Batman #143 is written by Chip Zdarsky and published by DC. Pencils are by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Andrea Sorrentino, inks by Sorrentino & Stefano Nesi and colours by Alejandro Sanchez & Dave Stewart. Letters are by Clayton Cowles. Main cover art (left) is by Camuncoli, Nesi and Tomeu Morey.
Batman #143 is available now, in print and in digital platforms where all good comics books are sold.
The terrifying tale of “The Joker Year One” continues as a mysterious figure from Batman’s past has come into Joker’s orbit, changing the Clown Prince of Crime forever! And what secrets does the re-formed Red Hood Gang have for Batman’s future?
After a tantalising first chapter “The Joker: Year One” is back for the of its three-parts. Remember that Batman is going weekly whilst this story unfolds so you don’t have long to wait for its thrilling conclusion. Last week left us with plenty of questions about what is really going on. Could Joker be giving us a reliable narrative? What’s going on in the future which has sent Batman back to recall the story Joker had given him?
Plenty more details are revealed this week in both timelines. Though there are no definite indications as to the validity of Joker’s story, it’s clear that the Clown Prince of Crime is leading Batman somewhere important. What’s also abundantly clear is just how neatly Chip Zdarsky has this arc planned. “The Joker: Year One” has taken root all the way back to Zdarsky’s Batman: The Knight and once again exemplifies a slow-burning, well plotted narrative.
We pick back up in the future timeline, once again exquisitely rendered by Andrea Sorrentino. A quick blast of exposition and we’re up to date on a cataclysmic event Joker has caused. Batman’s motives are all-of-a-sudden clear to us and his desperation has the context it needs to drive the rest of the story forwards. As with last week’s issue we dip back and forth between the two time periods. The future includes some incredible imagery which is certainly some of the most striking in comic books story. Two specific panels featuring Joker lurking in Gotham’s river are nothing short of iconic and equally disturbing. Sorrentino’s Joker is demonic at best and putrid at worst.
Our final trip to this decimated future takes some fascinating inspiration. It certainly seems that Sorrentino has based his Batman on Ben Affleck with plenty of panels looking like freeze frames from Batman v Superman. I hate to teeter on the edge of spoilers but I have to touch on his Catwoman. She has more than a passing resemblance to Michelle Pfeiffer. The artwork is surreal and yet at the same time incredibly life like. Honestly, it’s breathtaking.
The past is where Zdarsky’s plan really shows its mettle. Fans who haven’t read Batman: The Knight may take a little longer to acclimate. The return of a pivotal character from that story ties the histories of Joker and Batman together even more intrinsically than they already were. The push-and-pull between there two characters is something Zdarsky clearly enjoys exploring and those moments are some of this stories most compelling. Batman also returns to the story of Three Jokers once again with an unequivocal explanation for those characters’ existence. I’m not sure it may be the explanation with Geoff Johns had planned but it both makes sense and contextually fits perfectly with Zdarsky’s ongoing Batman storyline.
Giuseppe Camuncoli’s artwork continues to impress. Firstly in its ability to contrast with Sorrentino in setting apart the two timelines. But also in its versatility with managing the knife-edge twists in the story. Camuncoli evokes the sense of style for all of Zdarsky’s time on Batman giving it a more timeless, classic sensibility which again stands in contract to the bold style of Sorrentino. It’s not fair to compare the two as there’s no similarity. Both work perfectly in the context in which they are used here.
The second chapter of “Joker: Year One” opens up the story and really gets to grips with both its central characters. Once again led by two incredible artists, Chip Zdarsky’s attempt to explore the history of The Joker is blockbuster stuff.