Book Reviews

In Review: The Joker

The JokerThe Joker by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The Joker is one of my favorite villains. I would even say that he’s one of the best villains in all of literature. My favorite Joker was Heath Ledger’s portrayal and I was told that Brain Azzarello’s¬†The Joker told a story in the vein of Ledger’s Joker. So I had high expectations. Maybe that was my mistake because this was disappointing. Very disappointing.

There are a lot of villains who make an appearance in this story- Joker, the Penguin, Killer Croc, the Riddler, Harley Quinn, Two-Face. Wow! Doesn’t that sound exciting? Well it should be exciting. However, none of these great villains do anything particularly interesting. Everyone is actually quite one-dimensional and this, unfortunately, includes Joker himself.

The Joker performs gruesome murders and commits crimes. I have no problem with that, but his crimes are mostly senseless acts of violence. There is no attempt by Azzarello to demonstrate that Joker ever has a plan. Yes, I know the Joker is crazy, but I tend to think of him as somewhat of a criminal mastermind underneath his craziness. Azzarello’s Joker is just crazy (and really really angry).

The action sequences have little lead in or conclusion. Things happen in an instant and then are done. Batman appears briefly but the fight between Batman and Joker is, at best, anticlimactic.

The writing and dialogue failed to impress me. The artwork didn’t do it for me either. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t a style I enjoy. I prefer my art clean and crisp- almost the exact opposite of The Joker.

I don’t like¬†writing a book review without saying at least one positive thing, but I have nothing positive to say about <i>The Joker<i/> right now and to quote Walter Cronkite, “That’s the way it is.”


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