Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review: 'The World According to The Joker'

That Joker. He sure does get a bad rap, even though more than a few Bat fans, such as your humble reviewer (that means me), find him more fascinating than the ostensible hero of Batman comics, films, TV shows, etc. Well, the Clown Prince of you-know-what is finally getting his chance to tell his side of the story with a little help from ghost-writer Matthew K. Manning (who has been a very busy boy lately). 

So what do we learn in The World According to The Joker? Well, we finally pin down the details of his childhood as the vengeful son of an abusive low-income dad. No, wait a minute. His parents were millionaires, and he was the product of upper-class neglect. Hmmm, maybe there are a few holes in his story. If nothing else, we can be clear that The Joker has nothing but contempt for peers such as The Penguin, Cat Woman, and Poison Ivy, and something approaching a crush on his caped and cowled arch-nemesis. Oh, Joker...you old softy! 

Since our narrator isn't exactly the reliable kind, we get some bonus insights from the shrinks who've tried to break through his emerald cranium. Dr. Harleen Quinzel actually isn't much help since she's apparently just as smitten with The Joker as he is with Batman. Come to think of it, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham isn't much help either, since he doubts basically everything Joker says but doesn't have much to say about what he thinks the real story is. So we're left with a lot of rambling and raving as Joker cracks jokes, unveils fashion statements he rejected before settling on his iconic purple zoot suit, and boasts about his own wonderful toys: his joker gas, Jokergyro, deadly squirting flowers and joy buzzers, etc.

So you don't feel cheated by the lack of answers about the Joker enigma, the kind publishers of The World According to The Joker have sneaked all kinds of detachable goodies into its colorful pages: a genuine Joker playing card, a poster for a comedy show he performed before becoming a criminal super genius, a "Humdinger Laughing Gas" recipe card, an ad for Joker Fish, a mini-poster of the book cover, and all those skeptical post-it notes from Dr. Arkham. A spinning wheel depicting different ways one might kill Robin, a Where's Waldo-style "spot the Robin" game", and a real, working full-length mirror (for very, very small people) are not detachable, but they're just as fun as all the other stuff in The Joker's world.

Get The World According to The Joker on Amazon.com here:

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