Writer: Matthew Rosenberg and James Tynion IV
Art: Francesco Francavilla, Tom Napolitano, Guillem March, and Arif Prianto
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: December 14th, 2021
What happened after THE KILLING JOKE? What happened between the time THE JOKER crippled Barbara Gordon, destroyed Commissioner Gordon’s life, and now within the pages of THE JOKER? Well, that’s exactly what THE JOKER #10 by Matthew Rosenberg and James Tynion IV attempt to uncover this week. Let’s dive in and take a look!
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Ironically enough, if you haven’t been following along with THE JOKER to date, you can hop right into this issue and not skip a beat. The only items that would be truly beneficial to understand before reading would be knowledge of THE KILLING JOKE. Other than that, you can jump right into this issue. It’s almost as if it’s a standalone issue with the focus on James juggling his life after JOKER, his children, and his children’s sanity.
How does someone move on after experiencing something so disgusting and vile? Well if you’re Commissioner Gordon, you obsess and focus your attention and energy all on the individual who perpetrated these horrendous attacks on you and your family. You pride yourself on the one thing that kept you level-headed, which was your belief in Justice, the Law, and your job. However, THE JOKER #10 tries to deal with the thin line between that sense of Justice and what society deems as adequate enough time to “handle” these tragic events.
Some people need time to heal. Others need to hide in their work and gradually come to terms with the repercussions of what transpired. Now, anyone that knows Gordon must understand the drive for him to immediately get back to work. Nevertheless, everyone (including BATMAN) thinks he needs to take some time. Well, are they right? Possibly… you see throughout this mess and rehabilitation a young James Gordon Junior is basically thrown on his doorstep adding a litany of more problems for the Commissioner to deal with. So many problems in fact, that Gordon almost makes a huge mistake that he would never be able to take back.
Overall, THE JOKER #10 was pretty imaginative in the way Rosenberg and Tynion weave James Gordon Junior into the aftermath of THE KILLING JOKE as if he’s always been there. For those that forget, Junior was first introduced in BATMAN #407 by Frank Miller. However, it was Scott Snyder that first brought him into Prime Earth during the NEW 52. So, Rosenberg and Tynion have basically retconned Junior deeper into the Prime Earth landscape, which is rather fascinating, to say the least. And frankly, both writers do a perfect job of showcasing the onset reality of Junior’s future as a sociopath and psychopath.
Francesco Francavilla sets the tone well with the coloring and line work making the story appear retro and dated. It works and fits with the angle the writers wanted to portray within the narrative beats of the story. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the style. The illustrations lacked detail and definition. It was extremely dark in color and made it difficult to decipher at a variety of points. That said, it just didn’t work for me personally. I can, however, see the intent of the artist and understand how it works within the anecdote.
JOKER fans get little to no JOKER and a whole lot of James Gordon Junior. Moreover, fans also get a stickier backstory to a tragic character that’s been woven into the framework of the DCU since the NEW 52 whose always been wildly intriguing. I’ve always loved James Gordon Junior since Snyder’s take let him loose on the scene. This issue of THE JOKER just embeds the character deeper into the foundation of the Gotham/ Gordon/ BATMAN dynamic giving it more substances. Moreover, it shows fans that the signs pointing to James Gordon Junior’s issues have always been there adding more depth to the character. So, for those expecting THE JOKER, you’ll be sorely mistaken. However, if you’re a Jim Gordon fan and have always wanted more of a backstory with James Gordon Junior, you’ve come to the right place. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!