END LEAGUE #5
What did the
Have you ever notice that there just aren’t many clowns in comics? I mean, there’s That One, and the Gacy Jr. biopic that Vertigo’s sure to put out next quarter. Other then that, there’s not much to choose from.
It’s symptomatic, I think, of quality of Joker stories past. There has been so many modern and classic Masters who’ve written His Definitive Story. All the nuance, the angles, the layers to that sort of manic funny-man-murder have been thoroughly explored and its a near-impossible task to create a similar beast. Who would dare? Remender, I guess, and so far there’s just not much to seperate him from any of the recent Joker incarnations, save a lack of layering and history. It’s why the middle third of this book just didn’t work for me.
I didn’t even bother reading it first pass through. I scanned two lines, got it’s thematic gist and picture-read until the next scene. The second read-through I forced myself to read. Lots of dialog styled after Bruce Timm/Animated Batman’s era Joker, giggling through macabre puns. I swear there were a few moments just ripped directly from somewhere within Mask of the Phantasm (if “Welcome Now To the Future” had been playing somewhere off panel, we’d have our smoking gun). It was a lot of mirthful-filler that could’ve been encapsulated in two to three pages of really tight storytelling. I guess the page-count needed some padding, but it really hurt the ‘read’ of this book.
It’s still my pick of the week though, and it’s because of the strength of the beginning and end. It’s still really bloody well written, Remender gets enthusiastic thumbs up from me for this book – even when it doesn’t work, it’s passable compared to what else is on the stands this week. Cante’s art was fantastic (though his inks are so beautiful, I wish we could just get a black and white or monochrome book from him). And my gosh, I can’t wait to see what happens next week. Great ending, I have no idea who any of these characters are but I can identify and enjoy the archetypes well enough. It’s a strong ‘start,’ and I’m glad I started picking it up. Fingers crossed that Laughing Man will remain a passing distraction and won’t figure in majorly, unless there’s a drastically different tone or methodology in the works down the line. Either way, I’m sure those remaining Laughing Man issues will be salvageably awesome too.
Art: 4 - Very Good