Batman: Three Jokers #1 published by DC Comics/Black Label Written by Geoff Johns Art by Jason Fabok Colors by Brad Anderson Letters by Rob Leigh
30 years after Batman: The Killing Joke changed comics forever, Three Jokers reexamines the myth. Who, or what, the Joker is and what is at the heart of his eternal battle with Batman?
One night, 3 crimes occur and all of the evidence points to the Joker. Batman and the GCPD investigate how the Joker could commit them all at the same time. Meanwhile, Batman is not the only one hunting down the clown prince of crime, as the Joker has hurt many people along the way.
Three Jokers offers a second look at a mystery set up during the events of Rebirth, in 2016. As the story begins, we’re reminded of the Cape Crusader’s trauma, physical and emotional. Batman is not the only one who has been hurt by the Joker which is the driving force of this story. Who will find the Joker first?
Beginning the issue with a slow recap of who Batman is, this book can stand alone for new readers, while rewarding long time readers with familiar moments, long time not seen characters and memories of some of the more celebrated Batman moments. None of this takes away anything from the current goal of finding out who or why the Joker appears to be in different places. The book then kicks into high gear about a third of the way in. Johns not only partially answers the main question but shifts focus to the deeper mystery of why there are three Jokers, what are they planning and can they be stopped before it is too late. The story also addresses how different characters deal with the trauma the Joker has inflicted upon them and what happens when confronted with Joker once again.
Fabok and Anderson, long time collaborators on art and colors respectively. Fabok’s art is very specific, deliberate and controls the pacing of the story as much as the writing. Slower beats full of details that need to be carefully reviewed, and in contrast bigger panels full of action. The use of smaller panels helps the story to be more dynamic. Anderson’s coloring transports the reader through some of the flashbacks with more muted and almost monochromatic panels. In contrast the current events are filled with a more vibrant palette still representative of more serious Batman stories.
This first issue allows the reader to dive deep into the mythology. It is grittier and more violent in some places, which makes it very well suited for its place in the Black Label. This issue is successful in setting up what appears to be a book more focused on Batman being a detective and testing the Dark Knight mentally. There are big consequences as the issue comes to a close. Long time Batman readers rewarded with all sorts of references without alienating new readers.
The Three Jokers #1 invites readers to try to solve this mystery along with the team. Fabok’s art makes this book worth the wait. This book is now available wherever DC Comics are sold.
Maestro #1 published by MARVEL comics Written by Peter David Art by Germán Peralta & Dale Keown Colors by Jesus Aburoiv and Jason Keith Letters by VC’s Ariana Maher
In the Future Imperfect story, we were introduced to the far-future version of the Hulk known as Maestro — the master of what remains of the world. Maestro, out this week, will answer questions that have haunted Hulk fans for years — and inspire some new ones. How did the world fall and the Maestro rise? What happened to the world’s heroes in between? And where is the Hulk we know and love?
In this over-sized series premiere, we find the Hulk in the middle of a fight alongside the Avengers. The Hulk has managed to find balance in his life, raise his children and spend time with his family and friends.
All is not as it appears. Can the Hulk figure out what is real and what isn’t?
Long time Hulk writer, Peter David returns to finally reveal the secret origins of the Maestro Hulk. David captures the voice of Banner and Hulk working in symphony but also how it devolves into its own new version of the Hulk. At the same time, the world around this “imperfect future” is expanded upon to illustrate why events unfolded so differently in this dark timeline.
The art duties are split. Keown, who works on the more classically aesthetic pages of the story that provide a sensation reminiscent of the original comic. Keith’s colors pop from the page to provide a surreal look to Keown’s pages. The book then transitions to Peralta’s art where we arrive at a more realistic and updated style. This contrasts from the opening sequence, also providing a more updated look that has a feel of an homage. The character designs are unique to its setting and are fully updated to fit their environment.
Overall, this issue is a very strong introduction to the world. Although Hulk is full of rage and doubt, there is a calmness to the story that displays the balance the protagonist seeks out. The issue slightly falters at setting up a real long form mystery that could be told in a mini series.
Maestro #1 promises to answer all the questions about this imperfect world. This issue is available now in comic shops everywhere.
Seven Secrets #1 is a comic book published by BOOM! Studios, Written by Tom Taylor Art by Daniele Di Nicuolo Colors by Walter Biamonte & Katia Ranalli Letters by Ed Dukeshire
For centuries, the Order has trusted in Keepers and Holders to guard the Secrets in seven briefcases against all harm, but when their stronghold is attacked and the secrets put in peril, the entire Order must face their greatest fear — an enemy who knows too much and is willing to kill to get what he wants.
In the series premiere issue, we are dropped in the middle of the action as the Order is being attacked and we meet a Keeper and a Holder of one of the Seven Secrets, but there is more to their than just the action as we dive into their backstory to understand why this attack on the Order will change their lives and the secrets they are sworn to protect. The series is setting out to not only explore the Order but the members that have sworn to protect it.
Tom Taylor sets up a new world for the readers that is full of mysteries and possibilities for adventure. At the same time Taylor fleshes out the back story of the Keeper and Holder and how a mistake from the past will have lasting consequences. Also the introduction of the antagonist is subtle but deliberate. Taylor in a few pages fully fleshes out the main players in this story. The dialogue is humorous but it never takes away from the severity of the situation. Taylor’s writing manages to create distinct characters with very specific voices and this makes for some likable characters.
The story manages to engage and slowly relates the information as needed. There are two distinct timelines in this issue. The present in which the order is dealing with the ongoing attack. This part of the story is full action, quickly paced panels, big and bombastic scenes of explosions, fighting, shooting and conflict. In contrast the flashbacks are full of character moments. Quiet scenes that expand on the lives of the characters.
The art in the book is both stylized and dynamic. The characters are very well defined and stand out as individuals. The look of the book is very modern, this is portrayed by the bright color palette. The dynamism in the art maintains the fast pace form the above mentioned current timeline. The flashback sequences are more focused on establishing clear facial expressions and body language. There are many panels that use angles to emphasize the impending dread and severity of the situation.
Seven Secrets #1 excels in balancing world building and storytelling. This issue is available now in comic shops everywhere.