Another great series run from DC Comics has been the Joker War storyline. With this arc, Joker managed to not only take over Gotham, but take Bruce’s fortune and Bat-toys. Joker seems to have finally won! My one issue with this storyline revolves around the speed they are telling it. What feels like a major event (as it crosses into other titles) instead will run only a few short issues. It feels like so many stories simply slip by untold. With The Joker Warzone 1 writers solve some of that problem
Joker Warzone 1 tells five different stories and does a great job not only plugging holes but setting the future. Two of the stories end with ‘coming in 2021’. The five stories revolve around Joker/Bane, The Fox family post Catwoman 25, Spoiler/Orphan, Poison Ivy and Clownhunter. Each story gives us some information we needed to help flesh out not only the character but Gotham’s state of being.
Joker Warzone 1 – Joker and Bane Have a Chat
Bane sits in Arkham Asylum, hooked up to a machine reminiscent of The Emperor’s get up in Rise of Skywalker. Apparently, the machine drains Bane of any residual Venom – slowly. We Listen to Bane’s mind as he watches and listens to the Arkham guards. He deducts all the happenings in Gotham as Joker wreaks his havoc by how the guards talk and act, but then someone comes to see him – JOKER.
Joker goes on one of his usual psychobabble rants, both taunting and insulting Bane as he goes. With the strong man bound to the machine where’s the harm? Not that Joker cares. Bane in his straight forward, no-BS, way tells Joker to get to the point. Joker turns mean and rants against Bane for how he handled the City of Bane events. (not gonna spoil it) Joker tells Bane he missed the perfect chance to break the Bat.
Joker then fades away. What an odd conversation. What does it mean? Are Bane and Joker destined for an epic confrontation? Well when the story ends ‘To be continued in 2021’ you can bet something is coming.
Joker Warzone 1 – The Fox Debate
The second story deals with Lucius Fox and his family just after the events of Catwoman 25. Selina rescued the Wayne fortune and sent it to the Fox family. Joker’s new girl, Punchline, drugged Lucius with a Joker serum. He still suffers from its effects, physically and mentally, so he is not who he used to be.
Catwoman just gave the Fox family the hard drive with all the financial info on it for the Wayne fortune, and now the family decides what to do with it. Sadly, Lucius no longer sides with Bruce. Only his son, Luke, thinks the money should be returned to Bruce. Lucius makes his own plans for the money, but then they are attacked by Joker’s men. How can the Fox family deal with them?
Simple really. Luke is a Batman! There is just one problem. After the clown are defeated, Lucius turns the gun on Bat-Luke. Lucius says he knows who Bat-Luke is because he designed the suit and orders him to leave. It feels more like Lucius knows the suit, not that its Luke inside.
There are some touching moments after this that I’ll let you enjoy, but this story begs one big question. What does it set up? Reportedly DC wants a black Batman and it will be a Fox. Is this new Batman Luke? Or will it be the alienated son, Tim? Curious….
Joker Warzone 1 – Time For the Kids
The next one may be the most inconsequential, but at the same time its story tells a great message. Spoiler and Orphan (Cassie Cain) take on someone called Hench Master. Hench Master claims to be the greatest henchman trainer in all of Gotham. The fight in and of itself is pretty bland, but the purpose behind the confrontation speaks volumes.
Spoiler and Orphan take on Hench Master for one reason. The Bat-signal atop the GCPD has been destroyed. Their goal is to simply find the replacement signal and return it to the Gotham’s night sky. If you stop and put yourself in a Gothamite’s shoes, think about what that signal would mean. As long as that signal shines, hope prowls the nights, taking on Gotham’s worst. Spoiler also talks about how important the signal is for Gotham’s crime fighters. It ends up being a neat little story.
Joker Warzone 1 – Poisoned Attitude
Poison Ivy has endured a lot in recent times. She died in Heroes in Crisis and then returned. She almost married Kiteman, but then chose Harley. The problem then became she and Harley fell out and their future is in question, and then on top of all that, she lost her Eden sanctuary.
Punchline sends a bunch of goons after her, and Ivy enjoys taking them out, burning them no less. Something inside her breaks. Ivy goes to a dark place and decides it’s her time to take revenge on Gotham City. This story too ends with ‘To be continued in 2021’, so get ready for Ivy to wreak some havoc in the new year. Will Harley be the key or the problem?
Joker Warzone 1 – The Boy in the Shadows
The final story involves a young man we need more of – Clownhunter. A character new to the streets of Gotham, we know nothing about him. He hunts the Joker’s crew and beats the tar out of them. We know he is young, but otherwise he remains a complete mystery. The way he fights is crude, street level brawling, but it’s effective…and fatal. The way he finishes the last of the Joker’s people in this story leaves no doubt – Clownhunter and Batman are on a collision course.
While I may have told you the events of these short stories, that does not mean you have experienced them. The writers do a great job using these stories to fill in the Joker War Gotham. If you like The Joker War, this series of stories must be read.