This review contains spoilers
To kick off “Villains Month” for the Batman ongoing, Andy Kubert (Who is mainly known as an artist) steps up to the plate to write this week’s Batman #23.1—a one-shot focusing on Joker, or rather his Ape companion Jackanapes. Kubert co-created Jackanapes with Grant Morrison back in Batman #666. Andy Clarke who you may remember from the backups in Batman #12 and Batman #0 provides the art for this issue.
This is a pretty good side story. It doesn’t exactly fit in anywhere in the current timeline, but it serves its purpose as a fun side story. The origins of The Joker have always been a gray zone and he is currently missing after the events of Death of the Family so it only other option is for this story to take place at an earlier point.
The story starts out on a fairly dark note, and maintains a mostly sinister tone throughout; there are some lighter moments spliced in.
Andy Clarke is a perfect artist for a book like this. He draws a very Brian Bolland-esque Joker and highlights all the creepy and silly moments in the book. As far as I know this is one of Andy Kubert’s first writing credits along with Damian: Son of Batman coming this fall, fitting seeing he has drawn both Jackanapes and Damian’s first appearances. I suppose Grant Morrison wasn’t available to write this issue, but Kubert was the next best choice.
This issue is a pointless addition to “Villains Month.” Joker is a primary villain of the DCU and leaving him out would be stupid. If they couldn’t do an origin story (Deadshot #1, Count Vertigo #1, Relic #1) or a tie-in to Forever Evil (Two-Face #1, Deadshot #1) what’s the point?
At the end of the story says the story will be potentially continued in a future Batman book. How? which one? All the batbooks seem to be on a straight course for the next couple of months. Maybe we might see The Joker return as hinted in Forever Evil. As it stands right now this book doesn’t serve much purpose.
Despite doing a good job writing, I would rather see Andy Kubert draw.
Sadly, Batman #23.1 is the book to skip this week. It features a decent story, but has no business being a part of “Villains Month.” Definitely skip this book if you only plan on reading “Forever Evil” tie-ins or origin stories.
Batman #23.1 is written by Andy Kubert with art by Andy Clarke. It is available in Print or Digitally for $2.99 USD, or with a 3D cover for $3.99 USD