Writer Geoff Johns
Illustrator Jason Fabok
Color Artist Brad Anderson
Letterer Rob Leigh
Cover Fabok & Anderson
Barbara is furious with Jason. After killing one of the Jokers directly in front of her. She begs Bruce to take him down and bring him in. Bruce tells her that’s not the best course of action. not only could that lead to his unmasking, but her’s as well. This is more than upsetting to Barbara, but Bruce explains that the two of them recovered far differently from their mutual damage caused by the Joker.
While Babs had the love and support of everyone around her. Jason was thought to be dead then was buried six feet under in a casket. This sets the mood and also the dichotomy between the two members of the Batfamily. While both persevere through struggles. Both did so in very different ways. Babs never gave up hope, while Jason fully abandoned it and then proceeded to take that to his enemies in full force.
Elsewhere, Jason is doing just that. Putting his hands on every single Joker tattooed goon he can find for some shred of a clue. While they refuse to talk out of fear of what the joker will do to them. Jason’s mask is able to pick up the trace chemicals on their faces and send the data to the cave for results. This also pings Bruce to his location. Babs, and Bruce mobilizing to find him as soon as they can. Before he hurts more Joker victims.
Jason arrives at the scene long before Bruce and Babs. There he finds a pool of people the Jokers have tried to convert into the newest addition to their team. One of them wakes up and screams at Jason for help. Jason wigs out and kicks him in the face. Knocking him unconscious and back into the pool of chemicals. As this happens, the remaining two Jokers capture him and decide now is a good time to relive one of the classics. Stripped, afraid, and alone. The remaining clowns proceed to beat Jason with a crowbar, again. Shattering not only his peace of mind but also his helmet.
When Babs and Bruce find him, understandably his mental state is in absolute shambles. Having relived every moment of the worst part of his life. Once more questioning why these clowns are allowed to live. Resolving that he will kill them if he is given the opportunity. Only being calmed down by Babs hugging him and understanding. Jason is brought to safety in her house. Where he finds her wheelchair and the self-help books stacked high as a monument to Babs’ struggle through her own pain. Elsewhere, Joe Chill is kidnapped from Blackgate prison.
The grand finale of this mini-series awaits us. With Chill in the Jokers’ hands. The family has nothing left to do but mobilize on them. While they strategize in the Batcave. Jason snarks off to Bruce about him being too weak to kill these clowns himself. Understandably bitter towards his wayward father figure. Bruce finally loses it and puts his hands on Jason, telling him it’s now to to stop this. His bitter can be worked through later. Right now, it’s a liability. That’s when they get the word that Joe Chill has been kidnapped.
Investigating the kidnapping leads them to a particular movie theater near Crime Alley. With the marquis labeled An All New Joker. This is haunting in and of itself. Each of the three members enters the theater from different points of entry. To be immediately bombarded by jokerized ushers on both the top and bottom floors. Bruce left alone with the original Joker and a fun film starring the clown prince of crime and Joe Chill, where Joe confesses why he killed Bruce’s parents.
This was the wonderful and dramatic conclusion I was honestly hoping for. Geoff Johns has a very good track record when it comes to small scale stories. This one was no different. It really brought into perspective the lasting trauma that was left by these clowns on not only the Batfamily but Gotham itself. From the cops needing Bruce to really be able to do their jobs to every John Smith and Jane Doe having worked for the Joker at one time or another to makes ends meet. Last but certainly not least, the utter chaos that Joker truly has become over his almost a century of publications. Jason Fabok really bringing the grit with artwork that very much helps punctuate this story. This is a must-read for any Joker fan out there. Especially if you like refreshing twists on old tales.