Review: Joker: Killer Smile #1

"Joker: Killer Smile" - Book One
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Amanda Sorrentino
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Steve Wands
Review by Kendra Hale

Joker: Killer Smile #1 has hit a chord with this reviewer to be sure. I’ve loved reading Jeff Lemire’s work in the Black Hammer Vs Justice League series, so I was excited to see what he’d do with the complex character that is Joker. It’s always interesting to see a new take on an established character, and a different point of view. In that sense, this team did not miss. This was indeed an interesting ride with our main character, Dr. Ben Arnell. Let’s dig in.

Mr. Smiles

Ben Arnell is a man with a plan, as the latest psychiatrist to be given access to the Joker. He plans to be the first to break through to the truth of what makes the clown prince of crime tick. In the beginning, we’re given Joker’s speech about beauty, but while he speaks we witness the horrible act of balloons full of Joker Laughing gas descending on the city, killing hundreds.
Joker seems to have Dr. Ben under his spell, thinking he knows just why the doctor’s there. Joker believes it’s to try and diagnose him, like so many that came before. However, Ben clears that up by saying that he plans to cure the Joker. This comes as a shock, not only to Mr. J himself, but to all who hear the ambitious statement.
This begins a path that Ben may not survive, as all he holds dear may become forever tainted. It remains to be seen just how much will be put on the line while trying to cure one of the most devious minds in Gotham.

Swimming With The Fishes

This comic gives us so many perspectives. The varying art styles and the story meld beautifully, and I enjoyed seeing something so different, but which felt so familiar. Jeff Lemire has written the Joker as though he’s a personal friend, and Andrea Sorrentino has given us art that’s not only beautifully scary at times, but that conveys the story perfectly.
There’s a particular scene that hit me, where we’re getting the story of Joker killing people by putting them into a tank full of Joker fish. I swear I felt upon viewing it like I was entering into Neil Gaiman’s world through the eyes of his Sandman character Delirium. It was an absolutely beautiful two-page spread that made this issue even more thrilling. It had notes of Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman and it conveyed the story beautifully. Jordie Bellaire’s color choices were perfect and with Steve Wands’ letters, the book was rounded off perfectly.


Joker: Killer Smile #1 truly exceeded all of my expectations. I loved seeing the story unfold and the artwork was so different for this type of tale. I enjoyed it and truly look forward to the rest of this series. I wonder if Benjy will be able to maintain his sanity and keep not only himself, but his family safe. Guess we’ll learn more next issue. See you next month!
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment


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