Friday, April 3, 2009

Guest Review #1 : Joker (OGN) Review by Shawn

Below we have our first in a regular series of reviews written by guests of the Clever Name Blog. The series starts here with a writeup of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Joker Graphic Novel, reviewed by Shawn Robinson. Spoilers ahead! :

Joker (OGN)
Story by Brian Azzarello
Art by Lee Bermejo

The other day, I was looking through my bookcases and found JOKER by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. It had been sitting there unread for too long…not any more. Was it worth it? For me, yes.

Brian Azzarello has an uncanny ability to bring concepts and ideas down to a street level but in this case he brings the Joker right down into the gutter, and that’s a good thing. The Joker isn’t the "Clown Prince of Crime" with gag weapons and silly jokes, he’s an unpredictable psycopath with a really big smile.

Throughout his journey to reclaim Gotham as his own the Joker encounters plenty of noteworthy characters all brought to life with screaming realism. My personal favorite is Harley Quinn. She’s Jokers little fuckpuppet, just as certifiable and completely devoted, and she doesn’t speak a word through the whole book.

The story itself is told through the eyes of an underling named Jonny, who clearly doesn’t have a clue what he’s gotten himself into. It’s like an urban Greek tragedy played out in the world of super heroes. Yes, there are allusions to the film The Dark Knight, but that’s all they are, allusions. This is the Joker story that Azzarello wants to tell, so there are no ties to any kind of continuity. My only complaint was that the dialog gets a little muddy in places, but I suspect it is intentional, being that these are characters living in urban decay.

The question I had to ask myself was, would I read it again? Absolutely! It’s a fast read with interesting takes on well known characters and some genuine memorable moments. It’s not for everyone but it was just what I needed.


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