[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
We meet Jeremy, a patient at Arkham Asylum set loose during Bane’s reign over Gotham City. He’s also a follower of the Joker, and the Clown Prince himself also escaped during the breakout. Jeremy trusts the Joker, so he continues following the Man Who Laughs through the city. Joker begins with slaying all the followers who played no part in his breakout, and, after a runin with the Condiment King, decides that he and Jeremy need to be this city’s new Batman and Robin. Jeremy continues following the Joker through this farce, and the two enact the Joker’s special version of justice throughout the city. Over time, Jeremy begins to see that he’s nothing like the Joker, and the Clown Prince doesn’t understand Jeremy’s mental illness despite pretending otherwise.
Year of the Villain: The Joker #1 views the Clown Prince of Crime through the lense of a follower who all-but worships him. Jeremy thinks the Joker understands him, as the Joker presents himself as an icon of embracing one’s own mental illnesses. Jeremy has suffered ridicule and abuse for his mental health issues all his life, and he thinks the Joker can help him live his life to the fullest.
It plays with the question often asked, “Why would anyone work for the Joker when he so often kills them?” Jeremy provides an answer, and he touches on the topical subject of why real people identify with the Joker. Of course, Jeremy also proves how destructive an idol the Joker can be.
Needless to say, director John Carpenter and Anthony Burch prove to be an interesting scribe for the Clown Prince.
Artist Philip Tan gives the book the gritty and ominous aesthetic the Joker and Carpenter deserve. Gotham City is even more foreboding and ominous than usual in this comic. The Joker’s trademark red lipstick is more disheveled and smeared in this issue too, which is a nice touch. Marc Deering, Danny Miki, and Jonathan Glapion’s inkwork adds more impact to the visuals, and color artist Jay David Ramos’ adds another layer of fear and terror with his palette.
Year of the Villain: Joker #1 lives up to the high expectations I had for this comic. The story is eerie, off-putting, and smart, the visuals are fantastic, and the Joker is as terrifying as ever. This one definitely earns a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Year of the Villain: Joker #1 comes to us from writers John Carpenter and Anthony Burch, artist Philip Tan, inkers Marc Deering, Danny Miki, and Jonathan Glapion, and color artist Jay David Ramos, letterer Gabriela Downie, and cover artist Philip Tan with Jay David Ramos.
Final Score: 8.5/10