Batman #143 Review

Batman #142 Review – “The Joker: Year One”

Batman entered 2024 with a major defeat at the hand of his own creation. Batman of Zur-En-Arrh utterly defeated Bruce Wayne. Afterwards Batman of Zur-En-Arrh placed Bruce inside a prison with Joker as his “roommate.” With this development we are now entering into a month where we will get a new Joker: Year One story. Taking place over several Batman issues released in February this story could set the course for Batman’s direction for the rest of 2024. Let’s see if does just that with Batman #142.


Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Sorrentino

Inker: Stefano Nesi and Andrea Sorrentino

Colorists: Alejandro Sánchez and Dave Stewart

Letterer: Clayton Cowles


“THE JOKER YEAR ONE, REVEALED BY CHIP ZDARSKY AND GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI! 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? And how does it affect Batman’s distant future? “The Joker Year One” begins here!” – DC Comics


Immediately The Joker: Year One gives off the feeling that it’ll read better as a collected story than individual chapters. This is simply because of Batman #142 pacing going back and forth between the past and future timelines. While they had the running connection of being the latest chapter in the never-ending Batman vs Joker story one was stronger than the other.

The biggest problem with this decision to go back and forth between the two timelines is that it created a lack of confidence in the Joker: Year One story. That was felt whenever we spent several pages in the Joker: Year One story. We’ve gotten so many different Joker stories where he is the protagonist, nothing about this story is new. There is just a lot of recycled elements from other stories such as The Killing Joke, The Man Behind the Red Hood, and Three Jokers.

To Zdarsky’s credit, he does try to streamline a lot of the Joker stories we’ve gotten over the decades. Taking inspiration from all the Joker stories up to this point to create a story that aligns with Scott Snyder’s Year Zero updated Batman origin does work in its own way. Zdarsky does a great job at capturing the modern early days of Gotham City set up by Year Zero. The corruption within the city is on full display when Batman eventually appears his back-and-forth with James Gordon means more.

On the Joker side of things, the most interesting part of his character was the ending of the Year One story. Joker being approached by one of Bruce Wayne’s mentors creates a lot of questions about what Zdarsky is planning. It doesn’t make the rest of the Joker: Year One story in Batman #142 better. The uncertainty in what comes next is what is what this part of the story needs.

Joker World - Batman #143
All of Gotham City is shown to become Joker in a possible future shown in Batman #143. Credit: DC Comics

Giuseppe Camuncoli’s artwork for this major part of Batman #142 was solid. Camuncoli taps into the energy that Greg Capullo designed the Batman: Zero Year origin story to have. Though the Gotham City we get does lack the rough, gritty look. There is too much use of bright colors that work in contrast to the tone of the story.

What saved this Joker: Year One story was all the future timeline scenes. This future story feels new, especially compared to the rehash that was the Year One story. Zdarsky giving us a glimpse of a future where Joker infected at least Gotham City, if not the world, to Jokerized most of the population was very intriguing. There was a DCeased-like vibe to the zombie apocalypse that Joker has created in this possible future.

Batman’s inner monologue works well to speak on how this possible future is part of his eternal battle with the Joker. Of all the past Joker stories the Year One story is much better integrated with the future scenes. The brief dialogue from the future Joker gives to Batman has so many layers that speak towards their never-ending battle. These two have been locked in combat for so long that this look into the future does feel like it is the eventual result of Batman vs Joker.

With this dark Jokerized future Andrea Sorrentino was a great fit to get over the unique horror of this world. Sorrentino’s artwork gives a distinct look to this future Batman timeline that is different from everything we get from DC Comics. It helps it stand out above the Joker: Year One. The final shot of Gotham City’s citizens being transformed into the Joker was terrifying.


Batman #142 is a mixed bag of two Joker-centric timelines that each hit on the opposite sides of the intrigue scale. The Joker: Year One story is just a blended-up smoothie of Joker stories we’ve gotten for over eight decades. Luckily, the DCeased-like possible future Joker creates interest in finding out what Chip Zdarsky has planned with this story arc. It’s enough to buy into this Batman story that’ll be told over the next three weeks.

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10