Heroes and Villains: Three Jokers, DC Fandome and Voting Early and In-Person

I’m almost relieved that Bummer Summer 2020 is coming to a close but then I remember that it’s an election year here in the states and that the next several months are going to be utter hell. Remember back in June when we all solved racism by posting black squares on our various social media accounts? That was good times, wasn’t it?

Wait, we DIDN’T solve it and things keep getting worse? Well, then now would probably be a pretty good time to remember that we’re in a marathon and that lasting positive change isn’t going to happen overnight. I’m just as upset as the next leftist that Socialist Grandpa dropped out of the Democratic race months ago and I’m not overly thrilled with what we ended up with but I’m still going to get out and vote…and no, I’m not going to protest vote by writing in “Yeezus.”

Here’s this week’s PSA: A lot of states offer early in-person voting. This is important because we’re (still) in a pandemic and the USPS has been effectively crippled in a ham-fisted attempted to suppress voters who would rather vote by mail. Now would also be a good time to start researching candidates running for local offices and finding one who more closely represents your personal politics and maybe we’ll get more progressive choices in the future.

Hey, kids! Comics!

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Batman: Three Jokers
Geoff Johns (W)
Jason Fabok (A)
DC Comics / Black Label

It’s finally here!

Batman: Three Jokers is a comic five years in the making, believe it or not. As is always the case with comic books, there’s a ton of backstory that you probably don’t need to know going into this so I’ll do my best to sum it up. In the Justice League book, during an epic crossover event, Batman was granted the ability to have any question he could think of answered. So, of course, he asked what the Joker’s real name was.

The answer he received was that there were three.

Comics continuity is like herding cats, an almost impossible task. What Johns has put forth in Justice League and will now explore in Three Jokers is that there have always been three different men filling the role of the Clown Prince of Crime which will account for the various depictions of the character over the last eight decades.

Three Jokers starts off by presenting glimpses into the lives of three members of Bat-family who have been most affected by The Joker. Barbara Gordon/Batgirl who in The Killing Joke was shot and paralyzed by The Joker. Jason Todd/The Red Hood who in the 1988 Death in the Family storyline was actually KILLED by The Joker (since it’s comics he got better). Finally, Batman himself, who has been fighting The Joker for years without resolution.

This issue clocks in at 54 pages which feels just about the right length for the opening chapter. It’s clear that Johns and Fabok took their time when creating the series because nothing feels cramped or rushed and the story unfolds as naturally as it can.

DC’s Black Label books are designed to be a more mature and “continuity-lite” alternative to the regular monthly DC titles so if you haven’t read a Bat-book in a spell you should be able to pick this up with no problem. I’ll be shipping off a copy of the book to a pal of mine who is decidedly not a comic book reader so I’ll report back with how accessible they find the book to be.

Following the release of Doomsday Clock, Johns has clearly entered the “swing for the fences” stage of his career which can be pretty exciting for us readers. It’s a big book with a big story and I’m curious to see how it all plays out. Jason Fabok is also turning in some of the best work of his career, hands down (in particular, I really liked his design for Jason Todd’s Red Hood costume which blends in elements of the previous Red Hood costume and Robin’s costume).

If you’re able to steer clear of spoilers for this book, I recommend doing so since there’s a SHOCKING COMIC BOOK TWIST at the end that totally justifies the $7.99 cover price.

Far Beyond Fandome

The DC/AT&T/WB/AOL TIME-WARNER dog and pony show was this past weekend and I would say it generated a fair bit of hype. I didn’t attend the virtual event but I knew it was a thing since I was receiving texts throughout the day amounting to, “Did you see the trailer for….?”

We finally got a trailer for the fabled SNYDER CUT which was set to the most ponderous use of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” ever. I strongly dislike that this is being portrayed as a victory for the fans and not a strategic move by the parent company to get more people to subscribe to HBO MAXXXXX. I was also a little perturbed by comments that were made that this is going to be a Justice League “for adults.”

I’m reserving judgement on the Suicide Squad game since we only got a cinematic trailer and it’s not coming out until 2022. Gotham Knights looked promising based on the gameplay trailer that was debuted.

For me, the real star of the event was the trailer reveal of The Batman. I was legitimately surprised since the movie had only completed 25% of filming before production was halted due to COVID-19. Tonally, the footage shown looks like a hybrid of Burton’s gothic fantasy and Nolan’s gritty realism. I bring those two directors up because I consider them to be the cinematic high water marks for live-action Batman movies.

At the end of the day, the vast conglomerate that produces Batman movies isn’t going to leave anything to chance if it involves their golden goose. Tonally, it looks different than a Marvel movie…which is good. We wouldn’t be in this whole Snyder Cut mess now if WB hadn’t tried to do a reverse-Marvel and start off with their big team-up movie instead of earning it and working up to it over several films. Pattinson looks to be a good and brooding Bruce Wayne and an unhinged psychopath of a Batman. However, I may actually be more excited for Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon…that guy’s great!

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