Featured Review: Batman: The Joker War Zone #1

Review: Batman: The Joker War Zone #1

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writers: James Tynion IV Sam Johns, Joshua Williamson, , John Ridley

Artists:  Guillem March, Ashley A. Woods, Olivier Coipel, James Stokoe, Darko Lafuente

Colors: Tomeu Morey, Hi-Fi, Matt Hollingsworth

Letters: Clayton Cowles, Gabrielle Downie, Deron Bennett

 

Reviewed by: Carl Bryan

 

Summary

“You will pay for what you did.  I’ll see to that!” – The Joker to Bane.

Gotham City is a battleground as The Joker takes over the Wayne fortune and wages a street war against the Dark Knight and his allies!

Enter the “war zone” with short stories featuring characters like Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Luke Fox and see how they’re fighting back in a city under siege!

Also, the brutal full debut of the mysterious new anti-hero known as Clownhunter!

 

Positives

A Serious House – This is literally the best Batman story I have read in some time that doesn’t include Batman.  A confrontation between Bane (locked in chains as well as having Venom slowly and painfully being extracted from his body) and Joker who is lecturing him on every minute detail of what he did wrong in his attempt to take over Gotham City.

Joker does a psychological number on Bane, which goes to show you that Joker doesn’t want anyone to ever eclipse the fact that he is number one on the Rogues Gallery – not the guy who physically broke the bat, but the one who places a mental strain on Batman all the time!

Well done, James Tynion IV!  Your writing is as powerful as Bane with venom in his veins!

John Ridley’s Family Ties puts the reader with boots on the ground as Lucius Fox deals with the aftermath of having the Joker’s Toxin working its way out of his body.  But his mind may never be the same.

That being said, his moral thermometer is at a cross roads over the money provided by Catwoman.  The Fox family is tight and its going to get tighter.

Hat’s off to Ridley for providing in the comic what should happen when one calls the police in.  Let’s hope all of the United States law enforcement simply read pages 22 and 23.

Joshua Williamson gives us a chance to catch our breath with a “lighter” tale entitled The Symbol.  Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown.  It turns out that the Spoiler and the Orphan are more than a match for the Hench Master.  I always wondered who vetted all the henchmen that work for the Rogues Gallery.  I guess he is the head of Human Resources in a twisted way!

Positives 2.0

Sam Johns’ Ashes of Eden is downright scary and a foreshadow of things to come in 2021 with Poison Ivy appearing to be at a crossroads in her relationship with Harley.  After all, Harley’s obsession with taking down Joker has left her latest love interest with a quandary that Ivy’s Eden has been burned down.

Ivy is none to happy with her plants being neglected.  This spark is going to have some ramifications.

James Tynion IV rounds things out with Clown Hunt, an interesting tale that gives a bit of background on the Clown Hunter.  That “no-kill rule” that Batman adheres to…yeah…this anti-hero hasn’t heard of that.  Looks like this kid has been watching a lot of Walking Dead with that baseball bat he welds.

Look for some really “busy” artistic endeavors in this one by James Stokoe.  His art relays elements you would see in the Umbrella Academy books.

Negatives

Not a negative if you like to have some background on the ramifications of what happens when the battles stop and the heroes and villains leave.  There is an aftermath and this comic delivers the stories that tell it!

Verdict

Again, James Tynion IV delivers a book end set that delivers, and the meat of the comic is also rich!  The first story between Joker and Bane is worth the price of admission, but pages 22-23 resonated with me.  Sometimes a comic world even in chaos is a better world.

 

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Carl Bryan

Doc B is a college physical education instructor that has coached numerous sports on the rec, club, and collegiate level. He has a wonderful wife, two awesome kids, and remembers when Kryptonite came in a lot of different forms. He also has learned not to utter "Mxyzptlk" backwards!