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The Joker: Year One will reveal a new secret history of Batman’s archfoe in 2024

From Chip Zdarsky, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrea Sorrentino, and more

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

It was only a matter of time before current Batman scribe Chip Zdarsky squared up to take a swing at a Joker story, and that time will be this February, in a weekly-published story told in three parts. And Zdarsky isn’t giving himself any easy outs, titling the arc The Joker: Year One.

Batman: Year One, any Batman fan can tell you, is the most influential Batman comic of the modern age, so invoking the Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli classic is no small thing. Similar to how Batman: Year One published over four issues of the Batman ongoing series, Joker: Year One will run for three issues of Batman: #142, #143, and #144. It will hit shelves on three Tuesdays in February.

“The Dark Knight will discover the terrible secret behind his greatest enemy!” boasts DC’s news release. “The tragic ‘death’ of the leader of the Red Hood Gang in a vat of chemicals has become the subject of myth… but what is the heartbreaking and gruesome tale of the monster who walked away from that violent birth?”

As each issue’s main story uncovers the Joker’s past, a back up story will reach into Batman’s future, featuring a revived Red Hood gang, a virus, and “a future where The Joker looms over everything.” The main story will feature art from Giuseppe Camuncoli (Hellblazer), while the backups will be drawn by Andrea Sorrentino (Gideon Falls).

With a three part story, there’s bound to be speculation that Zdarsky will pick up on the dangling maybe-canon-maybe-not reveal that the Joker has actually been three different guys this whole time, but we’ll probably have to wait until February to find out the real truth. I’d be pretty skeptical of it, but if Chip Zdarsky can even get me to like a Batman of Zur-En-Arrh story, he can probably do anything.

Check out art and covers from The Joker: Year One below:

The Joker’s image is reflected in a bat-shaped puddle. His eyes are not visible, but he’s grinning and holding his Red Hood mask.
The cover of Batman #142.
Image: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Tomeu Morey/DC Comics
The Joker laughs, with his hands to his head, in an homage to The Killing Joke, in a second panel his laughter dies away and his eyes look to the side.
Art from Batman #142
Image: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Alejandro Sánchez/DC Comics
Investigating a crime scene, Batman reads a handwritten note that says I’LL SEE YOU SOON.
Art from Batman #142’s backup story.
Image: Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart/DC Comics
The Joker reels backwards screaming as a clawed Batman reaches for him.
The cover of Batman #143.
Image: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Tomeu Morey/DC Comics
Jim Gordon faces off against the Joker in a house of mirrors — some of the mirrors reflect two Jokers instead of Jim and the Joker. Gordon has a pistol gripped in both hands.
The cover of Batman #144.
Image: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Tomeu Morey/DC Comics

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