By Tom Farr
Throughout Batman’s DC Comics history, The Joker has been the one villain to cause the Dark Knight the most grief. From murdering the second Robin (Jason Todd) to shooting and paralyzing Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, The Joker’s wave of terror has been consistently present in Gotham City. Strangely, however, The Joker’s personality hasn’t been consistent throughout history.
At times, he’s a murderous comedian, a crazy clown, or just a homicidal maniac. This is the premise behind Geoff John’s latest Batman story, Three Jokers, published by DC’s Black Label, with art by Jason Fabok.
In a single night, three heinous crimes are committed by the Joker at the same time. The Gotham City Police Department is baffled, as are the Dark Knight and Batgirl. Did the real Joker commit one of the crimes and copycats committed the other two? Could there are actually three Jokers, each taking on one of the personalities reflected in Joker stories of the past? Johns refers to these three Jokers as the Criminal, the Comedian, and the Clown.
More than one Joker the whole time?
Batman and Batgirl team up with Jason Todd’s Red Hood to solve the mystery of the three Jokers. This leads them on a journey of discovering that there may be more Jokers than they even realize. In fact, after two issues, it seems the original Joker may have somehow begun replicating himself long ago with a plan to overwhelm Gotham City with new Jokers.
The Joker’s Lasting Impact on Jason Todd and Barbara Gordon
Longtime Batman fans will enjoy the references to previous Batman stories, especially the exploration of Jason Todd’s death at the hands of the Joker and his return to the land of the living. Three Jokers implies that the Joker had a longer endgame in mind when he initially “killed” Jason Todd.
Plus, Three Jokers is an in-depth exploration of the effect the Joker has had on Jason Todd and his relationship with Batman. It also takes him in a new direction in his relationship with Batgirl. She also has to reflect on the Joker’s profound impact on her life after the events of The Killing Joke - the landmark Batman story in which the Joker shot her to try to break Jim Gordon.
A Closer Look at The Joker and Batman’s Origin
At the center of it all is Batman. The core event of Batman’s life is the murder of his parents, and that event seems to play a significant role in Three Jokers. In some iterations of the Batman story, the Joker himself is responsible for the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
This was the primary storyline of Tim Burton’s Batman film. In Three Jokers, the classic story of Joe Chill as a murderer is maintained, at least as far as we know. However, even that seems open for further discovery leaning into the upcoming third and final issue of the series.
Three Jokers is an impressive story so far on its own, but combined with the art by Jason Fabok, it truly stands out as one of the more groundbreaking Batman stories of recent years.
This isn’t surprising given its publication under Black Label, which seems to give writers and artists more freedom than with DC. Of course, the story could succeed or fail with the third and final issue that comes out on October 27.
For now, Three Jokers is a compelling story that takes a deep dive into some of the past's most iconic Batman stories.
All about nerd culture and the show.