Joker: Killer Smile #1 (DC Comics)
DC’s Black Label continues to churn out new titles, and this week we get not one, but TWO new titles. One I’ll be covering below, but right now we’re gonna focus on another title starring the Clown Prince of Crime (at this point they could just have him star in his own Black Label line), and the creative team is one that wouldn’t be the first team to put on a book starring the Joker: Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino. That’s right, the creative team behind Green Arrow, Gideon Falls, and Old Man Logan are now turning their sights on the Joker, and the man who wants to try and cure him.
For reasons unknown to him, Dr. Ben Arnell is fixated on The Joker. Meeting one on one with the infamous villain each day for the past few weeks, Arnell believes that if he can cure the madman that it will have widespread benefits for the psychology field. But the deeper he probes the Clown Prince of Crime, the more the Joker toys with him, and Arnell’s wife and child is finding that he’s definitely taking the work home with him, in more ways than one.
Jeff Lemire is one of the strongest writers today, and Killer Smile is an easy example of this. Lemire can easily jump around from indie comics to titles from the “Big Two”, and even when he’s doing the big two stuff he doesn’t seem to be phoning it in at all. His Joker is a great mix of all types you’ve seen before, but given an even more sense of menace from behind his glass cell. While we don’t get a lot of background info on Dr. Arnell, what we do get is enough to really start to turn up the heat and tension on this story.
Andrea Sorrentino’s art can be a little hit or miss lately, but he’s definitely in the “hit” column with Killer Smile. The peanut butter to Lemire’s chocolate, Sorrentino nails the little nuances that Lemire adds to the script, and his depiction of the Joker is pretty neat too. It’s just of kilter enough to unsettle you, but not so strange that it becomes a full on horror book.
While the market may be getting a bit oversaturated with Black Label titles, there’s enough that makes Killer Smile stand out form the other books on the shelf. If you’re looking for a more character-focused book on the Joker, this is the one to pick up, and it looks to be another fantastic addition to Lemire and Sorrentino’s body of work.