Joker #1  “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”

Joker #1 “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”

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Writer: Andy Kubert

Art by: Andy Clarke

Cover by: Chris Burnham

Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

Colorist: Blond

U.S. Price: $3.99


Here is a comic book review done by us over here at the “Secret Hideout”. We  hand picked titles from all over the Marvel and DC universes, they may not always be hot of the press but its what we got. We would like to hear what you think. Drop us a comment or leave a voice message and we will read it on our next podcast!


OVERVIEW:  In case you didn’t know we are in the middle of DC’s Villain’s Month. This September has been designated Villain’s Month, in where DC Comics release villain “one shot” books, that usually deal with the showcased villains back story. In a brilliant marketing stroke, DC has released most of these “one shot” books with “3D” lenticulated cover art. See a gallery of the covers here at Alien Cyborgs.

STORY: The Joker is crazy…but you knew that. Kubert pens a clever story about the Joker, one-half fractured childhood memories and one-half present day montage. It is interesting to see how “run-of-the-mill” child abuse coupled with a bad run of circumstances creates a “not-so-run-of-the-mill” psychotic killer.

Our story opens with some fractured childhood memories from the person who would one day become the “Clown Prince of Crime”. These memories shatter and give way to present day where we catch up with the Joker at a zoo in the middle of a very gruesome scene. When the Joker snaps out of his revery and comes to, we proceed to the matter at hand which is the “ape-napping” of a baby gorilla. The Joker then proceeds to raise the baby gorilla which he comically names “Jackanape” . The story then proceeds in a motage that shows the Joker training the young gorilla Jackanape on how to spread terror and mayhem. The Joker raises Jackanape as his own son…which in and of it’s self is a scary thought. The story wraps with Joker and “son” moving forward with the assassination attempt that Jackanape was “kid napped” and raised for.

Of course the story leaves us at a cliff hanger…but you already knew that.

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COVER ART: The cover art by Chris Burnham is better than good and has great depth and texture. The image is dynamic…not just because of the artwork itself but because of it’s “3D “quality. The cover art is a lenticulated print, meaning that the artwork was printed in a very techincal process of layering and offsetting the art and giving the effect of depth and motion. (See above, click on the image to see the desired effect)

ART: Artist Andy Clarke creates some pretty interesting inside art and illustrates the story deftly. The use of color and saturation to show the difference between present day and flash back is done well. Having said that, the art work was just middle of the road…that sounds like a bad thing but in this case its not. The art is “Knock you on your ass WOW” artwork nor does it look like fan art from a 15 yr old high school “drawer”. The art is sufficient, it is adaquete…it is good.

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COLLECITBILTY and RE-READIBILITY: The collectibily of this mag ranks pretty high due to its front cover even though it reeks of marketing fluff. I don’t know if the heads over at DC are marketing genius’ or are they just trying to get over on us by selling us pretty lack luster stories with very cool front covers. I was at Melrose Music and Comics in Hollywood just two days ago speaking to a random comic collector. He asked me what I thought of the books…these were my exact words: “…a lot of the stories are less than middle of the road but they were must haves because of the awesome covers.”

Lawrence over at P.Dots Comics and Collectibles in Pasadena told me that “…DC created only so many mags to create a supply and demand frenzy.”  Apperantly, the Harley cover jumped up to $40 on the day it came out…pure genius.

The re-readiblity factor ranks about a 4, I just had to reread the story to properly ingest and digest all the “little Joker” memories. I find it fancinating to see HOW the Joker was created, what does it take to create a homocidal maniac killer. (Other people I spoke to didnt give two shits about it…all they want is the Joker and do not care how he came about. really?! )

Final Thoughts: Soooo…the story is somewhat interesting because I am interested in the pathology of the Joker. The flash back memories were the best part of the story. Other than that, the story was bland and boring. The present day plot is mediocre at best. The COVER art is kick ass, it is the best part of the book. I don’t know why but I can’t get away from the feeling that this is just a marketing ploy to sell some books and to try and breathe life into the somewhat lack luster “New 52” line of books. Villians month books are a must have for collectors for the art and the hype.

It’s safe to say that the old addage is very fitting…you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover…

…but you already knew that.

~Jet Blaque


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