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The Joker Hardcover – November 4, 2008

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The Joker + Batman: The Killing Joke, Deluxe Edition + Batman: Year One
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401215815
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401215811
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Building on Heath Ledgers performance in The Dark Knight (although long before the movies debut), Azzarello creates a memorably cringe-worthy story. Rather than a natty Clown Prince of Crime, this Joker looks like a glam rocker gone to toxic seed. Newly released from Arkham Asylum, he begins disorganizing the criminal establishment of Gotham City. Although he claims to want power and money when he confronts Two Face and his peers, he really seems just to enjoy playing with people—shooting them, setting them on fire or skinning them alive. Accompanying him is Jonny Frost, a young thug who takes a long time to recognize the drawbacks of seeing a vicious sociopath as a role model. Like Jonny, however, readers may find that, horrifying as the Joker is, they cant take their eyes off him. Even Batman, when he inevitably enters the action, functions largely as the Jokers partner in a dance of death. Azzarello has learned how to create a menacing, morally ambivalent atmosphere in his years of scripting 100 Bullets, and Bermejos jagged, shadow-saturated art sustains the mood. The result is fascinating but extremely dark. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

Batman’s preeminent foe comes to the fore, and the Caped Crusader makes only a fleeting appearance at the end in this graphic novel scripted by hard-boiled crime-comics author Azzarello that sees the Crime Clown, newly released from Arkham Asylum, attempting to take Gotham City back from the underworld figures who have carved it up in his absence. The story is told from the perspective of a small-time hood who stumbles into being the Joker’s henchman. Azzarello’s Joker hews closely to Heath Ledger’s portrayal in the film The Dark Knight. He’s a genuine psychopath, whose unpredictability is his strongest weapon. Chillingly cruel and criminally insane, he still isn’t so outré that he couldn’t conceivably exist in a non-comic-book world. Two-Face, the Penguin, and the Riddler are here, too, similarly muted compared to their usual comic-book personae and active in the most squalid version of Gotham City ever put on paper or celluloid, a sleazy milieu that Lee Bermejo’s deliberately ugly artwork, aided by a muddily muted color scheme, well realizes. --Gordon Flagg

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Customer Reviews

I found the story very interesting for several reasons.
Xavier Zavala Heras
If you read this book you will never want to read any more books ever because it is so good that it will make everything else look like garbage.
Grace Sander
The characterization of The Joker is very similar to the one portrayed by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
F. Caruso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Poisoned Blade on February 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
JOKER is a chilling portrayal of everyone's favorite psychopath from the perspective of one of his henchmen. What makes this book interesting is that you get a fresh look at how the Joker operates behind the scenes.

The Story
The Joker is released from Arkham Asylum after he is declared sane and starts to take back Gotham City. He reunites with some of Gotham's more colorful characters and chaos ensues. This portrayal of the Joker is more realistic than some of the other books. He's a ruthless criminally insane drug addict who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

The Art
The art is creepy and unnerving to say the least. The characters are expressed well and have a more realistic and gritty look to them. There is some violence and disturbing gore.

The Dialogue
The dialogue is good and there are some good lines. As you are reading this, you really get an idea of what the Joker is like. At any point, he can flip out and kill just about anyone around him on a whim. It's really unnerving.

Not everyone will love this book. This is not a book about Batman trying to stop one of the Joker's Crazy Plots. It's not about Batman... it's not about Commisioner Gordon... it's not about Gotham City... it's not even really about the henchman... It's more of a behind the scenes psychological study of the Joker as he does what he does. Action fans will probably not be satisfied with the book and Batman fans will be wondering where the caped crusader was during all of this. If you want a high action Batman book, this is not for you. But if you ever wanted to see how the Joker operates and feel what it's like to be caught in the tangled web that he weaves, this is a must read.

Note: If you want a great Batman vs. The Joker story, read The Killing Joke.
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61 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Marina P on January 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was really eager to get this book when I ordered it, the synopsis said that I should expect the Joker wreaking havoc on Gotham along with Harley Quinn, Two Face, Killer Croc and the Penguin. And that's what I got, essentially, but it was delivered in a manner that I was not expecting. While the art was beautiful and plot not horrible- albeit lacking some of the complexity I was expecting from an 100+ page book- I was taken aback by the complete butchering of certain characters, specifically Harley Quinn. I don't even need to describe how she was in the book, the artist's own words puts it perfectly.

"Visually, I threw her in a vinyl outfit and made her look as much like a junkie as possible. Harley Quinn is like a stripper to me. I don't want to know her name, I don't want to hear about her life, and I sure as hell don't want her to talk. Just dance, baby..."

Personally, had I read this before buying the book, I would have thought twice about getting it. In addition to the usually energetic Harley being turned into a stoic crack whore, Killer Croc is a gangster with a penchant for hanging out in a slaughter house, the Penguin is a total pushover and the Riddler is a sixties dope head that shows up for no more than three to five pages. If that's not how you want to see some of your favorite characters, then this comic is not for you.

Also, if you're not interested in reading this story from the perspective of Jonny Frost, the uninteresting one dimensional lowlife who is more annoying than Holden Caufield, then don't pick this thing up. He's really what ruined the comic for me. I was so distracted by his rather irritating commentary, explaining things that I can deduct for myself.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Jon Repesh on November 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ever wonder what it would be like to be in the employ of the Joker? Job security would not be one of its selling points, nor would benefits like health and life insurance. Indeed it might be a good idea to purchase some beforehand. Just ask Jonny Frost, his new henchman. Brian Azzarello's much anticipated new Joker novel is seen and told through the eager yet anxious perspective of his new accomplice in crime, and no previous experience on the mean streets of Gotham is going to prepare him for the mayhem and madness that is to follow. This is a slightly different Joker than normal; more serious than silly, more reflective than refractive. He has just returned from yet another of his enforced sojourns in Arkham, this time released legally for a change, brutally back with a vengeance to reclaim lost turf, and heaven help anyone who gets in his way. Joining the party on various sides are Killer Croc, the Penguin, slightly reinvented incarnations of Harley Quinn and the Riddler, and the one unfortunate downside, an ineffectually depicted Harvey Dent. While this certainly is the Joker's story, it serves little purpose to portray other villains as weaker in order to make the Joker loom larger. As Batman can attest, you're only as imposing as your adversaries. All of the rogues have delightfully different visual looks, thanks to the imaginative illustrations of Lee Bermejo, whose work overall ranges from simply remarkable to occasionally awkward. As for Batman himself, he's only seen briefly at the very end, a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion that did appear a bit abrupt and condensed, but then again, this is more about portent and personalities than plot and practicalities. Comparisons to the creators fantastic Lex Luthor mini are natural and inevitable.Read more ›
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