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The Joker grins at the viewer, one hand raised in a circle over his eye, on the cover of Batman: Three Jokers #3, DC Comics (2020). Image: Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson/DC Comics

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DC’s big Joker event series ended with a rewrite of The Killing Joke

Just what everyone needed

After much anticipation and hoopla, Three Jokers, Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s comic event, has reached its conclusion. The series started with subtle homages to The Killing Joke, and it finished out with a whopper of a reference to the most famous attempt to give the Joker a concrete origin story.

In Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Jokemore famous for maiming Batgirl than for its Joker backstory — cast a pre-transformation Joker as an unnamed standup comedian struggling to support his pregnant wife. He takes on a gig with some petty thieves to make ends meet, she dies suddenly from some faulty wiring, and the combined trauma mixes together into the grinning man we all see before us today.

Three Jokers throws a twist on that, in a way that’s just as blunt as the last time Johns dabbled in Moore’s oeuvre.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Batman: Three Jokers #3

Police officers in the past help fake the Joker’s wife’s death, while in the present, Bruce Wayne looks in on her and her son in the present, in Three Jokers #3, DC Comics (2020). Image: Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok/DC Comics

See, in Three Jokers, it turns out that Joker’s wife went to to police to tell them that she was afraid to be around him and afraid he’d hurt her if she tried to leave, and instead of, I dunno, arresting him, the cops “pooled together” some of their own money to help her fake her own death and set up a secret new life in Alaska and then when she was safe still didn’t arrest him and Batman has known about this the whole time.

In case you’re wondering, no, Three Jokers is not set within main DC canon.

Immortal Hulk #39

The Leader consumes the soul of Bruce Banner’s dead father, his face splitting open to reveal and extend a terrible proboscis with a lampre-like mouth on the end, before retracting into his skull so he can swallow, throat distending grostesquely in Immortal Hulk #39, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Al Ewing, Joe Bennett/Marvel Comics

Just when you think Al Ewing and Joe Bennett probably won’t come up with a new, even worse, body-horror splash page in Immortal Hulk, something like this happens.

Giga #1

“Okay, this is me,” says a character. Their apartment is a massive mech robot in seated position, in Giga #1, Vault Comics. Image: Alex Paknadel, John Lê/Vault Comics

Giga, a new series from Alex Paknadel and John Lê at John Vault Comics. Once upon a time, giant robots used earth as their battleground, and then one day they all shut down. Now humanity’s survivors live inside their big abandoned bodies and have weird religions and salvage them for parts and stuff. If that sounds like your kind of thing, then this is a comic you should definitely pick up. Also! It’s got a wheelchair-using protagonist, which is pretty rare for post-apocalypse fiction.

Suicide Squad #10

The Suicide Squad battles armed soldiers in a riot of color and punches in Suicide Squad #10, DC Comics (2020). Image: Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo/DC Comics

This is just to say that Bruno Redondo and Adriano Lucas make Suicide Squad a joy to look at every month and I’ll be sad when it’s over.

Wynd #5

Wynd uses his new wings for the first time to save his friends in Wynd #5, Boom Studios (2020). Image: James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas/Boom Studios

Speaking of being sad that it’s over, Wynd — a fantasy comic where magic is a metaphor for queer identity but also is full of queer teens who have cute crushes on each other — had a really solid first arc and I’m only mad that it won’t be coming back until next May.

X of Swords: Stasis #1

Pogg Ur-Pogg brandishes his sword, Pogg Ur-Pogg, as he declares that he will join the swordbearers of Arakko, in X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz, Mahmud Asrar/Marvel Comics

This is Pogg Ur-Pogg. He’s one of the swordbearers the X-Men have to fight. His sword is also named Pogg Ur-Pogg.

I love Pogg Ur-Pogg.

Sex Criminals #69

Suzie and Jon stand on the beach at dawn, pinkies linked, in Sex Criminals #69, Image Comics (2020). Image: Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky/Image Comics

Sex Criminals came to its happy ending this week. Hug your local brimper, once you check for enthusiastic consent.

Runaways #32

Demoralized and injured, the Runaways share a pizza in their superhero getups in Runaways #32, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Rainbow Rowell, Natacha Bustos/Marvel Comics

RUNAWAYS IS BACK. This is the first issue of Runaways since the Diamond shutdown — lemme check my watch — over six months ago. What’s going on with everybody’s favorite teens with difficulties? They’re defeated, demoralized, and reassessing everything. So, typical stuff.

The Department of Truth #2

Cole explains that what he now knows, as an agent of the Department of Truth, has a personal component for him: The Satanic Panic, in The Department of Truth #2, Image Comics (2020). Image: James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds/Image Comics

A second twist for The Department of Truth, a series set in a world where, if enough people believe in a conspiracy theory, it becomes true — about the secret government agents to monitor conspiracy theorists to make sure they don’t alter reality. Cole, the newest agent of the Department, has a personal relationship with a specific conspiracy theory. He now knows that the night terror and boogeyman implanted in his memories as a child could actually become real.


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