By Nolan P. Smith
(Victorville)– The Joker is the villain of the moment right now. With the fantastic film starring Joaquin Phoenix, as well as a trove of comics on the stands, it is good to be funny right now. Do you know who else is on fire right now? Jeff Lemire. The writer who brought the world Black Hammer and the Black Hammer/ Justice League crossover among more. Bring the two together, add in the fantastic talents of Andrea Sorrentino and Jordie Bellaire, and you are in for one heck of a ride. Welcome to Joker: Killer Smile #1.
If the creative teams sounds familiar, they should. Lemire and Sorrentino teamed up on a historic run of Green Arrow, and now tackle the crown prince of crime in this DC Black Label book. Being Black Label, remember this is a mature readers book, with profanity and violence abound. The premise of this series is Dr. Ben Arnell is trying to cure the most incurable man in Gotham, the Joker. What we get is a look at just how powerful the madness of the Joker is, and what it can do to someone, even from a distance.
Lemire crafts a table that is eerie, suspenseful, and shocking to the end. Seeing how the Joker affects the good doctors’ life is quite the visual. Sorrentino nails the artwork and the moments here, giving us the ultimate payoff on the last page. It is a dangerous game Dr. Arnell is playing, and by the last page, we all realize he is losing spectacularly.
When I think of the Joker, I don’t just see the insanity. I see a methodical criminal mastermind, who’s plan might be gibberish to any sane person. But to him, it’s clear as day. That is what we are seeing in Killer Smile. Lemire, Sorrentino, and Bellaire have created the beginning of what could be an amazingly tragic series. I loved the build and pacing, the facial expressions, and children’s book ode, and I cannot wait to see what Dr. Arnell does next in defense to DC’s premier villain. Pick this up; it’s a hoot.