Hey guys, welcome back to Batmania Reviews, Jason Todd here with our third installment of Graphic Novel Mondays. Today’s review is an arc from the ongoing Batman Confidential series, which establishes some of the big first moments in Batman Mythos. The issue arc for those interested are issues #7 to 12, but this is also available in hardcover format, which I’ll be reviewing today. This story was written by Michael Green and features artwork by Dennis Cowan. So without further adieu, I present Batman: Lovers and Madmen.
Over time people have always debated the Joker’s origin, whether it was failed comedian, petty crook, or as shown in Alan Moore’s “ “The Killing Joke” (one of my personal favorites) a simple family man who had a bad day. Lovers and Madmen revamps the creation of the Joker as a simple man named Jack. A master criminal and thief, a man so good even The Batman himself can’t seem to track him. But Jack’s grown bored with his profession and his life, and is ready to give them both up, until he catches glimpse of The Caped Crusader. Seeing this man dressed like a Bat, is somewhat funny to our guy Jack. And he can’t wait to play with our hero.
Without giving away too much, this is one of the best Joker stories I’ve read in a while. Things are put into perspective, and loyal Bat-fans will notice a lot homage’s to future Batman stories, including how Joker got his Glasgow smile, what makes the Clown Prince of Crime tick, we see a young Dr. Crane, and even a certain blonde waitress named “Leeny” that’s currently attending college with hopes of becoming a psychiatrist.
This is without a doubt my favorite Joker origin. No disrespect to Alan Moore but in my eyes this is the Joker’s past. I’d always wondered why Joker was portrayed as such a frail, weak guy. If that’s possible would he really have caused Batman so much drama over the years? Here Joker is shown as a guy at the top of his skills, a guy who always has a plan and may even be smarter than Batman himself. And lets not forget Batman, the debut along with hatred of The Joker causes The Dark Knight to do something so out of character you won’t believe your eyes.
The artwork is very gritty, yet it adds to the story and compliments it nicely. So with that said I label this a must-read for all Batman fans and a definite must-read for all fans of the Harlequin of Hate, The Joker. I give Batman: Lovers and Madmen a solid 10/10 -Jason Todd
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