BATMAN #143 Review

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In last week’s review, I left out a key character from Bruce’s past that showed up, as to not spoil anything for anything reading the review but hadn’t read the issue. That key character is more prominent in this week’s BATMAN #143 and is a make-or-break for the issue.

Just as “Joker: Year One Part One” did last week, our middle chapter jumps between past and future, guiding us through Joker’s post-Ace accident, and this future threat of turning Gothamites into horrifying, smiling demons. James Gordon is prominent in the past, while Batman is (mostly) solo in the future.

Writer Chip Zdarsky continues to write an interesting story focused on the Clown Prince of Crime. The jumping between two different stories is a welcome storytelling device here, and I wonder how they will connect in the final issue. There isn’t as much internal focus on the Joker this time around, and I appreciate that. As I said in my last review, I don’t need to know what’s going on inside his head, as it takes away from the character’s effectiveness.

What we do get is the focus of this character mentioned above, and how he is “training” the Joker. This was a red flag for me at first, as this is perhaps a bigger mistake than the internal dialogue. By the issue’s end, there is an event between the two characters that is defining their storyline. Zdarsky, to me, sort of leads it up to the reader’s interpretation of tThe Joker’s motivation.

In other words, it’s multiple-choice. Which is The Joker.

I can copy and paste what I said last time about the art from the duo of Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Sorrentino. Every page is fantastic, and fitting to each setting the artist is assigned to. To me, Sorrentino gets the edge, as the future tale is a horror story and he is great at creating a horrific atmosphere. Yet again, no complaints about the art.

This middle chapter of “Joker: Year One” still has me in the middle of the road, putting even more pressure on next week’s finale. While the art continues to excel, the story itself has me cautiously anticipating where it’s going to land.

While I’m eager to see the finale, I’m in no rush to return to Failsafe. Oof.

GRADE: B

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Ryan Lower
Representing the Midwest, Ryan has been a BOF fan since 2003, and started contributing to the site in 2017. He is the host of “The Batman Book Club” podcast. Ryan has written reviews for comics, animated movies and TV series. He has also appeared on BOF podcasts and Social Hours for Batman discussions, reviews, and interviews. Thanks to BOF, he was able to meet and have a one-on-one discussion with his favorite artist, Lee Bermejo. Follow him on Twitter @lower_ryan.