Nothing funny about Joker and the GCPD

Who’s the scariest of the Gotham supervillains?  Sure, a bunch of them have horrific and catastrophic powers, but it’d be difficult to find someone to argue against the Joker.  Maybe it’s his unpredictability and psychosis.  Maybe it’s his massive body count and lack of motive.  But when word gets out that the Joker’s running free, the city pees its metaphorical pants.

In 2003, DC had the genius idea to publish a series focusing on the Gotham police instead of Batman. If you enjoy crime procedurals and normal folks mixing it up with Batman’s rogue gallery, you’d love this series.  Today, we’re going to focus on the police’s interactions with Joker in Gotham Central #12-15, written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka and drawn by Michael Lark.

So a sniper has been assassinating important people all over Gotham.  The mystery simmers for a while, but you can probably already figure out who’s behind the murders from today’s title.

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Time to tell the boss the bad news.

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Gotham’s savior confirms it:

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Remember, while a few of these upcoming scenes may resemble The Dark Knight (though this series came out five years before the movie), Joker has been causing mayhem in the DC universe for probably two decades of comic book years.  This is before the reboot, meaning Batman — and subsequently the Joker — are most likely about 40 years old.  So when the cops realize the Joker’s behind the string of killings, they know full well what he’s capable of.  And rightfully fearful.

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Okay, if you buy and read the book, you’ll know a bigger plot about a bomb about to go off in the city, a timer counting down, targets being kidnapped and hidden.  It’s extremely well done, but today I want to concentrate only on one single part:

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The famous interrogation room scene!  All good police dramas have to have them, and for good reason.  How’s the Joker’s interrogation go?  Would you guess not well?

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Now go back and read that scene in your favorite Joker voice.  Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, etc.  By the way, that female cop in the page above?  That’s Renee Montoya, who was outed as a lesbian the arc before this and later becomes the superhero the Question.  She becomes a very positive Hispanic and gay role model in comics and her impact shouldn’t be understated.  Back to our story, taking into consideration what they’ve learned, the police do the responsible police thing.

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A general rule of thumb is to never underestimate the Joker.  I believe he once got to the point where he had harvested so much poison and bacteria under his fingernails that the tiniest scratch could kill a victim.  Trust me, and Scott Snyder’s current run proves it, whatever’s campy about the Joker has been long gone for many, many years.  Dude’s a terror, and a few policemen make a grave error in forgetting that.

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You know what scares the Joker?  Damn right, nothing.

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Know about Sarah-Essen Gordon?  She’s Commissioner Gordon’s second wife who the Joker shot while she protected a group of infants.  Oh, and now the cop lets his guard down.

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Poor intern.  Luckily, like all good suspense, the girl gets saved just in time.

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Of course the Joker survives.  The reason why isn’t as important as the fact that he does.  His reign of terror paused momentarily.  As you no doubt realized, it’s not easy to be a Gotham city police officer.

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Metropolis cops are wussies.

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3 Comments on “Nothing funny about Joker and the GCPD”

  1. Jason says:

    Considering that the Joker is as feared by villains as he is by heroes, and he exists in a world where some of the villains have superhuman powers, there’s no real reason why he’s alive.

    A first person narrative would be something like.

    “You’re not the Bat.” His voice is almost comical in its tone, but I don’t underestimate him. Cemeteries are full of men who underestimated him. I incline my cowled head, he’s right of course, the outfit is like Batman’s, enough to fool the henchmen holding my arms, but not someone who’s fought the Bat so many times over the years.

    He raises his automatic, aiming it at the bat insignia spread across my chest. I don’t struggle, I want the henchmen complacent. “Too bad for you,” he squeezes the trigger and flame erupts from the barrel. I grunt as a sensation akin to a heavy fist hits me. Like Batman the chest is armoured, but he’s loading with something much heavier than normal. I feel the bullet punch through, bursting into my flesh, cracking a rib…

    Yeah, cracking a rib. I’m not Superman, but it takes a bit more than a pistol bullet to do me serious injury. I slump forward though, letting them think I’m hurt worse than I am. The men start to let me fall, and then I move.

    My hands slam back, the heels of my fists connecting with the goons, in the same area the psycho shot me… the difference though is that I hit hard enough, fast enough, to pulp everything between their sternum and their spine, and smash their ribs into kindling. They’re thrown back as I lunge forward.

    Another bullet catches me, high in the shoulder, and a third goes over my head. Then his hand is in mine, and I’m crushing his fingers into the unyielding steel of his weapon. He doesn’t scream as I lift him by his throat. His mad eyes seem almost sane as I begin to squeeze. I hear a scream, a lithe figure lashes from the darkness, clawing at me.

    “Don’t hurt Mr J.” I slap her aside with my free hand, more gently than the goons, she’ll live.

    My attention returns to the dying man. He’s no longer clawing at my wrist, and instead his eyes display a final grim acceptance of the inevitable. I close my fist, finishing it quickly as his head and body part company. I see a final mocking smile on his face as his head rolls.

    I check the unconscious Harlie. In a moment of sympathy I carry her from the carnage before chaining her to a wall bracket. A call to the Police will have them here shortly to pick her up.

    I walk away from the building, not looking back.

  2. Jason says:

    Thanks. I like to write but I really dislike Joker.


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