BATMAN #144 Review

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“The Joker: Year One” wraps up in this week’s issue of BATMAN #144. Not with a bang. Not with a whimper. But with a smile.

In the past, Gordon continues his suspension, but infiltrates a traitor in the unit. The Joker takes clown a little more literally. Bruce Wayne has a party. And future Gotham reaches a resolution with The Joker’s latest threat.

Writer Chip Zdarsky provides an entertaining chapter in his 3-part Joker story here. As I’ve mentioned in my two previous issues, the bouncing between past and future is a real strength here, and he doesn’t do anything to contradict Batman’s history, The Joker’s history, or Gordon’s history. He zones in on the characterizations of these characters and leans into them. I was really happy with the pacing of this chapter (just like the previous two), and how the writer leaned less into The Joker’s internal thoughts. I think that’s a big mistake, and there was even less here than in previous issues.

Standing ovation for the duo art team of Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Sorrentino. Really good stuff, yet again, that has each artist lending their style to the timeline they’re covering. Camuncoli brings a lot of fun (in a bit of a dark way) to the past, while Sorrentino brings jaw-dropping images to the future. I don’t know how to describe certain panels/pages, but you’ll understand when I see it. It’s fantastic stuff.

For the record, I’d love a full story on this part of the issue. Zdarsky and Sorrentino telling a Joker story, in full. These were my favorite parts of each issue.

Overall, “The Joker: Year One” could have been a gag, but instead, it was a solid detour from the main BATMAN story. It provided some interesting antics, with excellent art, and didn’t contradict anything.

There’s a saying “Don’t be sad because it’s over; Smile because it happened.” Appropriate for this story. But the norm is returning because next month, we’re back to “Failsafe.” – Ryan Lower

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.