We are just three issues into the Joker’s very first solo comic book in over four decades! The fact that it has taken so long for the Clown Prince of Crime to get his own series is amazing, considering how he has consistently remained one of the most recognizable comic book villains of all-time. So, what’s the consensus three issues in? Let’s find out as we take a look at The Joker Issue #3!
One Bad Day…
This one starts out with a bang, as Jim Gordon personally remembers his experience in one of the greatest and most controversial Joker storylines of all-time, “The Killing Joke.” Gordon recalls the embarrassment and humiliation as the Joker attempted to use Gordon to prove to Batman that “one bad day could turn even the most sane person in Gotham insane.” While remembering the events of that fateful night at Amusement Mile, Gordon compares the Joker to the Devil himself, as the insane villain tells Gordon he’s going mad.
This recollection of the accounts of that night provides one of the greatest revelations of just how strong a character Jim Gordon is and has always been. Gordon reveals how he never took the Joker seriously before that night and how it used to bother him that Batman prioritized criminals with gimmicks. Gordon admits that his viewpoint was changed that night, though he also indicates that the Joker’s plan ultimately failed. Gordon remained strong in the face of absolute torture because of two reasons. He needed to prove to both his daughter and to Batman that the Joker was wrong. He had to remain a rock for both of them. In this, he succeeded.
The story then picks back up in the present as Jim Gordon meets with Cressida of the Court of Owls at an airport. Gordon agrees to go to Belize with the full financial backing of the group, with the intention of killing the Joker after he allegedly blew up half of Arkham Asylum. Unbeknownst to Gordon, his daughter Barbara is keeping tabs on him, as well as the group backing his mission.
Old Fashioned Detective Work
While in the plane, Jim goes over the difficulty of profiling someone like the Joker in comparison to the average serial killer. He contends that serial killers are usually more specific in their actions. The murders they commit are usually direct statements that can be understood by those who spend enough time on the job. The Joker is far more complex, though, and is a criminal obsessed with the “performance” aspect of his misdeeds. Gordon believes that the Joker bides his time until the next big performance clicks in his twisted mind.
Gordon feels that using good old fashioned detective work and following his own gut instincts will provide a clearer picture of where the Joker is hiding. He spends time among the locals listening to the rumors of missing people. He learns of a mysterious private resort up in the mountains, which he decides to investigate. Gordon believes that the search for the Joker will be a long one, and that he may find clues from potential past hideouts. These clues will surely lead him to the Joker’s whereabouts.
As Jim knocks on the front door of the first resort on his list, he’s taken completely by surprise as the Joker answers and exclaims, “Jimbo! Is that really you?!” Gordon is shocked at the ease of discovering the Joker’s location so quickly, and after a moment of disbelief, he draws his gun. The Joker isn’t alone, though. A squad of heavily armed troops draw their weapons on Jim as the Joker taunts him.
Joker tells Gordon that he arrived just in time. He mentions the fact that someone blew up Arkham Asylum weeks ago. Jim tells the Joker that he knows that he was responsible, to which the Joker responds earnestly, “But… You see, that’s the darnedest thing, Jim. I didn’t.” Joker tells Gordon that someone wanted everyone to think he did it, and now everyone is out to try and kill him. Joker mentions that they’re already on their way up the hill as we see the new Bane and her men approaching. Joker tells Gordon to keep his gun drawn as the battle is about to begin.
Overall, this was a phenomenal read. The first four pages alone pull you right into the story, especially if you’ve read “The Killing Joke.” If not, this is a great opportunity to go back and read it. The pace slows down for a while after that, but the intricacy of this story is great. The importance of Jim Gordon’s character to the extended Batman universe is showcased in a fantastic way. Readers can look forward to an action-packed next issue that hopefully includes more interaction between Jim Gordon and the Joker.