Red Hood

Suicide Squad: Get Joker / Comic Book Review

DC Black Label is an imprint of DC Comics comprised of miniseries that take place outside of the regular continuity. The books are printed in Prestige Format (a term coined by DC Comics that later came into wider use), which is a square bound comic book with higher quality paper and printing that uses card stock covers. I find that they are beautifully produced.

The first series produced under DC Black Label was Batman: Damned, which was written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by the legendary Lee Bermejo, and was nothing short of excellent. Some of the subsequent books published by Black Label have been, for me, varied in their success (Superman: Year One and Wonder Woman: Death Earth were only okay, while Batman: Last Knight on Earth was quite good, though oddly not printed in the Prestige Format). However, I am looking forward to Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons—it looks beautiful!

The latest publication from Black Label is Suicide Squad: Get Joker. In this iteration of the DC Universe, the antihero, Red Hood, is arrested and is serving time for his crimes. Amanda Waller recruits him to be part of the Task Force X, also known as the Suicide Squad, to track down the Joker and assassinate him. Joker has (finally) been branded as a domestic terrorist. Interestingly, the book mentions the January 6th insurrection. Wild Dog, who is part of this iteration of the Suicide Squad, notes that he is serving time for defecating “on the Speaker of The House’s desk.”

The first issue, written by Brian Azzarello, was an excellent set up for a story that will eventually pit Red Hood against the Joker, who once killed him when he was Robin (watch the below video from Variant Comics for an excellent explanation of this). I loved the artwork by Alex Maleev, who has worked on several Batman titles; his artwork has a classic execution with a modern sensibility (it looks good on paper, which is how I read it, as well as electronically).

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I absolutely recommend this title.

www.edwinroman.com

Recommended viewing:

Book Review: The Joker War Saga

The wisdom on social media lately is that Batman is on the brink of overexposure and that Joker is the most overused villain. I can see the validity in that point of view: consider how many actors have played these characters on film and DC comics has published quite an assortment of Batman stories in recent years (Batman Damned, Batman: Last Knight on Earth, Dark Nights: Metal). The fact is that Batman is an endlessly interesting character: I have read all of these stories and they are all superb, The Joker War Saga included.

The Joker War Saga sees the Joker seize control of Bruce Wayne’s vast fortune to launch a brutal attack against Batman, his crime fighting colleagues (Nightwing, Signal, Robin, Batwoman, etc.), and Gotham City. The Joker War Saga collects the full story from Batman #95-100, plus tie-in stories from Batgirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Detective Comics, and exclusive to this collection, the Batman: The Joker War Zone special.

Let’s start with the good.

The artwork: stirring, sublime, and superb. I have been a fan of Jorge Jimenez’s work since I was introduced to him when he worked on Earth 2: Society. His work is always wonderful, but since coming on to Batman, he has really created something truly special. Kudos also to the artwork of Kenneth Rocafort: for years I thought the only artist that could do Batwoman was justice was J.H. Williams III until I saw his work.

The new characters. I am eager to see more of Clownhunter. I would love to see him go on all out war against Joker. Punchline is also interesting, and I would love to see her mix it up with other members of the Batman family.

The story by James Tynion IV, is quite intense and engaging. Notably, the conclusion shows that if Batman is forced to choose between saving Joker and another individual, he will let Joker die showing that Batman is more important to Joker than Joker is to Batman. The story, of course, leaves the plot open for a return by the Joker.

Now, let’s get to the bad.

The worst thing about this book was the binding. There’s gutter loss on quite a few pages is so bad that it cuts out several words and key art, making it a very frustrating to read at times. Because of the artwork, I would normally recommend buying this in print, but because of the SLOPPY binding, I recommend you purchase this electronically. In spite of the binding, it is still a worthwhile read.

edwinroman.com