The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1 Review

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg

Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Arif Prianto, and Tom Napolitano

Publisher: DC Comics

Price:$4.99

Release Date: October 4th, 2022

Well, it doesn’t take long for the Joker to strike back! And after the events from the most recent Joker series, which took him to Texas and back, where does that leave the Clown Prince of Crime? Let’s dive into The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1 by Matthew Rosenberg and Carmine Di Giandomenico as these two contorted minds follow this brand new unconventional lark across the nation with a fan-favorite vigilante right on his heels.

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THE DISPATCH

Whether it is true or not, the opening parallel between horror and comedy was actually pretty fascinating. From the tears involved in both as well as the sanity incorporating the two genres, Rosenberg opens with quite a wild connection that made this reviewer intrigued to look up the similarities between the emotional state of both comedians and psychopaths.

Next, I loved the showdown between the Joker and the other big-time Batman Villains in Gotham. It seems more… realistic. Why would anyone take the Joker seriously? He’s a straight-up lunatic as opposed to Two-Face or Black Mask. Why would they want him in their city running wild? If anything, I always wondered why the other Rogues didn’t join up more with Batman to wrangle the Joker in. And that premise transpires a bit in this opener. Being a more logical guy, it just makes sense and was affirming to see as The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1 kicks off.

I mean think about how many people, good and bad, that the Joker has had to offend? How many victims would be out for revenge against him? How many survivors would want to kill him? How many families of his victims would want vengeance? And yet, we see very few (if any) stories about those people. Well, right there appears to be the angle Rosenberg is working within The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1 and it’s rather intriguing. Heck, it always seems the same with the Joker. But not this time which has certainly piqued my curiosity.

THE TWIST

However, it’s the reveal as The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1 comes to a close that fans will flock in droves. Granted, I had a feeling this reveal would happen at some point. Did I necessarily see it happening in this series? No. Yet the anticipation was certainly bubbling on the surface. And Rosenberg provides fans with that initial hook that should draw people into this series like government funding on a bad idea!

HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD

Ever since the Batman figured out that we had three Jokers and then Geoff Johns ran with that idea in his series Batman: Three Jokers, it’s been known that we at least have more than one. So who better to take down the Joker than… the Joker?! And this is what happens to be the big reveal as this issue wraps which most certainly hooks this reviewer. This however provides us with one rather large problem. This is a relatively gigantic concept. This is a big deal. Is Rosenberg ready to take the bridles on this and not mess it up? Is he ready to follow in Johns’ footsteps and continue this concept without trivializing it? Truthfully, I don’t know.

It’s not that I don’t think Rosenberg is a good writer and creator… because I do and I’ve really quite enjoyed his stuff for a long time now. However, some items are just better with the original creator and best to be left to them. For example, at Marvel Comics, I’ve enjoyed the return to the Maestro. Why? Well, because Peter David came back to his story. The original writer took back over the reins and commanded the ship.

Look at another example. Right now, Flashpoint Beyond has been a pretty huge success. And sure, it has Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan helping out as creators on it. Nevertheless, Geoff Johns is still on staff with the concept pioneering the charge. The two new additions get to work with the original creator, pick his brain, and develop alongside him in order to better pass the torch if you will. I feel like that would be a much more trusted option here as well if Johns could walk alongside Rosenberg and help when needed. Granted, who’s to say he’s not already? However, if he was I think he’d be in the credits.

ART

Readers should be prepared for a graphic issue as The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1 opens. Nonetheless, with Carmine Di Giandomenico’s style, it’s just not as realistic as some would prefer. Meaning, there is most certainly blood and violence on display. However, with his line work and design coming across as more cartoonish in nature, these graphic images seem a bit tamer than the average bear.

Frankly, the facial expressions and line work on the faces of characters in the issue were a bit too much. Character’s faces shouldn’t be that… busy. Plus, I wasn’t a huge fan of his Joker. Nevertheless, his work is still a thousand times better than most. And even though it provides a slightly cartoonish design, it most certainly doesn’t come across as childish. I personally just prefer a more smooth, clean, crisp, and realistic appearance is all.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1 opens with some pretty meta parallels as well as a strong opening narrative that should instantly hook Joker fans from Jump Street. Nevertheless, it’s the reveal as this inaugural installment ends that will drive fans back to this series for issue two. I, myself, am locked in and can’t wait for the next issue of The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing. I highly recommend fans give this comic a fair shake and load up on the speculation as the weeks leading up to issue two unfold. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!

9/10

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