This week from DC Comics we watch as Gordon tries to pick up the pieces. In Joker 6 we get a mix of stories that I do not exactly follow. It kicks off with the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and then watches Jim spin his wheels as he tries to relocate Joker. He could really use a Bat right about now. I do not know that this issue really moves the story much, but it definitely puts several major cogs in motion.
The hillbillies from hell. I really do not see how they factor into all this, but that is one creepy way to start a comic. This isn’t even one of their Black Label titles. I think what this story does is add yet another frakked-up group to the ‘let’s hunt Joker’ party. If these freaks join the hunt, no doubt Gordon will be dealing with them sooner or later, and he seems to have his hands full enough with the local crime family in Paris.
Shadows of the Past
One thing I really do not understand. Jim Gordon was hired to go after Joker. Amongst the GCPD, Gordon shines as an exemplary leader, officer, and incorruptible force. His affinity for Batman is well documented, and he proved a solid detective during his tenure with the GCPD. What I do not get is why Cressida hires him to go after Joker? Gordon does not possess a reputation as a great martial artist or fighter. He solved cases, but when it came to events on the levels of Joker and the rest of Gotham’s super-villains, Gordon called on Batman. He did not handle the problem on his own. Gordon simply isn’t that caliber of a crime fighter, and yet he is supposed to outmaneuver Joker? Yeah right. The fact Gordon finds himself completely stuck and at a dead-end doesn’t really surprise me.
Gordon spends much of this issue lamenting his life choices. It drags on a bit too long, but it effectively demonstrates his mindset as an officer. The job came first, and his family suffered for it. We also get some pity-party mullings about not fitting into the aristocracy in the local hotel he’s holed up in. It reminds him too much of the parties he attended as Commissioner. He never fit in with these people and he knew they knew that. This doesn’t really move the story a whole lot, but it does demonstrate very well what happens when he finally snaps out of it and kicks it into high gear. He may not be great, but he surrounds himself with plenty of people who are.
Joker 6 – Calling in the Calvary
I love the high-visibility role Barbara plays in every major Gotham title right now. She flew under the radar for too long. Unfortunately, she also finds herself at a dead end as well. Announcing her return as Oracle made anyone with a computer triple their firewalls. She does pass along a couple of interesting tidbits that look to come into play down the road. The Hillbillies from hell have a son the Joker disfigured. He may be involved in this story shortly, but perhaps the bigger nugget that I think might come into play in one of the main Bat-titles (Detective comics or Batman) is the existence of a female version of Bane. Snippets keep dropping here and there about her existence, but this looks to be the first time the Bat-family knows about it. Simon Saint’s fingerprints could be all over this one.
Harvey Bullock. One of the less savory officers on the GCPD and occasionally on the wrong side of the law, but over the years he came to understand and support Gordon. Gordon reaches out to him to help be where he can not. Bullock’s questionable past also means he will go where others cannot and achieve things in ways others might not approve of.
But Jim needs to end the call early. It seems Interpol wants a word with him for the crimes Joker set him up for. Then on the final page of Gordon’s story, we get a magnificent shot. Joker stands tall, proud, and ready to wreck some civility no matter who gets in his way. Love this final shot, and the cane makes a great touch.
Joker 6 – What Was She Thinking?!
I have to be honest. I have no idea who Harper Row/Bluebird is, and I had to look her up. While she may belong with the Bat-family, which gives her some cred, she by no means rises to the level of a Bat-family mainstay. The punchline, on the other, hand garners immediate respect because she a) replaced Harley and b) it takes a special someone to gain Joker’s respect. Add the way she spun the post-Joker War fall-out and only a fool underestimates her.
Harper set her sights on taking Punchline down once and for all, but in Joker 6 she thinks she can do it on Punchline’s turf. Big mistake! She allows herself to be incarcerated and thinks she can take down Punchline in a prison system already turned to Punchline’s every whim. Not only does Punchline outmaneuver Harper, but verbally schools her and rubs her nose in it to boot. This leaves Harper running for her life, but inside a prison how far can she run? Even in her escape, Punchline is using Harper to take her directly where she wants to go.
The final pages show how schooled Punchline has most of the population as well. The title of their next chapter, “The Great Escape” leaves us wondering – does Harper get out? Or does Punchline do the escaping?