Visit The Happiest Carnival On Earth: Detective Comics #1008

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

The Batman’s night begins as it often has: with a public announcement from the Joker. He’s taken over a Gotham carnival, and he’s rigged everyone inside the fairgrounds with bombs that release Joker gas if they don’t have fun. Naturally, this is a naked challenge to the Batman himself, and the Dark Knight would not be the man we know him to be if he didn’t answer that challenge. However, Batman must play the Joker’s sick game for as long as needed to discover how to save the carnival-goers.

Detective Comics #1008 cover by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, and Dave Baron
Detective Comics #1008 cover by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, and Dave Baron

Detective Comics #1008 gives us a one-off Joker issue in which the Clown Prince lures out the Caped Crusader for a night of fun and frolic at the Gotham carnival. Plus, it sees another return of The Man Who Laughs artist Doug Mahnke to render the chilling grin of the Joker once again!

This is, frankly, the kind of comic I live for. It’s a one-off story with a solid setup and payoff. It’s at times tense, funny, and thrilling. It pits its hero against one of his most well-known and fun villains. It’s the kind of thing superhero comics specialize in.

The Joker’s motivation for this one is pretty interesting too. He thinks everything will be coming to an end soon, as he has seen Lex Luthor’s plans and believes the Legion of Doom will soon accomplish its primary goal. As such, it ties into Justice League and Year of the Villain quite well too.

Of course, its Mr. Freeze epilogue does that too.

Detective Comics #1008 art by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Dave Baron, and letterer Rob Leigh
Detective Comics #1008 art by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Dave Baron, and letterer Rob Leigh

Doug Mahnke’s artwork is as astounding as ever. He gives an insane amount of detail to Joker, Batman, and the environment around them. The action beats have a nice flow to them and deliver a satisfying impact. Inker Jaime Mendoza brings impactful inking to the book. Dave Baron’s color art compliments Mahnke’s work that wavers between gloom and vibrant contrast. 

Detective Comics #1008 is a thoroughly enjoyable comic that finds Batman fighting the Joker once again. It’s a great one-off story with phenomenal artwork, and it earns a strong recommendation. Give this one a read.

Detective Comics #1008 comes to us from writer Peter J. Tomasi, artist Doug Mahnke, inker Jaime Mendoza, color artist Dave Baron, letterer Rob Leigh, cover artist Doug Mahnke with Jaime Mendoza and Dave Baron, and variant cover artist Bryan Hitch with Alex Sinclair.

Final Score: 9/10

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