[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Viktor Kalachev
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Joker’s back—and he wants to turn Batman and Robin into a punchline once and for all! The original Clown Prince of Crime returns to stalk Neo-Gotham in part two of “The Final Joke”! Can you guess what happens when he encounters Barbara Gordon for the first time in decades? And when Robin gets caught on a video feed for the first time, no one’s more delighted than The Joker.
The Joker’s legacy has always been evident in the world of Batman Beyond. The Jokerz gang have patterned themselves after him and the Return of the Joker movie teased the possibility that the Joker returning. Unlike that story, this time the Joker is back for real.
The story makes overt connections with classic Joker stories. First, in a nod to The Killing Joke, with the Joker showing up at Barbara Gordon’s door and attempting to shoot her. However, this time Barbara is able to dodge the bullet, prompting the Joker to state, “Is it possible you’ve… Gasp!… Actually gotten faster in your old age?”
The other story alluded to is A Death In The Family. Both Bruce and the Joker are shown remembering what the Joker refers to his greatest moment ever: killing a Robin. The Joker then announces that it’s “time for the sequel!”
The Joker has clearly set his sights on Matt, who has barely started his career as the new Robin. Terry was angry with Bruce for making Matt into the new Robin, but if the Joker actually kills him that would drive a permanent wedge between the two Batmen.
It is also interesting that Dick Grayson, the original Robin, is against there being a new Robin. Generally, Dick has been supportive of his successors in the role, even after Jason’s death. Could there be some event in the intervening years that we don’t know about that sours Dick on the idea of Robin?
Also, I find it interesting that Dick makes a passing mention of “getting a bullet to the brain,” apparently referring to the incident that has him currently suffering from amnesia in Nightwing. It seems that at some point, Dick regains his memories by the time of Batman Beyond.
Although this threat to Matt makes for a great story, I hope that history doesn’t repeat itself, ending Matt’s tenure as Robin as soon as it began. There is still a lot of potential in the character that would be wasted if he met his end. Matt as Robin is as genius addition to the series. Plus his costume is schway! So let’s not have another dead Robin, DC.
I’m just loving this story. Terry finally faces the original Batman’s greatest foe, with his brother’s life on the line. This promises to be Terry’s greatest challenge yet.