Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Batman: Joker's Asylum Volume 2 Review (Landry Q. Walker, Clayton Henry)
Joker’s Asylum is an anthology of stories about Batman’s rogues told by Joker for no reason. This second volume has stories on the Mad Hatter, Harley Quinn, the Riddler, Killer Croc and Clayface, and most of them are pretty bad!
The Mad Hatter story explores Jervis Tetch’s weird Alice in Wonderland fantasies and would’ve probably been more impactful if I hadn’t already read Gregg Hurwitz’s New 52 The Dark Knight, Volume 3: Mad, which does an amazing job of exploring this character’s dark and disturbing pathology. The story here shows a troubled dude who’s genuinely creepy but the format makes it very truncated - check out Hurwitz’s comic for a surprisingly great story on the Mad Hatter of all characters!
Harley’s episode is yet another Valentine’s Day story where she wants to be with Mistah J - I’ve read three versions of this story in three different books and it’s never been good. The Clayface story is crap too - Clayface creates a cult of nutters for his corny movies. Boo!
The two decent stories was Riddler falling in love with a girl who wanted nothing to do with him and him trying to riddle his way into her affections; and Killer Croc acting as an enforcer to a pair of ambitious up-and-coming gangsters. Croc is especially effective given his dialogue is extremely limited making him more of a silent menacing figure, a role he is best suited to.
Maybe Joker’s Asylum is worth a look as a primer to readers unfamiliar with these characters but two ok stories out of five doesn’t really make it a must-read by anyone’s standards.