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BATMAN #144 – THE FINAL FORM OF EVIL

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Welcome to an all new edition of Parlay points, the comic book review blog for the ODPH Podcast!

For this entry, we are checking out the conclusion of the first year of evil in Gotham City. While being locked away by Batman’s own creation, the Dark Knight has a very familiar cell mate. The Joker has been broken and beaten by Failsafe. The question of “How did we get here” has spiraled into a tale of two stories.

One has looked back to the early days of the Clown Prince of Crime. The other is a future with the final battle between the long time enemies. Both have sparked much talk amongst Batman fans. Now arriving at the end, how will Joker’s stories end?

BATMAN #144 by Chip Zdarsky, Andrea Sorrentino, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Dave Stewart, Alejandro Sánchez, and Clayton Cowles (DC COMICS) looks to provide a thrilling finale.

Let’s take a closer look and see how things end up.

Read Last Issue Review Here!

*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING ***

The final form of Evil. That is what Dr. Daniel Captio has created. After his rejection from Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Knight, Captio has come to Gotham to train Joker to be Batman’s ultimate rival. Captio’s work involves training Joker to have multiple personalities to handle situations. This mirrors Batman’s own Zur-En-Arrh. In Joker’s case, there are now three he can play with as needed.

Joker thanks Captio by killing him. Now without any fear holding him back, the reign of terror begins…

BATMAN #144 by Chip Zdarsky, Andrea Sorrentino, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Dave Stewart, Alejandro Sánchez, and Clayton Cowles (DC COMICS – Cover: Yasmine Putri)

Meanwhile in the future, Joker has turned the residents of Gotham into versions of himself. During Batman’s investigation, he finds his Bat Family among the victims. Catwoman has kept them safe. However, Joker has thwarted the good intentions. With the Bat-Family poised to attack, Batman strives to survive.

This issue picks up with the family poised to attack. The older Batman throws all his smoke bombs to escape. With the family loose, trying to save the city looks bleak. It is even bleaker with the Joker in hot pursuit.

Back in the past, Bruce Wayne is hosting a fundraiser for the Gotham Opera. A suspended Jim Gordan calls into Batman informing of the corrupt officers tied to The Red Hood Gang. Commissioner McLeod is currently leading the gang. Gordan sees them making a move after a big drug bust. Taking a risk, he goes into the police station to spy without Batman.

Inside the precinct, Manny Gabris (another Red Hood Gang member) celebrates the big score. With strength in numbers and a plan in place, they look to rob the police station of drugs and evidence.

However, there is someone at the station filing a complaint. A clown with a very vested interest in the two prime members. All it takes is one reckless action by Gabris and all Hell breaks loose.

Readers watch along as all the combustible elements finally explode at the Gotham PD. Joker vs. his old Gang with Jim Gordon caught in the crossfire. How will Gordon last without Batman to help?

As for the future, the final confrontation between Batman and Joker comes to a dramatic finish. Can Gotham be saved or has the Joker accomplished his endgame?

With each conclusion, each question is answered. Both stories conclude on a strong note. The past ends with a lasting moment for the ages. The future ending leaves a question for readers to ponder as they read Joker stories from here on out. It is a fitting bookend for a character who truly defines brilliant insanity.

Zdarsky plays up to Joker’s strengths with this final chapter. In the early days, the evolution of Joker’s planning is in full display. The attack on the former gang hits with precision. Even with the chaos around him, Joker navigates it to connect on his targets.

Gordon’s portion with this story stands out as well. The way he thwarts McLeod’s plans is vintage Gordon. It also might play into Joker’s attacks on the Gordon family down the road. The final moments are a great homage to “A Bronx Tale”.

The future story is a great final encounter diving back into the Love/Hate relationship between Batman and Joker. The old rivals know each other so well, yet there is something new learned in this encounter.

Zdarsky builds this element right to the conclusion. The ending moments leave readers with the parting shot and a new perspective. It’s a fitting conclusion for the closing chess match between the historic rivals.

The art teams showcase the multiple levels to each take. Camuncoli and company make the Gotham PD into a warzone in a short amount of time. Once Garbis makes his move, the imagery reflects the speed of the story. not lost in this is Joker’s laughing and evil smile. This is exemplified with a full page image revealing his true nature to those around him. The sadistic nature of Joker plays through right to the ending. It’s a fitting close as a new chapter begins.

FINAL POINT: 9

The history of the Clown Prince of Crime shines with the closing chapter of Joker: Year One. Zdarsky takes readers into a thrill-ride of dark madness with superb writing. The art teams construct solid action and moody imagery to exemplify Joker’s terror. For anyone who wants to peek inside Joker’s mind, this story needs to be in your collection.

Hit me up on ODPHpod social media and let me know your thoughts on Batman #144. Thanks for reading!

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Ken M.
Ken M.https://odphpodcast.com/
Executive Producer/Host of the ODPH (Ocho Duro Parlay Hour) Podcast. Ken is also Nerd Initiative's Comics Editor-In-Chief/Brand Advisor and host of "Turn A Page". Ken is also a freelance Pro Wrestling Blogger and an all around fan of Sports, Movies Tv, Comics and Pro Wrestling

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