Monday, March 30, 2015

The Joker as Monster

Spoilers for Batman #39

It's been a while since I've written here so I thought I might return with a little commentary from Batman #39.  Specifically the efforts put forth by Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder.

Capullo's latest visual take on The Joker is in a word, "monstrous."  Don't get me wrong I like it and this new iteration of the returned The Joker is ably abetted by Scot Snyder's writing.

This Joker is not just an evil genius, he is a clear cut psychopath with a homicidal bent. 

This is different you're saying?

I guess it is because of the way Capullo is drawing him.  There is a bit more musculature to the Clown Prince of Crime and gone is the overly narrow skull with the extra long shock of green hair.

This Joker looks ready for the movies.

(Word is, Jared Leto who will portray The Joker in the "Suicide Six" movie out in 2016 is also packing on the muscle.)

Here is the typical artistic take on The Joker.  A lot more wild green hair.  The omnipresent purple suit.  The overwrought maniacal look on his face.  But most of all, the narrowness of the head especially as it leads towards the jawline.

Capullo's widening of the skull adds a certain aspect to The Joker that I think my subconscious translated into this...

Capullo's Joker has that "put together" look much like Frankenstein's monster.   In fact, it wasn't long ago that The Joker in the comics was reattaching his own face.

The parallels to the Capullo/Snyder Joker and the Frankenstein monster go further in that. 

The Monster was a creation of Victor Frankenstein and it has often been noted in the pages of comics and on the silver screen, The Joker claims to be a creation of Batman.

"You made me."

In Shelly's book, Victor and the Monster grappled to the ends of the earth.  In the comics, Batman and The Joker are fated to do battle in perpetuity.

A Monstrous Act.

I haven't this shocked by a panel since the big reveal in the Batman "Flashpoint" series.  Which, not surprisingly, also dealt with The Joker.

In Batman issue 39, The Joker gains access to the Batcave.  He is confronted by the heroic Alfred and for his trouble he is left without his right hand.

Monstrous indeed!

Alfred is pretty much an untouchable character.  He has taken his lumps time and again but nothing like this.  Will "Comic book rules" be invoked and the loss of limb be "ret-conned?"  The Convergence series is coming to DC comics.  Will the rewriting of time and space in the DC universe fix Alfred's lost hand?

I for one want to see Batman's reaction to this.  Will he react in kind, an "eye for an eye?"

Hopefully, we'll get a chance to see this.  Convergence looks like a major re-write and if it is, The Joker may become reacquainted with whatever limb Batman feels to lop off beforehand.

(No pun intended.)