Review: Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #5

“It’s Not Funny Anymore” – Part Five
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Color Artists: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Review by Kendra Hale

Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #5 comes to us with flash and panache and is a true spectacle to behold.  With so many gifts, it’s almost sinful how much overwhelming indulgence readers get this month.

In the last issue, we waited, breath held as answers about the “real” Joker were given to us, gasping for the climax or paramount twist that awaited in just a short period of time. That said, I won’t be giving you a recap of last month’s chapter, as this issue comes with so much to sort through that I want to waste no time. While the covers are also extremely exquisite, I hunger for the main entree and I am hard to sate, so let’s begin.

A Robin And A Firefly Walk Into A Bar…

A flurry of happenings occur really quickly, as the scene opens in the abandoned “Old Clown House”. Some curious boys soon find themselves at the mercy of Jervis Tetch as well as the Gotham Joker, who finds himself dressed as Batman. Jervis tells Joker that the “real” Joker’s back in town. Meanwhile, Jason Todd’s getting that very same information from Firefly over in Chinatown. Nicely done.

Our Jokers finally face off against one another in a master class of one-upmanship. The banter turns deadly as fire surrounds them and all exits are closed off, with one of them in a cage. Jason makes his way to where they are but is stopped by Stephanie. Spoiler has a piece of advice for Jason but neither can ignore the chaos as the fire rages on. A massive revelation promises that there’s far more to what’s happening than anyone involved could have realized… or may even be able to cope with.

Ain’t It Funny?

Matthew Rosenberg has really outdone himself with the writing on Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #5. I love a book that can make me laugh and there was a moment when the Jokers face-off that caught me out of nowhere.  They’re having back-and-forth banter while one’s locked in a cage with the other on the outside. The fire’s started and the Joker outside the cage realizes that he can’t get out without the key for the locks on the door. He tries to threaten his doppelganger and the whips out a small pistol… which operates in true Joker fashion.

What follows is a genuine moment of lunacy that made such sense to me, in the moment. This creative team, between writing and art, has achieved absolute brilliance with this series. It was that gag, however, mixed back in with the signature Joker mentality, that really sold this book for me. It was the utter essence of what makes the Joker so unique as a character.

Conclusion

This issue gives a literal buffet of the perfect choices when it comes to the choice of covers available. From art by Lee Bermejo, Simone Di Meo, Clay Mann with Tomeu Morey, and Jeff Spokes, to an amazing twist in a compelling story. We even get dessert with an added short, “Big Bad Problems”, written by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Francesco Francavilla and lettering by Tom Napolitano. I admit to a fondness for these extra bites that have a zany flair. This one features Joker on another escapade of the heart, this time with his sights set on Giganta with a guest appearance by everyone’s denizen of hell!

This series has been wonderful and enthralling, firing on all cylinders. With all we saw unfold in Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #5, the next issue promises to be a nuke.

Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment


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