Part of DC’s swanky Black Label imprint, “Three Jokers” collects 2020s three part comic that had alternate cover fans drooling. Me? I just like to read comics, so it’s what’s inside that counts, not if you can pay over the odds for a sodding playing card to go with your comic.

Writer Geoff Johns, DCs perennial workhorse and recent co-ruiner of Wonder Woman’s celluloid reputation, takes on a big task here. Basically, this is a sort of sequel to the all time classic (unless you ask Alan Moore) “The Killing Joke”. Throw in some “Death Of The Family” as well and this is the result. Alongside him is superstar artist Jason Fabok, who draws closer to Brian Bolland than just about anyone else, heightening the link to the past with every page.

Story wise, the Joker commits three very public crimes at exactly the same time, leading to the conclusion that maybe it’s always been more than one man behind the greasepaint and maniacal laugh. Batman, Batgirl and Red Hood (a now alive again and prone to violence Jason Todd) are on the case, each with their own ghosts coming to haunt them. The Jokers themselves, made up of The Criminal, The Comedian and the Clown, aren’t giving much away, and the mystery is compelling and entertaining right to a surprising revelation on the final pages.

“Three Jokers” also owes a lot to Johns’ Watchmen sequel “Doomsday Clock”, as both use a nine panel layout and feature artists aping their illustraious predecessors. This means there’s plenty to chow down on and the whole thing looks gorgeous. Unlike the Watchmen book, though, this doesn’t feel at all bloated. The length is just right, the plottng solid and the payoff memorable. A very solid entry into the Batman mythos, this one deserves to be read.

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