Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth return for issue number two of this alternate universe Batman tale, so how does it stack up?
The cover is a sort of reversal of issue one. We see Batman framed in white on top, and the Joker, kneeling at a Batman shrine at the bottom. We can see clearly from this that Joker’s fixation on Batman comes from a very unhealthy place, and that is explored in this issue. The cover looks good, and if you liked issue #1, you’ll like this one.
The art has stayed consistent from issue #1 to issue #2. It has a very noir-ish feel, but this issue, especially the last few pages, feels a little tighter and cleaner. The flashback scenes still look a little messier, perhaps as a reflection of Joker’s mental instability being out of control at that time. Regardless, I like the look of the book, especially the appearance of Jack Napier, Joker’s civilian alter ego. He is drawn with poise and charisma.
Issue # 2 continues the story begun in issue #1. Joker has dropped his super-villain name, returned to his civilian name of Jack Napier, and wants to undo the damage he and Batman have done over the years. He is the primary focus of the issue, as Bruce is largely tied up in a subplot involving a terminally ill Alfred. Bruce is so focused in on saving him, that he has teamed up with Mr. Freeze to develop a cure.
We also see the return of the original Harley Quinn. Not the Suicide Squad movie style Harley, but the original full body jester suit Harley, and she’s great. She drives off the woman she had replace her when she couldn’t deal with the Joker’s insanity and vows to stay by Jack’s side, ensuring that he stays healthy with a combination of meds and therapy. Her most telling statement? When she belittles the fake Harley for loving the Joker, while she loved Jack, despite his flaws. It’s a great portrayal of the character.
I thought issue #2 was a great continuation of what Murphy started, and as the issue closes, I’m even more intrigued at what’s going to happen next. This series is very much not a 0-100 pace, but more of a slow build, and I really want to see where it’s going to end!