Joker, written by Brian Azzarello and art by Lee Bermejo, is perhaps one of the best graphic novel I have on my book shelf. While the Joker has been potrayed very differently throughout all these years in the comic books, from mass murderer to clown to being the dark void of insanity (he slices his tongue in Batman R.I.P), Brian Azzarello portrays him closer to the film (The Dark Knight) version played by Heath Ledger.
He even shares the same “Glasgow smile” as the movie version of the character. And like an extension to the movie, the graphic novel eschews typically outlandish comic book potrayals of villains such as Harvey “Two-Face” Dent, the Riddler, the Penguin, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc, and instead grounds them in reality as un-far fetched as ours.
The storyline though is still pretty much comic book fare, told through the eyes of an unwitting Joker henchman, Johnny Frost. Sent to pick up the Joker as he gets released from Arkham Asylum, Johnny is taken on a wild rollercoaster ride that isn’t about thinkin’ but it’s “all about doin’ “, with the Joker at the head of the pack.
Lee Bermejo’s art compliments the slant towards the movie, and it’s like reading to a storyboard to a Joker spin-off. In fact, this would have made a great spin-off if Heath Ledger wasn’t dead. If you are looking for a book featuring Batman, you didn’t get the joke…I’m mean the title of the book. The Caped Crusader does make an appearance however, at the end of the book, with Johnny Frost remarking that there’s no cure for the Joker, only a Batman.