Brave and the Bold #31
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Chard Hardin and Justiniano
Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of comics that try to explore Joker’s pre-joker past. I like the Killing Joke’s idea that we will never know the true origin because he is crazy and tells different stories. It makes him scarier as a character. If we understand him then he becomes less scary. But this issue managed to avoid that. Sure we get the idea that Joker was a criminal before becoming the Joker (although this was in his brain, and he is the Joker and could have false memories) but JMS never tries to explain why Joker is evil. He just is even as a small child. I would say this is probably JMS’s best issue so far. There wasn’t any strange dialogue or mischaracterization, it worked. I don’t quite buy the idea that because the Atom goes into the Joker’s brain he could become more like the Joker (especially since it is not like this is the first time Ray has been in someone’s brain) but I do like the idea that Ray had to decide whether or not he should even save the Joker’s life. Of course we knew he would make the right decision, but if he didn’t contemplate letting him die it would be even more of a stretch. That being said I see no reason why this issue couldn’t have featured Ryan Choi – he isn’t appearing anywhere else it would have been nice to give him some spotlight here.