In Batman #48 by Tom King, Mikel Janin, and June Chung, the Joker makes his first bold move toward crashing the Batman/Catwoman wedding by taking a very unexpected hostage.
The Best Man Part 1
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
Colors by: June Chung
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Batman and Catwoman decide it might be better to elope rather than go through some big, stodgy wedding ceremony, but no sooner do they put their marriage on the fast track than The Joker appears! And when The Joker kidnaps the Caped Crusader, will he give his old foe a piece of his mind or bash in his brains?
The first thing you will notice when you finish this book is that it is essentially one long monologue delivered by the Joker. The book starts with the Joker having taken a church by force; we open with a frightened church goer praying and quoting scripture. What King has done in this issue is make Joker the main character. He’s in almost every panel and certainly on every page. And as much as King’s portrayal of Joker in War Of Jokes and Riddles was fantastic, what he does here is even better. Joker is unhinged, violent, and funny; exactly as he should be. The body count is high in this issue as is the fright factor. It’s seriously one of the best Batman/Joker standoffs in years. Oh, and the ending sets up a puuurfect encounter as well!
Mikel Janin and colorist June Chung have created some of the best Batman pages ever. Their Joker has echoes of Brian Bolland’s medium-defining version in The Killing Joke but still has subtleties that make it completely unique. Just take a look at Joker’s wide-eyed expressions and body language. They also fill the background with gorgeous, detailed backgrounds and atmospheric settings. These are images to be poured over slowly and several times.
Notice has to be given to letterer Clayton Cowles as well, as this is an issue with a heavy amount of word balloons, sound effects, and narration boxes. All of it works beautifully with the art and is an integral part of why it all works.
As much as this issue is very firmly placed in the build-up toward the wedding, Batman #48 really works as an excellent stand-alone standoff issue between two of the greatest enemies in comic book history. Pick it up today.