Review: The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox – Chapter 1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Jesus Merino
Letters: Ferran Delgado
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
The G.C.P.D. discover a mysterious corpse, a magical box, and a murderer’s row of the city’s most dangerous villains sitting in a jail cell. Now all they need to figure out is what exactly happened! Fortunately, one suspect is willing to talk.
Unfortunately, it’s The Joker. And he’s holding all the cards.
The Joker introduces seemingly unconnected stories of his fellow inmates. As the series progresses, it becomes apparent that each tale is actually a piece of The Joker’s larger plan.
Does an agent of chaos even make plans?
Matthew Rosenberg and Jesus Merino have created a puzzle…an old school, Rogues Gallery puzzle. Sometimes when these independent of timeline books come out, you have to come up for air from the current comics and suspend your comic reality. This is one of those books as you have to buy into how Joker thinks…or does he think at all?
A murder has been committed…i won’t spoil who was the victim, but we know them very well. Joker, out of all of the Batman’ villains, is the only one willing to talk to James Gordon. However, the conversation with he and Harvey Bullock is full of clues, twists and turns. The account of a birthday party thrown by everyone from Harley to The Mad Hatter is strange…especially given the party crashers and the dialogue. There’s a clue in there somewhere!
Rosenberg’s style works in this independent of current timeline story. With it being issue #1, I am unsure if the account we are getting is actual a figment of Joker’s mind or simply a story. That is the beauty in this tale. Merino has an old school style in drawing akin to Neal Adams. His renditions of each villain are a true historical testament and the expressions are superb!
Again, issue #1 wets your appetite as it sets up the mystery, the investigation, and the puzzle. Given that the Joker is the one running the show, there should be a lot of misdirection in this interrogation that should keep us guessing to the final issue of this limited series!
It would be terribly insulting of me to give away even one clue in this puzzle box. However, there are moments in the dialogue where you wonder why Joker uses particular terms or names. That in and of itself lends to being a clue…or does it? With issue 1, I am sure we’ll have to go back and forth between all of the eventual issues to really put this puzzle together. So for now, in the comment section, drop in your thoughts. Maybe we can solve this thing before Gordon does!
On the surface, I thought there were some oddities in comparison to the current timeline. Joker is currently being hunted by James Gordon who has been contracted to kill him. Bane is not his biggest fan either. So to have Joker in the same jail cell with Bane and EVERY OTHER ROGUE’S GALLERY MEMBER… this is strange.
But if you take this book out of the timeline, and buy into the fact that when the Joker is being interrogated, his mind is like nothing we have ever seen. – a puzzle box if you will. Again, this is an independent Joker story so suspend your consumption of the current timeline, sit back, and get out your Easter Egg basket…this thing is fraught with clues.
This Matthew Rosenberg adventure is not what it seems. When I read and re-read the comic, I think we will eventually see clues all in Joker’s accounts to James Gordon that point to the actual killer (if there is an actual murder). On the surface, when you read it, it is far fetched. But taken out of the context of the current timeline, this “puzzle” would be worth your time and energy to try to solve!