“Joker: Killer Smile” – Book Two
Review by Kendra Hale
Joker: Killer Smile #2 packs a punch. When we last left Dr. Ben Arnell he had a plan on how he could fix The Joker. Control was the name of the game, in terms of how he could do the job and keep everything separate from his family. If there’s one thing that’s proven in this issue and done brilliantly at that, it’s that that notion was never an option. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but warn of potential spoilers if you haven’t yet read the first book.
Table For One
Joker: Killer Smile #2 starts with Ben narrating us in beautifully. He discusses how two worlds exist, one that people treat as reality and the one that the minds of our Arkhamites frequent. He seems to be falling into the same pitfalls as all the Doctors that came before him. Those who analyze Joker, find themselves questioning just what reality is. What had seemed to be easy, with black and white with morals and ethics before, has now turned grey and cloudy.
Joker has found his way into Ben’s head and isn’t letting go, but not all is what it seems to be and all signs are pointing back at Ben and his fracturing mind. Arnell is finding out that he cannot trust what he sees, hears, or even dreams. His control is faltering and everything is spiralling out of control.
Joker: Killer Smile #2 is an amazing middle book when it comes to the narration and shock value alone. It had me on the edge of my seat, as I tried to piece everything together as an outsider looking in. Jeff Lemire has done an astounding job of setting the stage for the mental toll that poor Benjy suffers, and it’s played through wonderfully. Mixing the story with Andrea Sorrentino’s art takes it even further. There’s a scene in which Ben is having dinner with his wife and son which packs such a punch to the gut visually, which is only heightened by Jordie Bellaire’s colors.
The art in this book is just beautiful with the layers that they deliver. The story and point of view scenes are brought to life with both art and color expertly. The letters mix in flawlessly and truly Steve Wands shines, bringing it all together. It’s a lucid acid-trip dream that you just have to watch play out.
What Joker: Killer Smile brings in droves is suspense and twists. I ponder heavily what book three could bring to top this middle issue and, quite frankly, I’m giddy to find out. If this is the current level, seeing it topped will certainly be a feat worth waiting for… but it isn’t like we have a choice, right? Maddening.
This issue hits all the right notes and leaves us ready for so much more.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment