By Koppy Mcfad
October 6, 2007 - 02:54
The origin of the newest Challenger from Beyond... the Jokester! Yes, you got that right. Kyle, Jason and Donna Troy arrive on a world where the counterparts of the DC superheroes are evil supervillains. But they are opposed by a nice-guy version of Batman's arch-foe. The creative team really pulls out all the stops to make the Jokester sympathetic. In fact, the "Crime Society" of the story are basically limited to cameos in this book. Instead, we see how suffering and heartbreak led a struggling comedian to resort to bizarre tricks to fight his world's version of Batman and Robin. We see the Jokester's achievements, hear about his dreams and watch as they are snatched away from him. The character is clearly just confused but not insane. Of course, in the effort to make him look good, the DC team never really explains what he does. Is the Jokester a rival criminal to the Crime Society or is he a superhero who rescues innocent people from the villains? The art does capture the subtlety of the characters so that every laugh or smile of the Jokester has something bittersweet underneath but it still doesn't tell us enough of why this skinny clown is even a threat to the evil version of the Justice League. This issue is clearly intended just to introduce a new member to the COUNTDOWN cast, one that we will remember and root for and who we will shed tears for when he inevitably gets killed off in FINAL CRISIS. Ah well. I give it a mere two and a half stars, if only because they could have done a better job integrating this story into the whole COUNTDOWN miniseries.