Saturday, 1 July 2017

Batman: The Joker's Last Laugh Review (Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty)

The Joker’s Last Laugh is down there with the likes of Going Sane and Lovers and Madmen as one of the worst Joker books ever. 

Joker learns he has a fatal brain tumor and, without getting a second opinion or questioning the verdict in any way, decides that if he’s gonna die, he’s gonna take everyone else with him. He organises a prison break (no explanation for why he wasn’t in Arkham) and uses as many supervillains as possible to wreak chaos around the world. 

So much of this book is contrived garbage: Joker’s far too easy and glossed-over prison break, the number of villains who decide to join him for no reason, not to mention the effectiveness of so many Z-list supervillains and the ineffectiveness of first-tier superheroes. Superman, Martian Manhunter and Flash could’ve easily solved the various global problems Joker caused between them but then there wouldn’t be a book so they’re conveniently and hopelessly flailing the entire time instead. 

And speaking of characters acting out of character, why exactly is Harley running away from her beloved puddin’ who wants to knock her up now that he’s checking out? Usually she’s hounding him like cray but suddenly she doesn’t want anything to do with him - why... ? 

I guess this was a crossover storyline probably involving Nightwing’s title which is why there’s so much Dick Grayson here, but still Batman barely figures overall. You’d think Joker would want to take Batman with him over anyone else, right? Hmm, it feels like the writers don’t know jack about the Joker. 

Once the premise for all of this is revealed as irritatingly throwaway and brainless, a new motivation for Joker gets awkwardly shoehorned in at the end to give the semblance of some kind of arc. Suddenly the story becomes all about Joker wanting to kill Dick Grayson and Tim Drake like he did Jason Todd… because… he likes killing Robins…? So, so stupid. 

The artwork is horrible throughout, even the Marcos Martin issue which is disappointing because he usually draws amazing pages. Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty are hacks who wrote a pointless, horrendously overlong and totally boring book, completely doing a disservice to DC’s best villain (and arguably the best comics villain ever). I’d say it was a laughable effort but it’s just mirthlessly bad - stay well away!

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