's five years, I'll decide how long ago I want it to be!

Avatar image for gmanfromheck
gmanfromheck

42524

Forum Posts

259238

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 472

User Lists: 2

@wardishy: From the beginning, it would've been better to just say "years ago." It might be silly to get worked up or concerned over but we are comic book readers. It's what we do.

Avatar image for boynerdgeek
Boynerdgeek

2733

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@g_man: yes, agree. It should be years ago not five years ago in Justice League issue 1

Avatar image for wardishy_
WarDishy_

1252

Forum Posts

447

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@g_man: Yup. Really, it's just best to ignore it. Most readers come up with their own "head-canon" after they've been reading for a while to decide which stories "matter" and which don't. If people don't like a story, or disagree with a timeline, they can just pretend it happened differently.

Avatar image for gmanfromheck
gmanfromheck

42524

Forum Posts

259238

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 472

User Lists: 2

@wardishy: It seemed the books started moving away from stating specific time periods. But again, this was a pretty cool look at the Joker away from a big event. That's what we should focus on here.

Avatar image for saren
Saren

27949

Forum Posts

213385

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 12

I liked it --- felt like a slow burn for nearly half the issue, but a pretty satisfying finish. It's nice to see someone take the Joker back to psychological warfare and away from apocalyptica for a bit. It's a self-contained story, but if you haven't been following Endgame you'll miss out on the impact of that last page.

Avatar image for obsidian_raindrop1
obsidian_raindrop1

490

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

Why is eight-teen issues such a dry spell for one character to be missing from comics?

Avatar image for madeinbangladesh
MadeinBangladesh

12494

Forum Posts

53

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 59

User Lists: 172

I don't know if I should read this or not....

Avatar image for sonofodin25
sonofodin25

107

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. I got a weird satisfaction out of seeing them as friends by the end. I hope we see this guy return. As for the timeline, let's just do what DC does and say fuck it. I just pretend these stories take place in pre-52 anyways.

Avatar image for abdullahzubair
AbdullahZubair

1039

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@g_man:

@g_man said:

@wardishy: From the beginning, it would've been better to just say "years ago." It might be silly to get worked up or concerned over but we are comic book readers. It's what we do.

You are definitely right!!! I think righting years ago or just saying earlier would actually build up the mystery of who when and where that are usually related to joker.

Avatar image for nightfang3
NightFang3

12390

Forum Posts

345934

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

Joker is perfect for psychological horror!

Avatar image for captainhoopla
CaptainHoopla

1974

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I enjoyed this story. A great look at just how much of a psychological terrorist/tormentor Joker is.

Avatar image for longbowhunter
longbowhunter

9425

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 1

Anyone else reminded of "Joker's Favor" episode of B:TAS? I thought this was a good stand alone story. Very appropriate for an annual, while still loosely tying into Endgame.

Avatar image for batmite1995
batmite1995

423

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Avatar image for the_average_bear
The Average Bear

2259

Forum Posts

1208

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

I loved this issue. I had absolutely no idea where it was going and it was so fun the entire way. This is more of the kind of the Joker story we need! Not some Pennywise crap

Avatar image for the_stegman
the_stegman

41144

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

the_stegman  Moderator

Waste of five bucks. I thought this was gonna actually tie in to Endgame, like how GL annual continued Godhead, but no, I get Joker, and some guy I don't care about.

Avatar image for knightsofdarkness2
Knightsofdarkness2

8155

Forum Posts

228

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

I agree about the New 52 timeline being confusing.

Avatar image for derf_jenkins
derf_jenkins

757

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This annual could have been written by Snyder and I may have felt better about it. I understand annuals are sometimes by another team. I also believe Scott wrote the first 2. I guess if I detach it from the current batman series it feels better. When I try to tie it with the rest of the series it feels out of place.

Avatar image for tdk_1997
TDK_1997

19574

Forum Posts

29191

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 153

User Lists: 13

This issue was brilliant. I can say that this is one of the best Batman issues since the start of the New 52. If anyone is wondering why, the answer is simple - it's great to see Joker back to his basics. Not being some kind of a god or something like that but being a person who relies on psychological attacks and he manages to ruin a person's life that way.

Avatar image for dotwilson
dotwilson

334

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Avatar image for sporedust
Sporedust

33

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

I wonder why nobody is mentioning that the Joker is Eric Border?

Avatar image for mak13131313
mak13131313

1601

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 7

This issue was awesome!

Avatar image for starbrand1
StarBrand1

661

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@sporedust:

becuase it has nothing to do with this annual.

Avatar image for mucklefluga
Mucklefluga

2653

Forum Posts

3678

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 5

That was a really, really good issue, legitimately frightening in some parts.

Avatar image for deactivated-57dd84d2af8d3
deactivated-57dd84d2af8d3

615

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This was a great issue and I love self-contained stories, especially since we haven't been getting them. Also, this clearly borrows from Joker's Favor which isn't a bad thing at all.

I do have a gripe and it's not just this story, it's any New 52 story with Harley, I hate her outfit. It doesn't look good at all and it's not in character. Her old jester get up is far superior to anything she has gotten recently.

Avatar image for captain_elburn
captain_elburn

31

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This issue is easily a 5/5. Very similar to Joker's Favor from Batman TAS.