After one of his bashful stunt, the Joker is stopped by Batman who beats him to a pulp in front of the Gotham police, Nightwing and Batgirl. Then, Batman forces medication down the Joker’s throat which miraculously cure him of his madness. The Joker, now sane, wants to make amend for his past and to stop Batman whom he perceives as a bigger threat and villain. Will Joker coerce the Gotham City police and municipal authorities successfully to help him stop Batman?
This was a great first issue that I neglected to read and pay attention to when it came out last year. It’s an intriguing premise and of course, an elseworld story as some of the setup are impossible in the main continuity. But don’t let this get in the way. A sane Joker is a good story, even though I do find Murphy too wordy.
Sean Murphy juxtaposes the differences and similarities long established between Batman and Joker to create the initial conflict that drives this story. He writes that Batman and Joker are a bad couple and reflections of one another. Hence, the conclusion that his Joker comes to is that it is Batman that is the real source of conflict in the relationship and the whole reason why there is a Joker. By making the Joke sane in this story, Murphy can explore this popular argument written and drawn countless times in Batman stories. If there is no Joker, or if is he sane, can there be a Batman?
The beauty of this story is that Murphy is responsible for all of the artwork too. One strength of Murphy is his ability to draw cars, particularly the Batmobile. As the creator of Johnny Bullet, I appreciate this skill. So there are many good shots of the Batmobile in the story doing crazy spins and moves that warm my interest in this aspect of the comic.
Murphy’s inks are strong. He plays up the Dark Knight aspect of the comic with a generous helping of inks. His Batman is very much like the Dark Knight of Frank Miller but interpreted with his own narrower and triangular design of faces.