Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Meghan Hetrick
Publisher: DC Comics
Let me start off by saying that when I reviewed Joker’s Daughter during Villains Month I actually got called out because of my stance on the title. I didn’t hate it nor did I call it a masterpiece, but because I actually took the time and looked at what could happen with this character down the line I had a lot of negative feedback about what I wrote.
Well ladies and gentlemen it looks like, from what I have seen online, that old Spin wasn’t as crazy as those naysayers made him out to be!
This one-shot is the epitome of looking into someone’s psyche. Taking us on a trip into the mind of a little girl who is truly searching for something that she thinks will change her life. Everything is explored in this issue, obsession, blind worship, embellishment of the truth, the limits of humanity and even sadness and morality.
Right from the opening you get the full scope of how demented this issue was going to be. Opening with panels of the Daughter biting, slurping and basically making oral love to the rotting flesh that was once the Joker’s face, we start to get a sense of just how twisted she is for the Joker. Told a lot through text boxes, we realize just how deluded this child is and how in her mind just because she found his rotting face means he chose her to carry on his legacy. This begins her journey to find her “Daddy” and leads her into confrontation with the Dark Knight by the means of her conducting arson. She feels that the caped crusader will lead her straight to Daddy and that she will unite with him as his rightful heir.
However Batman does not see her as an heir and even tells her she is not a villain but a sad scared little girl whom he should make to burn the mask. This gives us a pretty good look into Bat’s and his feelings as well. His talking about the Joker and what he should do with his flesh seems to bring feelings that he has been keeping to himself for a while and allows us to see a bit more of the man behind the cowl. We all know Bat’s feeling on the Joker but when saying them to this girl who idolizes him seems to be even more powerful in this instance.
So with Batman handing JD over to the authorities we get more into the limits of humanity that I spoke of earlier. The officers who are debating on where to take her lower their guard as she is able to get out of her handcuffs (by showing her actually biting into her flesh to allow blood to slick the cuffs so she can slip them off) and maim one of the officers. Here she starts contemplating through text that she can kill the remaining officer. This was exceptionally well done because you see her expression and that she wants to kill her but doesn’t and even though she chose not to, she still feels she could have and how she could have done it. This more than anything starts to bring more of who this character is to life, until she is in Arkham and eviscerates an employee with her scythe.
After a meeting with the Anchoress who was last seen in Batman Annual, we see just how deluded JD actually is. Through a series of memories we see how she has pieced together a history of lies and how it has come to the point that even she doesn’t know who she is. We are shown three separate memories but none of the correlate together and are all lies she has created and has actually started to believe. This gets right to the root of the character and gives us the perfect look into the psyche of a child who had, in her own words; a good childhood could turn into a creature of hate and evil. Not because of some twist of fate or some traumatic experience, but simply because she wanted more from life, she didn’t want to be ordinary and she wanted power.
After a meeting with the Dollmaker to have the Joker’s flesh actually sewn onto her face and a sample of his blood injected into her, reach our conclusion where hints could be dropped that she actually was being groomed from the start by unseen hands. Purple gloved unseen hands.
For everyone who bashed on the villains month issue I hope this one will turn your opinion around. I could not believe the overwhelming negative response to that book but now people are doing a 180 and saying that this character actually is deep and pretty interesting.
Marguerite Bennett has done a marvelous job at showing the true potential of this character. She has created a character who, much like the Joker himself, we do not truly know much about her. She is a mystery that much like Joker has created this origin for herself that changes each time it’s told and I don’t think, in fact I hope, we will ever truly know who she is. The text boxes were fantastic with a look into her thoughts and emotions, her delusions and her worship of Mr. J. Truly if you read this I was getting senses of Charles Manson and his followers, how they followed him and worshipped him and would kill for him. Well Joker’s Daughter is doing that and she is going ever further by actually wanting his blood in her, she wants his essence to be inside her. She wants to be the prophet of his teachings and of his ways and become the ruler of Gotham all for him. It is insane the things she thinks but also what is more insane is that it is mentioned that she is not insane at all. She is perfectly sane and is just a little girl who idolizes a mad man and wants to be like him.
I also loved the art in this issue, some people may not but I loved the shots of Joker’s Daughter and her look in this issue. I feel this was done so much better than her appearances in Catwoman and that they actually showed just how dirty this character is. This was perfect because when Joker came back around he was dirty, he was disgusting and so it only fits that the self appointed heir would take on those same characteristics.
There were a few minor problems I found mostly with the editing. There was very little use of punctuation and there were some spelling mistakes I found. The spelling I can look past but the text of the Joker’s Daughter all seemed to be run on sentences. Whether this was done intentionally or not I don’t know but it did catch my eye right from the start.
All in all though this issue proved the point I made in the Joker’s Daughter review and that is you need to stop looking at the surface of a book and start looking deeper and how a story could affect a universe. You also need to look and see and ask where could they take this character in future appearances and I am proud to say I told you so on this one. An excellent issue and one I feel many people are going to love.
So from Spin to all of you I give this issue a face slurping
4 out of 5 nerds