DC Comics drops the second of three issues in a fantastically dark story. Three Jokers 2 is a Black Label DC title that tells the story of not one, not two but three Jokers. We have no idea which is the real Joker, just that they are out to seriously mess with Batman, Batgirl and Red Hood. Three Jokers 1 looked like it would be a three-part psycho drama where the Joker plays against the wrongs he inflicted on our heroes. He killed Jason, paralyzed Barbara and has menaced Batman for decades.

Three Jokers 2 picks up with ‘The Comedian” coming home to a wife and child for dinner. It seems normal enough, save the boy is scared of daddy Joker. Then “The Criminal” walks in and we see the whole thing was nothing more than mannequins. The Criminal is pissed that “The Clown” is dead at the hands of Red Hood. After a page of multiple, grotesque panels of the dead Joker, we switch to a crime scene. Batman, Gordon and Batgirl all show up at the latest killing.

Three Jokers 2 – Getting Past the Red Hood

Everything seems normal to this point, at least for a Black Label Batman book, but from here things take an interesting twist that really questions what this book is about. The book ceases to be about the criminals or even the Jokers to a point. The focus for the rest of the comic deals with Jason Todd. Batgirl rants and yells at Batman for sounding like he doesn’t care Jason just killed a Joker in cold blood. Batman comes off sounding extremely aloof and uncaring about said fact, and then there are the two Jokers. They actually have Jason and beat the tar out of him when they decide he won’t make a good replacement Joker.

Batman and Batgirl find some clues and track down his where-abouts as well as some Joker zombies. Did I mention there’s a pool of Joker zombies? After Batman and Batgirl wade through the zombie horde, the story becomes a psycho-analyzation of Jason Todd. While it muddies the waters on what the actual purpose of this title focuses on, it’s a brilliant showdown between Jason, Babs and Bruce. Bruce and Barbara may not agree on how to punish Jason, it’s Barbara that talks Jason down from his hateful ledge. The heart to heart they have is truly touching and character developing.

I really hope you are reading The Three Jokers. This series barely sits across the Black Label line, more for gore than anything, but the writing and what they do with the characters is brilliant so far. I can’t wait for the third and final issue!