What’s Batman without the Joker? Why does Batman get to have Batmen all over the world, when Joker only has Gotham? Well, the end of Batman’s global monopoly is approaching. The Joker is here to disrupt his enterprise with the launch of Joker Incorporated! Australia gets a Joker! China gets a Joker! England gets a Joker! Australia gets a Joker! Argentina gets a Joker! France gets a Joker! Everyone gets a Joker!
CREATIVE TEAM & COMIC INFO
- Author: Ed Brisson
- Artist: John Timms
- Colorist: Rex Lokus
- Letterer: Clayton Cowles
- Publisher: DC Comics
- Genre: Action, Mystery, Psychological, Superhero
- Published Date: 05/09/2023
Revisiting the events that concluded issue 5, Ghost-Maker and El Gaucho visit Bat-Man of China in Shanghai to find out that Dr. Wu was killed and the new-on-scene criminal Alpaca kidnaped Skyspider. Leaving Bat-Man of China behind, they head off to Tokyo to confront Alpaca and rescue Skyspider. Meanwhile, Raven Red is at his father’s bedside, Man-Of-Bats, after being wounded by Bronco. Knight and Grey Wolf’s evening plans are interrupted by a notorious event in London, and Charles De Ghoul and the Cirque De La Mort confront Nightrunner. All roads lead back to Tokyo, where a familiar villain announces the debut of the newly formed Joker Incorporated.
Brisson starts the new arc of Joker Incorporated, a familiar setup. Almost formulaic to the first issue, we see the various members of Batman Incorporated in different parts of the world, investigating crimes and mysteries that initially seem isolated. Still, by the end of the issue, we see how it’s all connected. The main difference, besides the antagonist, is that the identity of the antagonists is not a mystery. There are other subtle differences between this storyline and issue 1: we see a bit more comedy here, and a budding romance starts to loom, among further details. But by and large, the nature of the story remains the same. It would be like having a Flash story where he no longer isn’t using the Speed Force (which I know has happened, but those are the exceptions, not the norm). But when you have an international team designed to address international incidents, you can’t stray away from that storyline too much. Brisson here is staying with the essence of Batman Incorporated by setting up that similar, circular plot with enough differences and opportunities to go in a different direction than the first arc, so there is a strong potential for issue 9 to move the angle forward in a way that makes it other than its predecessor. But it would have to be felt in the next issue to avoid the feeling that the story is repeating itself.
Timms’ artwork was missing from issues 6 and 7, so it’s good to see him behind the panels again. One of the great things about his artwork is his use of composition; there were some pages where he nailed it so well. For example, in one of the early pages, he focuses on Ghost-Maker making a sarcastic comment at the expense of Bat-Man of China, asking El Gaucho if he heard what Bat-Man said. His response was, “I heard. I was right here,” Timms made a point to have him positioned halfway off the panel to show how awkward that comically was for him and how he was simply being used as a rhetorical device and not being asked sincerely by Ghost-Maker. This level of framing and composition nails home that joke in a way that if El Gaucho were in the panel with just as much weight as Ghost-Maker, it wouldn’t have made as much of an impact.
The coloring by Lokus was well done, too. All of the characters were black and white, chromatic shades. Lokus found a way to make this interesting without using colors, relying on lighting and shading to highlight the details of what’s happening in the story. What was impressive was the scene with Nightrunner and Charles De Ghoul.
The setup in this issue is wildly exciting and leaves a lot of questions coming up for the next issue. As long as Brisson and Timms lead the story in a way that makes it very distinct and different from the previous arc, this story should be a success that will leave a lot of fans ecstatic.
- Writing - 9/10
- Storyline - 7.5/10
- Art - 9/10
- Color - 8.5/10
- Cover Art - 10/10
- Overall - 8.8/10
This review was originally written and published for Comic Watch on May 10th, 2023.