You’ve probably heard the rhetoric before. “If you only read one comic book this year/decade/your entire life, you must read so and so.” This type of hyperbole can easily be dismissed as a bunch of baloney. I can honestly say that Three Jokers by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, and Rob Leigh is a comic you really really should read. Even if you just think “Batman is okay,” this is a comic that cannot be missed.
What exactly is going on in this series? You can read the background information for the story here. Basically the story started back in 2016 with Batman discovering the fact that there might be three different Jokers running around instead of there being only one Clown Prince of Crime.
When I first heard of the idea of there potentially being three different Jokers, I was a little concerned but also very intrigued. This is an idea that could easily explode in a writer’s face if not handled properly. With Geoff Johns delivering the story, there was the immediate reassurance that it could be pulled off.
The more you think about it, the more it made sense. We’ve often seen Joker behave differently from one appearance to the next. It could easily be explained as just being part of Joker’s fragile or complex mental state. Then again, maybe he’s seemed different because he flat out was a different person.
Three Jokers may not necessarily address that aspect, but it’s a great solution for comic readers hung up on silly little details.
As for the actual first issue, there is obviously a desire to discuss all of the fascinating events that unfold. This is a story that should be read and digested individually so obviously we must avoid major spoilers.
Johns and Fabok do a fantastic job starting the story. We drop in on Batman returning to the Batcave after a bloody encounter with one of his enemies. We usually see Batman as an unstoppable force who is always prepared with the knowledge to defeat his enemies. We don’t often think about the scars he’s acquired over the years from his different foes. They’re not all necessarily physical ones.
The story also cuts to the physical and emotional scars Barbara Gordon and Jason Todd have a received courtesy of the Joker. It’s the perfect way to bring the three characters together in this strange moment in Gotham City.
What is so strange about this time in Gotham?
One thing we have to get right down to is the fact that, yes, there are indeed three different Jokers in this issue. There’s not an easy way around that. Joker(s) have seemingly decided to push the idea of there being more than one by the acts they commit all at the same time in visible ways. You can’t help but wonder why is this happening now?
It’s pretty creepy when we see two different Jokers on the same page. You can’t help but be filled with thoughts of how is this possible or who is the boss amongst the three? When we finally see all three in the same room on the same page, I honestly got a sick feeling in my stomach. I can’t remember the last time a comic has had that affect on me without being some depiction of a violent or disgusting incident.
Because this is the first issue, we won’t get all the answers right away. You’ll find yourself hanging onto every word each says while trying to distinguish and sort out the differences in detail they may have. They do a superb job of showing us how they could each claim the role in a caper against Batman. They even know how to push the heroes buttons. The words said to Jason, in particular, are pretty brutal. This is a great opportunity to find out whether or not there are any lines the heroes may or may not cross.
With each page and each panel, Fabok and Anderson deliver what may be their best work yet. This could easily be the most important Batman (or Joker, Batgirl, or Jason Todd) story we’ve ever had. The art and color fully enhances the story. Fabok and Anderso create the quintessential vibe needed to fully compliment and bring life to Johns script.
Batman: Three Jokers is the Batman story all fans of the Dark Knight must read. This changes everything we’ve ever known or thought of about the Joker. Obviously the idea could still be explained away with comic book logic, but that’s not something Johns would do. There is a huge amount of substance here that makes this so much more than a crazy comic book “stunt” used to shock readers and sell issues. We are guaranteed to find out a lot about Batman, Joker, Barbara Gordon, and Jason Todd. We possibly even find out an interesting fact about the passenger seat of the various Batmobiles over the years.
Do not miss out on this book! From the bottom of my comic-loving heart, you really must read this.