Review: Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #8

“It’s Not Funny Anymore” – Part Eight, and “No More Mr. Nice Guys”
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg 
Artists: Carmine Di Giandomenico and Francesco Francavilla
Color Artist: Romulo Fajardo Jr. 
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Review by Kendra Hale

Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #8 continues right where issue #7 left us, in L.A. with Kate Spencer trying to kill Joker.

This issue’s packed with the last vestiges of the story lines needed to move us in to the finale of this arc, so let’s unpack a bit and unwind! Be sure to check out the cover by Carmine Di Giandomenico as well as variants by Francesco Mattina, Ivan Tao, Clay Mann, and Tomeu Morey. Each of these provides a different feast of artistic treats for the eye.

Not Dead

We start under the streets of Gotham, with our Gotham Joker being watched over by Solomon Grundy. Grundy’s not the only one under the asphalt of Gotham though, and needs saving himself. After a tender moment on Grundy’s part, Joker resolves to solve the Killer Croc situation for the man-monster’s sake, by any means necessary.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Joker’s desperate to get out of the city, and away from Manhunter. In a moment of distraction, the tables turn, allowing Joker to get one up on Kate, but she shows more than determination to end his cycle of violence. Killer Moth has his own play to make against the L.A. Joker too, as he interrupts the pair for the better or worse himself. Even Jason Todd sees the light and we get a brief cameo from Batgirl herself.

All roads lead to Gotham, and we’re nearing the answers readers of this series have been debating. Which, if any, is the real Joker?

Can We Talk About This?

Matthew Rosenberg got his flowers from me last issue when it comes to his writing skill and being able to seamlessly create illusions. For Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #8 let me give all credit where it is due. The artwork done in this issue by Carmine Di Giandomenico and Romulo Fajardo Jr. grips you in so many ways. There are action scenes and then there are tender moments. My favorites for each show Kate beating the breaks out of L.A. Joker with a windshield, with each panel being the next word or phrase. For the tender, Solomon Grundy telling the Gotham Joker that in no way did he alert Killer Croc to Joker being there. The attention to detail and the expressions are brought to life by these creators and it’s beautiful to behold.

Our bonus story “No More Mr. Nice Guys” is also by Matthew Rosenberg, with art by Francesco Francavilla, and lettering by Tom Napolitano. It tells the story of Joker being tired of being looked down on by the “good guys”, so he creates a machine that can tell the difference between good and evil, and kills those that are good. However, the haven he expected isn’t the same as when the good guys were there, so he soon learns that grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It isn’t my favorite of the bonus stories we’ve had, but still has really fun moments, like the different captions on the news cast.

Conclusion

I’m really looking forward to seeing where this whirlwind story is leading. We already had a false meeting of two Jokers, but there’s something else bubbling under the surface and it’s high time the pieces came together. Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #8 gives us some of the closure we needed, though I doubt this is the last we see of Kate Spencer.

Next stop, Gotham City.

Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment

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