Batman: Gotham Knights #54
Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Pushback Book Five
Green Arrow joins the hunt for Prometheus.
Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Pencils: Al Barrionuevo & Javier Pina
Inks: Francis Portela & Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics
It’s interesting that the most frequent criticism of Lieberman’s writing on this title is that he doesn’t have a very good handle on The Joker, then he turns out an issue like this, which is basically a retelling of the Joker’s origin according to Alan Moore. The Joker has spent 12 years trying to find the man who murdered his wife, and now that the information is at his fingertips, he pauses to reflect on how he got where he is.
Which is really where the problem comes in – the Joker is simply not a reflective character. He’s never been the sort to pontificate about the past – he’s about the now, the chaos, the turmoil he can create in the present. Past and future have never help much import for him. If finding his wife’s murderer is so important to him, why has he spent the past twelve years creating smiling fish and trapping Batman in enormous jack-in-the-boxes? Reading the issue the way it’s written paints the Joker’s entire career up to this point is the comic book equivalent of O.J. looking for the real killers.
Again, I really like Barrionuevo’s artwork on this title – he does a great Batman and Robin and has a good handle on the villains, who are really the stars of the piece. He shares penciling duties with Javier Pina this issue, but their styles are either very similar or Pina has adapted his style to mesh with Barrionuevo’s, because the transitions are seamless. I really can’t tell where one artist departs and the other comes in.
Lieberman’s initial Gotham Knights arc has been pretty much average throughout. He’s got skill at certain things, but has chosen to focus this storyline on things he’s just not as good at. Hopefully after “Pushback” concludes next issue, he’ll shift the focus of the book back to the Batman family, because I think that will be his best chance to really shine.