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Comicscape: Return of the Joker

The badge, the bat and the clown

By Joel Rickenbach     September 26, 2012
Source: Mania.com

After over a year’s worth of continuity, the Joker is finally making his debut in the New 52. Batman writer, Scott Snyder, and artist, Greg Caupullo, have been playing their cards close to the vest. Even if the info has been at a slow trickle, they’ve made it no secret that they have something special brewing, something they feel will have an impact on what we perceive to be the greatest villain in the comic book world. Both have said this new Joker story arc has been a dream job- Snyder gets to build the foundation of who the Joker will be going forward, and Capullo gets to create his own interpretation of the iconic clown prince’s look- but in some ways this also has to be an unenviable task. The pieces have to fit- a sub-par Joker equals a sub-par Batman. No hero/villain pairing has ever defined each other so well; this is big time, baby. 
 
Scott Snyder recently polled his Twitter followers on what they thought were the best Joker stories. Maybe he was just curious, or maybe he wanted to see if his story was thematically akin to some of his follower’s favorites, either way it really got me thinking. Not so much about what I believe to be the best Joker story (is there a list out there that doesn’t have The Killing Joke at the top spot?), but more about which Joker story would I recommend and want people to read. There’s plenty of obvious ones- Death In The Family, Arkham Asylum, The Man Who Laughs- and they’re obvious for a reason- because they’re bloody good! I remember diving into Arkham Asylum as a young teen, I read it in one sitting, afterwards I literally felt like I was on drugs; it messed up my mind for the rest of the day. That’s powerful stuff. Sometimes, when you have a soapbox such as this column, you feel the need to go classic in your recommendation- The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge (Batman #251), The Laughing Fish (Detective Comics #475-476) or Wildcard (Batman #450-451). I remember unearthing Batman #451 from the back issue bins, and thinking the Norm Breyfogle cover was the greatest thing I had ever seen. It got me to read Marv Wolfman’s unrelenting tale of the Joker taking on an impostor, and became one of my absolute favorites. Of course, when recommending a book, it’s tempting to try and go a little more obscure- Chuck Dixon’s The Devil's Advocate, Paul Dini’s Slayride (Detective Comics #826), or Grant Morrison’s divisive The Clown at Midnight (Batman #663). Stories that found new and disturbing ways to use the Joker in modern comics. In the end, I decided I should pick a story that brought the Joker to a place he hadn’t truly been- Reality. A story that appeared in the criminally short lived Gotham Central

 
Soft Targets (Gotham Central #12-15) is the type of story that will make you reassess what you believe the Joker to be. Nothing about him has changed, there’s no new secret to his origin revealed, nor does this story take place in some alternate earth. What this story does do, however, is remind you that the Joker can be a chilling, frightening character. There’s no giant bombs with clown faces, no amusement parks, or even an attempt to take the Joker to new heights of insanity. No, what this story does is bring the madness down to earth, and show us just how real and calculating insanity can actually be. You see, that was the entire point of Gotham Central. I may sound like a broken record, but the greatest character in the Batman books is Gotham City. Ed Brubaker and Greg Ruka knew this, and had the chance, fleeting as it was, to flesh out that dark, wonderful, fictional city. In the early 2000’s, Brubaker and Ruka were crafting a memorable era for the Bat, both Detective Comics and Batman were must reads, and both particularly paid attention to what made Gotham tick. Once their respective runs concluded, DC gave them the opportunity to continue their brand of Batman with Gotham Central. Of course, the whole point of Gotham Central was less Batman, and more Gotham. It wasn’t supposed to be a day in the life of a GCPD officer, or DC’s version of Law and Order, it was born from the hardboiled crime and noir fiction Brubaker and Ruka love so much. It was a perfect time to explore the themes of what it’s like to work in a city full of crime with the threat of super villains piled on top. Jim Gordon was no longer commissioner, so the GCPD’s link to Batman was threadbare, not to mention most of the police force didn’t trust the caped crusader anyway. Batman and his brood were firmly kept to the shadows, opening up the street level POV of the havoc and consequence the world of Gotham creates. How do the men and women of the GCPD handle the situation when one of the heavies comes calling?
 
 
It's a cold December morning, snow has been constantly falling since the night before, and Christmas is only a few days away. Commissioner Atkins is meeting the mayor to discuss budget cuts, specifically over time pay for the GCPD. Cutting OT will cripple the already struggling department, less cops on the clock means more crime on the street, and more opportunity for the villains. The heated discussion is a sadly familiar one, that is until a bullet rips through the window, and leaves the mayor dead. The GCPD now has a sniper on their hands, one that may have an axe to grind with the mayor's office. The detectives are just starting to get a handle on the situation when a call comes in saying the school Superintendent has been gunned down in the schoolyard of P.S. 48. Two dead city officials, and it's not even lunchtime. The GCPD waits in cover for hours as officers try to search the area for the sniper. The snow continues to fall, slowly obscuring the body of the superintendent.  Finally, they break cover and form their crime scene, trying to gather any piece of evidence that will lead them to the killer. It's getting dark and the temperature is dropping, it's time to pack it in, the coroner, Nora, is pointing out just how little they have to go on when another bullet cuts through the night air, destroying Nora's hand, and killing one of her fellow coroners. Through all the panic and commotion, detective Josie Mac saw where the shot came from, and rushes to the sniper's nest. Inside the top floor apartment the detectives find a laptop displaying an odd and twisted political ad. Back at Gotham Central, Lieutenant Probson gets the call from Josie Mac, and after hearing the news, decides to take matters into his own hands. He forces office assistant Stacy up onto the roof with him, and makes her turn on the bat signal. She's uncomfortable doing it, as she has been instructed only to turn it on when the Commissioner asks. They wait, in the cold, until suddenly Batman appears, and tackles Stacy, saving her from a bullet that strikes the steps where she just stood. Batman blocks the incoming gunfire, yelling for them to take cover, and confirming Probson's fear- The sniper is the Joker. What follows is a city paralyzed by fear, people either flee the city, or stay indoors, making the streets of Gotham a ghost town. But the Joker's plan is not over- He puts the city on a countdown clock to the next shooting, has the GCPD on a wild goose chase to find the location of the next target, and eventually turns himself in, which is when the fun really begins.

 

 

It's not a stretch to link how Brubaker and Ruka handled the Joker, with Nolan and Ledger's take on the character in The Dark Knight. Sure, it's not exact, but both stories focus on realism, and don't chalk everything up to insanity. Yes, he's called the Joker, but he always has a plan, and it's born from chaos. Here's hoping there are shades of this Joker in Snyder and Capullo's interpretation.  I would much rather see calculated restraint than over the top madness. I bet the man who laughs makes a grand addition to the New 52.

 
New Comic Book releases for 9/26/12:


12-GAUGE COMICS
Afflicted GN, $12.99

ABRAMS
Mars Attacks HC, $19.95

ABSTRACT STUDIOS
Rachel Rising #11, $3.99

ALADDIN BOOKS
So You Want To Be A Comic Book Artist Ultimate Guide HC, $16.99

ANTARCTIC PRESS
Adventures Of A Comic Con Girl #2 (Of 3), $3.99
Gearhearts Steampunk Glamor Revue #4, $3.99
Gold Digger #142, $3.99

ARCHAIA ENTERTAINMENT
Where's My Shoggoth HC, $11.95

ARCHIE COMICS
Archie And Friends Double Digest #20, $3.99
Archie Double Digest #233, $3.99
Jugheads Double Digest #185, $3.99
Sonic The Hedgehog Select Volume 6 TP, $11.99

ASPEN COMICS
Idolized #2 (Cover A Humberto Ramos), $3.99
Idolized #2 (Cover B Photo), $3.99
Idolized #2 (Cover C Humberto Ramos Sketch Incentive), AR
Soulfire Volume 4 #2 (Cover A Michael DeBalfo), $3.99
Soulfire Volume 4 #2 (Cover B Tony Parker), $3.99
Soulfire Volume 4 #2 (Cover C Michael DeBalfo Sketch Incentive), AR
Soulfire Volume 4 #2 (Cover D Michael DeBalfo), AR

AUDIOGO
Doctor Who The Androids Of Tara Audio CD, $24.95
Doctor Who The Aztecs Audio CD, $24.95
Doctor Who Dark Horizons Audio CD, $39.95
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf Audio CD, $16.95

AVATAR PRESS
Crossed Badlands #11 (Raulo Caceres Auxiliary Edition), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #12 (Raulo Caceres Auxiliary Edition), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #14 (Jacen Burrows Regular Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #14 (Jacen Burrows Red Crossed Incentive Cover), AR
Crossed Badlands #14 (Gianluca Pagliarani Torture Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #14 (Oscar Jimenez Wraparound Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #4 (Jacen Burrows Philadelphia Comic Con Cover), $5.99
Ferals #6 (Gabriel Andrade Auxiliary Edition), $3.99
Hero Worship #3 (Of 6)(Michael Dipascale Regular Cover), $3.99
Hero Worship #3 (Of 6)(Michael Dipascale Heroic Incentive Cover), AR
Hero Worship #3 (Of 6)(Michael Dipascale Wraparound Cover), $3.99
Night Of The Living Dead Day Of The Undead GN, $2.99
Stitched #8 (Fernando Furukawa Regular Cover), $3.99
Stitched #8 (Fernando Furukawa Ancient Evil Incentive Cover), AR
Stitched #8 (Fernando Furukawa Gore Cover), $3.99
Stitched #8 (Fernando Furukawa Wraparound Cover), $3.99

BALLISTIC PUBLISHING
Transient Man GN, $45.00

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Critter #4 (Fico Ossio Cover), $3.50
Critter #4 (Jenevieve Broomall Cover), $3.50
Ursa Minor #3 (Ian Snyder Cover), $3.50
Ursa Minor #3 (Natalie Sanders Cover), $3.50

BONGO COMICS
Bart Simpson Comics #75, $2.99
Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror #18, $4.99

BOOM! STUDIOS
Adventure Time #8 (Cover A Chris Houghton), $3.99
Adventure Time #8 (Cover B Drew Weing), $3.99
Adventure Time #8 (Cover C Colleen Coover), AR
Adventure Time #8 (Cover D Phil McAndrew), AR
Clive Barker's Hellraiser #18 (Cover A Tim Bradstreet), $3.99
Clive Barker's Hellraiser #18 (Cover B Nick Percival), $3.99
Clive Barker's Hellraiser #18 (Cover C Tim Bradstreet), AR
Elric The Balance Lost #12 (Of 12)(Cover A Francesco Mattina), $3.99
Elric The Balance Lost #12 (Of 12)(Cover B Matteo Scalera), $3.99
Elric The Balance Lost #12 (Of 12)(Cover C Francesco Mattina), AR
Higher Earth #5 (Cover A Frazier Irving), $3.99
Higher Earth #5 (Cover B Mitch Breitweiser), $3.99
Higher Earth #5 (Cover C Mitch Breitweiser), AR
Higher Earth #5 (Cover D Frazier Irving Black & White), AR
Steed And Mrs Peel #1 (Cover A Jonboy Meyers), $3.99
Steed And Mrs Peel #1 (Cover B Mike Perkins), $3.99
Steed And Mrs Peel #1 (Cover C Joshua Covey), AR
Steed And Mrs Peel #1 (Cover D Mike Perkins Black & White), AR
Steed And Mrs Peel #1 (Cover E Joseph Michael Linser CGC 9.8), AR

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Lady Death #16 (Matt Martin Close Up Cover), $9.99
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Lady Death #19 (Matt Martin Surrounded Cover), $9.99

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Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose #76, $2.95

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Zombie Movies Ultimate Guide SC (2nd Edition)(not verified by Diamond), $24.95

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Sweeney Todd Demon Of Fleet Street GN (Original Text Edition), $16.95

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Comic Shop News #1319, AR

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Angel And Faith #14 (Rebekah Isaacs Variant Cover), $2.99
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Avatar The Last Airbender Volume 3 The Promise Part 3 TP, $10.99
Axe Cop President Of The World #3 (Of 3), $3.50
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth The Return Of The Master #2 (Of 5)(Issue 99), $3.50
Camilla d'Errico No Ordinary Love Bust, $125.00
Dark Matter Volume 1 Rebirth TP, $14.99
Dragon Age Those Who Speak #2 (Of 3), $3.50
Goon #42, $3.50
Mind MGMT #5, $3.99
Star Wars Darth Maul Death Sentence #3 (Of 4), $2.99

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Absolute Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War HC, $99.99
All-Star Western #0, $3.99
American Vampire #31 (Francesco Francavilla Variant Cover), AR
American Vampire #31 (Rafael Albuquerque Regular Cover), $2.99
American Vampire Volume 3 TP, $16.99
American Vampire Volume 4 HC, $24.99
Aquaman #0 (Ivan Reis & Joe Prado Regular Cover), $2.99
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Arkham Asylum Deluxe Titan Joker Action Figure, $72.95
Batman #8 (Greg Capullo 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
Batman Arkham City Series 3 Azrael Action Figure, AR
Batman Arkham City Series 3 Batman Action Figure, AR
Batman Arkham City Series 3 Clown Thug With Bat Action Figure, AR
Batman Arkham City Series 3 Clown Thug With Knife Action Figure, AR
Batman Arkham City Series 3 Ra's Al Ghul Action Figure, AR
Batman Arkham City Series 3 The Penguin Action Figure, AR
Batman Incorporated #0 (Aaron Kuder Variant Cover), AR
Batman Incorporated #0 (Chris Burnham Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Batman Incorporated #0 (Chris Burnham Regular Cover), $2.99
Batman Incorporated #0 (Combo Pack Edition), $3.99
Batman The Dark Knight #0 (David Finch Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Batman The Dark Knight #0 (David Finch Regular Cover), $2.99
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #3 (Of 6)(Combo Pack Edition), $4.99
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #3 (Of 6)(Jae Lee Regular Cover), $3.99
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #3 (Of 6)(Massimo Carnevale Variant Cover), AR
Before Watchmen Rorschach Statue, $149.95
Cover Girls Of The DC Universe Wonder Woman DC Comics The New 52 Statue, $99.95
DC Comics Super-Heroes Wonder Woman Bust, $69.95
Flash #0 (Francis Manapul Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Flash #0 (Francis Manapul Regular Cover), $2.99
Flash Volume 2 The Road To Flashpoint TP, $14.99
Fury Of Firestorm The Nuclear Men #0, $2.99
I Vampire #0, $2.99
Justice League #12 (Jim Lee 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
Justice League Dark #0, $2.99
Lobo Portrait Of A Bastich TP (New Printing), $19.99
National Comics Rose And Thorn #1, $3.99
New Deadwardians #7 (Of 8), $2.99
Phantom Lady #2 (Of 4), $2.99
Red Lanterns #0, $2.99
Saga Of The Swamp Thing Volume 2 TP, $19.99
Savage Hawkman #0, $2.99
Showcase Presents Amethyst Princess Of Gemworld Volume 1 TP, $19.99
Superman #0 (Kenneth Rocafort Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Superman #0 (Kenneth Rocafort Regular Cover), $2.99
Superman Family Adventures #5, $2.99
Talon #0 (Guillem March Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Talon #0 (Guillem March Regular Cover), $2.99
Teen Titans #0 (Brett Booth & Norm Rapmund Regular Cover), $2.99
Teen Titans #0 (Brett Booth Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Voodoo #0 (Final Issue), $2.99
Voodoo Volume 1 What Lies Beneath TP, $14.99

DEVILS DUE PUBLISHING
Yumiko Curse Of The Merch Girl HC, $19.99

DIGITAL MANGA DISTRIBUTION
Ai No Kusabi Space Between Volume 7 SC, $9.95
Barbara GN, $19.95
Tyrant Falls In Love Volume 7 GN, $12.95
Only The Ring Finger Knows Volume 5 SC (Of 5), $10.95

DK PUBLISHING
LEGO Batman The Visual Dictionary HC, $21.99

DKE INK
Color Ink DIY Art Periodical Volume 15, $10.00

DYNAMIC FORCES
Vampirella #22 (Ale Garza Exclusive Risque Cover)(Dynamic Forces), $14.99

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Kevin Smith's The Bionic Man #13 (Alex Ross Regular Cover), $3.99
Kevin Smith's The Bionic Man #13 (Alex Ross Virgin Variant Cover), AR
Kevin Smith's The Bionic Man #13 (Edgar Tadeo Variant Cover), AR
Queen Sonja #32 (Lucio Parrillo Regular Cover), $3.99
Shadow Annual #1 (Alex Ross Regular Cover), $4.99
Spider #5 (Francesco Francavilla Variant Cover), AR
Spider #5 (Francesco Francavilla Virgin Variant Cover), AR
Spider #5 (John Cassaday Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Spider #5 (John Cassaday Regular Cover), $3.99
Vampirella #23 (Ale Garza Regular Cover), $3.99
Vampirella #23 (Ale Garza Risque Variant Cover), AR
Vampirella #23 (Fabiano Neves Regular Cover), $3.99
Vampirella #23 (Paul Renaud Red Variant Cover), AR
Vampirella #23 (Paul Renaud Regular Cover), $3.99

EUREKA PRODUCTIONS
Graphic Classics Volume 23 Halloween Classics GN, $17.95

FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS
Barack Hussein Obama HC (not verified by Diamond), $22.99
Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer Volume 2 Sultry's Tiger HC (not verified by Diamond), $35.00

FUTURE PUBLISHING
Comic Heroes Magazine #14 (not verified by Diamond), $17.99

IDW PUBLISHING
Archie The Best Of Harry Lucey Volume 2 HC, $24.99
Dave Stevens' Stories And Covers HC, $49.99
Fine And Private Place #1 (Of 5)(Cover A Jenny Frison), $3.99
Fine And Private Place #1 (Of 5)(Peter S. Beagle Signed Edition), AR
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #182 (Cover A Ron Frenz & Sal Buscema), $3.99
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #182 (Cover RI Larry Hama), AR
Gasoline Alley Volume 1 HC, $49.99
Hawken #6 (Of 6)(Cover A Tim Truman), $3.99
Hawken #6 (Of 6)(Cover RI Dominic Vivona), AR
Joe Kubert's Tarzan Of The Apes Artist's Edition HC, AR
John Byrne's Next Men Volume 3 Aftermath HC, $24.99
Magic The Gathering The Spell Thief #3 (Cover A Matt Stewart), $4.99
Magic The Gathering The Spell Thief #3 (Cover RI Tyler Walpole), AR
Mars Attacks #4 (Cover A John McCrea), $3.99
Mars Attacks #4 (Cover RI Menton J. Matthews III), AR
Memorial Volume 1 HC, $24.99
Popeye #5 (Cover A Bruce Ozella), $3.99
Popeye #5 (Cover RI Seymour Chwast), AR
Snake Eyes And Storm Shadow #17 (Cover A Ken Loh), $3.99
Snake Eyes And Storm Shadow #17 (Cover RI Robert Atkins), AR
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation2 #5 (Cover A J.K. Woodward), $3.99
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation2 #5 (Cover RI Sharp Brothers), AR
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation2 Volume 1 TP, $17.99
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #14 (Cover A Andy Kuhn), $3.99
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #14 (Cover B Kevin Eastman), $3.99
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #14 (Cover RI Ramon Perez), AR
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 3 Shadows Of The Past TP, $17.99
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #9 (Cover A Alex Milne), $3.99
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #9 (Cover B Nick Roche), $3.99
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #9 (Cover RI Marcelo Matere), AR
Transformers Robots In Disguise Annual 2012 (Cover A Tim Seeley), $7.99
Transformers Robots In Disguise Annual 2012 (Cover B Andrew Griffith), $7.99
Transformers Robots In Disguise Annual 2012 (Cover RI Jimbo Salgado), AR

IMAGE COMICS
Dancer #5, $3.50
Debris #3 (Of 4), $3.50
Elephantmen #43, $3.99
Hack Slash Volume 1 First Cut TP (New Printing), $12.99
Happy #1 (Of 4)(Cover A Darick Robertson), $2.99
Happy #1 (Of 4)(Cover B Michael & Laura Allred), AR
Invincible #95, $2.99
Milkman Murders HC, $14.99
Mind The Gap #5 (Cover A Rodin Esquejo), $2.99
Mind The Gap #5 (Cover B Jo Chen), $2.99
Near Death Volume 2 TP, $14.99
Prophet #29, $3.99
Skullkickers #18, $3.99
Spawn Origins Volume 16 TP, $14.99
Super Dinosaur #14, $2.99
Tellos Colossal Volume 2 HC (New Printing), $39.99
Walking Dead Volume 8 HC, $34.99
Witchblade #160 (Cover A John Tyler Christopher), $2.99
Witchblade #160 (Cover B Diego Bernard & Fred Benes), $2.99
Youngblood #74, $3.99

KIDS CAN PRESS
Bigfoot Boy Volume 1 Into The Woods GN (not verified by Diamond), $9.95
That One Spooky Night GN (not verified by Diamond), $8.95

KINGSTONE
101 Questions About The Bible And Christianity HC, $8.99
Babylon TP, $16.99
Book Of God How We Got The Bible GN, $16.99
Echoes Of Eden Volume 1 HC, $19.95
Vladimir Prince Of Russia GN, $7.99

KODANSHA COMICS
Deltora Quest Volume 8 GN, $10.99
Genshiken Omnibus Volume 2 TP, $19.99
Miles Edgeworth Ace Attorney Investigations Volume 2 GN, $10.99

KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS
Comics Buyers Guide #1695 (November 2012)(not verified by Diamond), $5.99

LEGENDARY COMICS
Tower Chronicles Volume 1 Geisthawk GN (Of 4), $7.99

MARVEL COMICS
Amazing Spider-Man #694, $3.99
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Circus Of The Damned Volume 3 The Scoundrel TP, $16.99
Astonishing X-Men #54, $3.99
Black Panther The Man Without Fear Fear Itself TP, $16.99
Captain America And Black Widow #637, $2.99
Captain Marvel #2 (Ed McGuinness 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $2.99
Captain Marvel #4, $2.99
Daredevil By Ed Brubaker And Michael Lark Ultimate Collection Volume 3 TP, $34.99
Deadpool #61, $2.99
Fear Itself Uncanny X-Men TP, $16.99
FF #22, $2.99
Fury MAX #6, $3.99
Gambit #3, $2.99
Hit-Girl #3 (Of 5)(Jock Variant Cover), AR
Hit-Girl #3 (Of 5)(John Romita Jr. & Tom Palmer Sketch Variant Cover), AR
Hit-Girl #3 (Of 5)(John Romita Jr. Regular Cover), $2.99
Incredible Hulk #14, $3.99
Invincible Iron Man #525, $3.99
Journey Into Mystery #644, $2.99
Marvel Masterworks The Invincible Iron Man Volume 2 TP, $24.99
Marvel Masterworks The Invincible Iron Man Volume 2 TP (Direct Market Variant Edition Volume 45), $24.99
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #6, $2.99
Marvel Zombies Destroy HC, $24.99
Mighty Thor By Matt Fraction Volume 3 HC (Premiere Edition), $24.99
Punisher #16, $2.99
Secret Avengers #31, $3.99
Space Punisher #3 (Of 4), $3.99
Spider-Man Lizard No Turning Back HC (Premiere Edition), $19.99
Takio #3, $3.95
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #16, $3.99
Ultimate Comics X-Men By Nick Spencer Volume 1 TP, $15.99
Uncanny Avengers #1 Party Invite Postcard (Promotional Item), AR
Winter Soldier #11, $2.99
Wolverine #313 (Art Adams Variant Cover), AR
Wolverine #313 (Simone Bianchi Regular Cover), $3.99
Wolverine And The X-Men #17, $3.99
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Volume 3 HC (Premiere Edition), $19.99
X-Men #36, $3.99
X-Men Legacy #274, $2.99
X-Men War Machines TP, $14.99
X-Treme X-Men #4, $2.99

MCFARLAND
Forrest J Ackerman Oeuvre SC, $45.00

MOVIELAND CLASSICS
Famous Monsters Of Filmland #253 (Walking Dead Black & White Cover), $9.99
Famous Monsters Of Filmland #253 (Walking Dead Color Cover)(not verified by Diamond), $9.99

NOBROW PRESS
Fight Volume 2 GN, $13.95
Leeroy And Popo GN, $13.95
Nobrow Volume 7 Brave New World TP (not verified by Diamond), $24.00

NON-SPORT UPDATE
Non-Sport Update Volume 23 #5 (October/November 2012), $5.99

ONI PRESS
Sixth Gun #25, $3.99
Wasteland Volume 7 Under The God TP, $14.99

ORION
Asterix Omnibus Volume 6 HC, $27.95

PANINI PUBLISHING
Doctor Who Magazine #451 (not verified by Diamond), $8.99

PINWHEEL PRESS
Man Of God #3 (Of 6)(Cover A Yvel Guichet)(not verified by Diamond), $3.50
Man Of God #3 (Of 6)(Cover B Daniel Brereton)(not verified by Diamond), $3.50
Man Of God #3 (Of 6)(Cover C Tim Vigil)(not verified by Diamond), AR

QUIRK BOOKS
Kickstarter Handbook SC, $14.95

RANDOM HOUSE
Seraphina HC, $17.99

REBELLION
2000 AD #1798 (not verified by Diamond), $5.25
2000 AD #1799 (not verified by Diamond), $5.25
Judge Dredd Cry Of The Werewolf GN (not verified by Diamond), $17.99
Judge Dredd The Restricted Files Volume 4 TP (not verified by Diamond), $31.99

REVOLUTION COMICS
Night Stalker #1 (One Shot), $2.99

RUNNING PRESS
Bugs And Daffy Desktop Duo Kit HC, $9.95

SOARING PENGUIN
Little Death GN (not verified by Diamond), $14.99

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Rich Larson's Haunted House Of Lingerie Volume 1 SC (15th Anniversary Edition), $9.95

STRAWBERRY COMICS
Erstwhile From The Tales Of The Brothers Grimm GN, $20.00

TASCHEN AMERICA
Robert Crumb The Sketchbooks 1982-2011 6 Volume Hardcover Set, AR

TITAN PUBLISHING
Hole Of Tank Girl HC (Slipcased Collector's Edition), $99.99
Alien The Illustrated Story HC (Artist's Edition), $75.00
CLiNT 2.0 #4, $6.99

TOHAN CORPORATION
Hobby Japan #105 (September 2012), $16.60
Megami July 2012, $16.60

TOOL PUBLICATIONS
Westward #1, $2.99

UDON ENTERTAINMENT
Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes Official Complete Works SC, $39.99

YEN PRESS
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class Volume 4 GN, $12.99
Higurashi When They Cry Volume 19 Massacre Arc Part 1 GN, $18.99
Jack Frost Volume 6 TP, $11.99
Omamori Himari Volume 0 GN, $11.99
Raiders Volume 8 GN, $11.99
Tale Of The Waning Moon Volume 3 GN, $13.99
Until Death Do Us Part Volume 2 TP, $18.99
Yotsuba&! Volume 11 GN, $11.99

ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT
Eric Basaldua And Mike DeBalfo Cover Gallery, $5.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Godstorm #0, $2.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Wonderland #3 (Cover A Alfredo Reyes Reyes), $2.99
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joelr 9/26/2012 8:53:33 AM

A few things I forgot to mention in the column:

Michael Lark's art is absolutely stunning. His style fits the realism of the story. It's a match made in heaven.

"Soft Targets" is available in the trade paperback "Unresolved Targets" and the deluxe hardcover "Jokers and Madmen". The issues (#12-15) are also available through the digital DC store for $1.99 a pop.

shac2846 9/26/2012 8:53:58 AM

 I have all four HC volumes of gotham central. They're excellent, I would say IMO it is some of brubakers best work some would argue capt. america but I think burbaker really went all out for these. Rucka always brings his A game when writing so to have them both working on this book you knew it was going to kick ass. And yeah their interpretation of the joker is one of my favourites as well. I guess I'm okay in certain stories with the joker bombs and stuff like that but I think the character works best as a calculated madman that is driven as you said by chaos. 

I am behind since I'm a trade guy but after court of owls I can't wait to see what snyder and capullo have up their sleeves for the introduction of the joker. 

It's funny as much as we batman fans love killing joke I read an interview with Moore recently where he said if he had it to do all over again he would have gone more campy with it like the adam west show. Thank God he didn't have then inclination when he was writing it. Truly a classic. 

jedibanner 9/26/2012 8:55:03 AM

Great article Joel, might check out that story from Gotham Central.

Any chance of covering some of the Marvel stuff also, seems like there's been only DC reviews and DC books and DC this and that.

Might be interesting to get different views for different comics.

RobertTrate 9/26/2012 5:53:24 PM

 jedibanner, one reason for that is DC Comics has been supplying us with a lot material. Marvel hasn't been so inclined. Kudos to Tim Janson for getting Mania the DC Comics hook up. As for the Watchmen coverage, we decided as a wrting staff to review as many of those as possible. 

RobertTrate 9/26/2012 5:54:11 PM

 Oh and Gotham Central is AWESOME! That's a show the CW should make, Law and Order in Gotham. 

jedibanner 9/26/2012 6:49:20 PM

Hi Robert,

I have to admit ignorance on this once because I just though you guys were buying the comics yourself and then review them, didn't know you were mostly covering the stuff you were getting from different companies.

I understand the Watchmen coverage (don't agree with the idea but, everyone knows this already) because the event itself is large and does have an impact so, great coverage on that one.

I just though it would be nice also to get variaty but I can understand your reviews can be limited if they depend on the stuff suplied to you.

The reviews are always fun and a good read, and since I love comic, always nice to see different things.

Thanks for listening.

joelr 9/27/2012 8:12:38 AM

Let me clarify a little further, I don't want any misconceptions. Nothing I have reviewed or written about on Comicscape was sent to me from any publisher. From Gotham Central to Underwater Welder- all came from my own wallet/collection. Since I've been writing this column some publishers have started to send me review copies of their books, but they are wildly inconsistent (except Valiant, they are on the ball, but I'd be covering them anyway. I'm sure you've deduced I am a Valiant-head), and they never dictate what I write about. The current situation with all the DC books is really just a coincidence. Our intrepid reporter, Tim Janson, sweet-talked DC in to sending him books, so that's why there's been so many DC reviews (Annuals, Zero issues etc.), but again- Tim would be buying most of these anyway, and in the case of the Zero issues, it's a boon for us because buying 52 comics at $2.99-$3.99 a pop is, well, wallet killing.

My plan for Comicscape will always be the same- find interesting or important things that will get people to read comics. I try to give a variety (the last few weeks have been- Valiant, Michael Oeming, Spider-Man, Underwater Welder, Batman/Joker), and to be honest, I have sacrificed some hits and traffic to make sure I get some smaller books the attention they deserve (Bob, you didn't just rea that), I could easily just follow Marvel and DC every week, but that would defeat the purpose of this column in my eyes. Believe me- there is a huge back log of publishers, creators, and characters I want to get to, but I do try and strike when the iron is hot (look for my AvX wrap up in two weeks).

Jedi, you are our most consistent and loyal commenter, please keep it up!

shac2846 9/27/2012 10:34:04 AM

 Hey I have been on here since comicscape came back and I'm glad you've brought it back Joelr. Hell I'm trying to get other people on the other boards to come over here since it seems me, Jedi, and you are the only people who really hit this article up each week. Except for the marve/dc stuff which you seem to get a few extra hits. Was wondering to myself just the other day why we have some many passionate fans about the effing avengers movie but when it comes to the actual comics on a genre site nobody seems interested, but I digress. 

And for the record I really appreciate the fact that you hit up the independent stuff. Comics aren't just about two publishers and superheroes 24/7. I like the fact that you keep it pretty evenly spread with the indies and major publishers. Keep it up. 

jedibanner 9/27/2012 12:14:07 PM

Dang...somehow my response didn't get saved.

I really like your column Joel and I appreciate your details mentionned above, it gives a better perspective on the work you do for Mania.

I'm sure there must be a lot of choices to do when preparing a column, like Shac mentionned your independent stuff is always appreciated. I wouldn't like just a Marvel or DC articles but also, some suggestion on the Image or Radical books and yes, even Valiant is always a good refresher.

Maybe I'm just being greedy by wanting more from you guys cause I like what you do a lot so...keep up the good work and anything is appreciated, will wait for the A Vs X rap-up because I think the series was fun (especially now that Hulk is involved somehow)...and if you ever need help on different books, let me know.

 

Lex0807 9/27/2012 2:37:01 PM

 Gotham Central was my guilty pleasure for its entire run. Rather than an Arrow series, I would jump with joy if this one would grace the small screen, or an anthology series with different short stories of different 'real' people in the DCU.

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