Comic Vine Review

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Batman: Joker's Daughter #1 - GolGotham Review

5

There has scarcely ever been a character more defined by its medium's own metaphor before this.

The Good

We got our first glimpse of Joker’s Daughter in the pages of Catwoman, but she didn’t really come into her own until an issue in Villain’s Month and it was...not well-received, to say the least. I won’t go over the whys and wherefores of it, there’s plenty to be found in that regard, but it was with no small trepidation that I approached this one-shot. I hadn’t read much by Marguerite Bennett, except for the most recent issue of Talon and that had been...fascinating, at the very least. Having now read it, I can safely say that we are seeing a writer with an incredible command over her characters. This is NOT the Joker’s Daughter from previous issues, this is a young woman in the grips of some of the most convincingly unpredictable, diabolical pop culture madness I’ve ever read in mainstream superheroing. This is a book that is dark and distubring, but not for simple shock value. In just one slightly oversized one-shot, we’re introduced to a truly bizarre, twisted villain and while she is, of course, derivative of the Joker, she manages to carve out (pun fully intended) her own path by not wanting to simply be a “female Joker,” but to kneel before the altar of the Joker and be his prophet. And, as one Arkham orderly comments on, perhaps something more, even, than that. We get glimpses and fragments of her backstory, but like the creature she idolizes, it’s hard to make out which, if any, are true and we finally get a look at her face pre-mask (or is it?) and it becomes extremely clear that her perceptions are, indeed, clouded by a fractured mind. Despite insistence that she’s only playing at madness, she seems to have mastered it by issue’s end.

The visuals from Meghan Hetrick, another creator I wasn’t familiar with, are an absolutely perfect companion to the writing. They were muddy, they were disgusting (don’t start reading this book over a meal, you will quickly lose any and all interest in it), they’re dark and indistinct when doing so enhances the horror of what’s going on, and, perhaps most importantly: they are consistent and filled the brim with stunning, stark, horrific imagery (the scene of Batman luring Joker’s Daughter to the site of her namesake’s grisly disappearance has an amazing visual motif as does the scene of her lamenting on a bridge. There are so many panels that have so much going on with them, and the close-ups on her are as expressive as they are gruesome. The colors, courtesy of Michelle Madsen, create an oppressive atmosphere that feels choking and claustrophobic, even in wide open settings. It feels like the entire thing takes place in the sewer she crawled out of, even when it’s not.

The Bad

The characters look stiff and overly-posed in several of the panels and the action tends to be on the stiff side. Batman, as little as he’s in the issue, in particular looks more like he’s mugging for an unseen camera than caught in a moment in time from panel-to-panel. There’s a scene involving the Dollmaker in which Duela mentions screaming, beating and carving her way to him and this, even for a Batman comic, seems like something of a stretch. That an insane teenager, even one with an impressive sickle-scepter, could intimidate her way to a supervillain who doesn’t want to be found stretches believability (and yes, I’m aware of the irony in the sentence I just wrote). A better way from her to him would have been he finding her, having heard about her night of murderous mayhem.

The Verdict

If this is the direction Joker’s Daughter is going to go, I say bring it on. It’s early in the year, but this is a candidate for Most Improved Character already and it’s going to have to be one HELLUVA turnaround for someone else if they’re going to overtake her. Ordinarily with characters like this, we get to HEAR about how dark and twisted they are, but they are rarely made so unglamorous as what we see here and, again, very little if any of it is done purely to shock. It is most definitely shocking, but it serves the narrative and, more importantly, it serves the character. In my introduction, I mentioned that this book seems defined by its protagonist’s own metaphor, and I mean it. This is a character seeking dark rebirth and not only achieving it within the narrative, but in the very IDEA of the character.

33 Comments
Posted by TheAcidSkull

Really? O_o

Posted by MrTummyTumms

Really? O_o

Yeah I was surprised by this too.

Edited by Master_Thief

Not to long ago the last review about the joker's daughter got 1 out of 5 saying that this character should of never of existed

Posted by Dud317

I passed on this based on Villians Month. Now I'm wishing I didn't.

Posted by G-Man

@master_thief: Marguerite is a great writer. This is good to hear.

Staff
Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

Thank God I read this, I haven't journeyed to my LCS yet. I was going to pass on this but this review has convinced me to check it out as I trust Cory's taste in comics.

Posted by Jphu8414

Interesting...

The Villains Month issue was definitely a dissapointment but this actually sounds good, I might pick it up

Edited by BR_Havoc

Huh I have mixed feelings on Bennett. Nothing I have read from her has wowed me and personally I thought lobo was the weakest villains month issue I read.

Posted by SupBatz

Was NOT expecting this. Looks like I'll actually be giving Joker's Daughter a fair chance.

Posted by iaconpoint

I'd have never looked twice at this issue until I saw the preview. Might check it out now.

Posted by Samuel_Simmons

@g_man yeah but she did a terrible job on batman annual 2, so I'd still be skeptical.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

I don't trust your reviews Undeadpool O_o

Posted by The Stegman

This just proves that there are no bad characters, just bad writers.

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Edited by LordoftheNorth

Sorry completely disagree she is still a crap character that should be retconed

Posted by batmannflash

wow.

do i have to read the villains month issue to read this?

Posted by Alertcircuit

I wanna get this now but I can't go to the LCS for a few days. Is this selling out at anyone's LCS's like the villains month was, or should I just wait to go pick the thing up?

Posted by lifeboy

Of coarse it is :)

Posted by monsterduc

Her Lobo sucked.

Edited by Child_Karl

0_o

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Posted by LyraFay

At least its nice to see a comic written and drawn by two women.

Edited by spacemanspiff85

I wasn't too crazy about this. She seems too one note to be, and definitely seems stronger and a better fighter than she has any right to be. I'm also so sick of Joker's face being around. There really shouldn't be anything to it anymore.

Posted by mak13131313

I'm glad I picked this up now. I almost didn't buy it but changed my mind as I was leaving the store. Now I just have to read it. Ha!

Edited by TheCupcakeAvenger

Between this and forgetting Green Lantern/Red Lanterns 28, looks like I'll be going to my LCS twice this week. Only wish I'd saw this review before. Never expected a positive review of this title.

Posted by mightyrearranger

Not a big fan of the character, but moving from Nocenti to any other writer should feel like a jump from 1 to 5 stars. :p

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Posted by Zereta

@samuel_simmons: You didn't like batman annual 2? I thought it was a fascinating new villain. Very different from what we've seen before

Posted by hamlet33

Her Villains Month sucked, but this was just awesome. The art, the writing.... the darkness. Definitely 5 Stars (THAT ENDING BTW)

Posted by BR_Havoc

Okay, so I just finished reading this book and do not understand this review at all. This book was a mess, The art was pretty, but the writing was very weak and Bennett relived so heavily on repeat narrative to make Joker's Daughter seem crazy but to me it just seemed lazy. It's about as creepy as an episode of supernatural and it tries far to hard shock readers with silly things like eating a rotting face or injecting pints of blood into one's neck.

The last three pages of the comic are the only reason to pick up the book and are the best written pages of the title but all and all it was a weak book. Maybe a 2 out of 5 certainly not a 5.

Posted by Samuel_Simmons

@zereta no not really, it was a good idea but it was poorly executed, definitely not on par with anything else from that title, annual 1 was sooooooooooo much better. So due to that, I think of Marguerite's writing skills as severely lacking.

Edited by Mxyzptlk_CV

Great issue! I loved it!! It made me forget the terrible villain's month issue even existed..

The characterization on this one is fantastic!!

an amazing (and very disturbing) comic by Marguerite Bennet

after reading this I will also be buying the Lois Lane one-shot from her!

Posted by Guerraa

Hmm, I thought the Lobo Villain's Month issue was awesome. It's the reason I've been picking up the current Supergirl issues to read more about this "real" Lobo. As far as her Batman Annual #2, it wasn't the strongest issue, but it was fairly decent in my opinion.

As for this Joker's Daughter One-shot, wow pretty darn good story. It proves that Nocenti sucks and shouldn't go anywhere near a Batman-related character again. The only part of the story I didn't like was her bullying of Dollmaker. Didn't seem very plausible to me. Then again you could argue that it shows how much of a bad-ass she is. Either way I can't wait to see what comes next!