A different kind of story of the Clown Prince of Crime debuts on digital platforms.
The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox 1
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Pencils and Inks by Jesús Merino
Colors by Ulises Arreola
I had been convinced for a very long time that I was sick of the character of the Joker. He had been overused, I had argued, for most of the last decade, dating back to the start of the New 52, continuing through Rebirth and into the Infinite Frontier era. DC Comics once again promised the “last battle” between Batman and his archnemesis with the JOKER WAR story at the end of Rebirth, but we all know that’s a fib.
And while I continue to grow weary with the Joker in books like BATMAN/CATWOMAN, he now stars in two other books from the publisher that I find completely delightful. It’s entirely possible I’m just sick of the Joker when he’s pitted against Batman. The current ongoing series written by James Tynion IV, where former Commissioner James Gordon is hunting the murderous clown, has been a lot of fun so far. Now, we have this new digital-first title from Matthew Rosenberg and Jesús Merino.
The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox flips the script a little bit with a somewhat odd premise: the Gotham City Police Department has arrested ALL of Batman’s rogues gallery while they were all at the Joker’s home/hideout. Well, they have almost all of them, since one of them is now quite dead. And the only prisoner willing to talk to Gordon about what happened in the Joker.
This may be the most unreliable narrator of all time.
You can’t really be sure why Gordon and his detectives even bothered agreeing to letting the Joker in the interrogation room. He’s clearly messing with the cops. The cops know he’s clearly messing with him and yet they still persist in asking him questions about why everyone was gathered at him home and how one of them ended up dead. It certainly requires a little suspension of disbelief to accept the premise, but once you do, it’s a fun ride.
Much like watching Verbal Kint tell his story to Special Agent Kujan in The Usual Suspects, readers are being given clues to unravel the mystery as the digital-first series continues. Little by little, the facts of the case may become more clear. Or maybe the Joker is just going to Keyser Soze Commissioner Gordon before this is all said and done.
While you can buy the digital-first issues on Comixology now, the series is also free to read with a subscription to the DC Universe Infinite, along with the extra content for readers to piece together the mystery. Especially when it’s free, it’s worth a read.