Three Jokers Book 3 – And Punchline – Are Sequels To The Killing Joke

This week sees the publication of the final chapter of the long-awaited Batman: Three Jokers by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok. Now, the similarity between this book at The Killing Joke has been pointed out a number of times. How Fabok's work maps to Brian Bolland, the tight panel structure, and the references to The Killing Joke, amongst many other Batman stories. But I understand that this issue, more than any other, is both a direct sequel to the Joker's origin as explained in The Killing Joke. In that original comic, written by Alan Moore, the story of a failing stand-up comedian who gets used as a gangster patsy, The Red Hood, taken down by Batman, and suffering the death of his family, sending him insane, this was seen as coming from an unreliable narrator. The Killing Joke was an origin but there is no actual confirmation that this is the real one, just multiple choice. The Three Jokers has literalised that, giving us multiple Jokers with multiple origins and stories. But the third issue directly and explicitly used the Killing Joke backstory – and rewrites it in the process. This makes three-for-three direct sequels of Alan Moore work from Geoff Johns, The Three Jokers, Doomsday Clock and Blackest Night.

Three Jokers Book 3 - And Punchline - Are Sequels To The Killing Joke
Three Jokers Book 3 – And Punchline – Are Sequels To The Killing Joke

But he's not alone in this. The upcoming Punchline one-shot by James Tynion IV,Sam Johns and Mirka Andolfo goes into similar areas, with Punchline the author of a podcast that has been running for years, cataloguing and exploring the work of The Joker, before she started re-enacting them. And it follows a similar path to The Three Jokers, including the likes of joker fish but also revisiting The Joker fairground of The Killing Joke, how it still exists, but asking questions as to what happened there, why, and how it involved the Gordons.

So either way, if you haven't reread The Killing Joke in some time, maybe it would be a good time to reread it? If recent issues of Batgirl haven't inspired you to do it anyway?

Spinning out of the pages of "The Joker War" comes the first solo book starring the blockbuster new character Punchline. As she faces the consequences for her role in "The Joker War," the story of how Alexis Kaye became Punchline will take Leslie Thompkins, Harper Row, and Cullen Row on a harrowing journey that reveals a fringe teenager's radicalization to the ideology of a madman. It's a terrifying tale so big it demanded an oversize special issue! In Shops: Nov 10, 2020 SRP: $5.99

The final chapter of the most terrifying and personal Batman mystery is here!
Still reeling from their last encounter with the three Jokers, Batman, Batgirl, and Red Hood discover the terrible truth about the Three Jokers' plot. Will the caped crusaders have the strength needed to put an end to the maniacal menaces' master plan once and for all, or will it be lights out for good? You won't want to miss the stunning conclusion of Batman: Three Jokers as it completes its trajectory as the ultimate examination of The Joker and his never-ending conflict with Batman. In Shops: Oct 28, 2020 SRP: $6.99

Three Jokers Book 3 - And Punchline - Are Sequels To The Killing Joke
Three Jokers Book 3 – And Punchline – Are Sequels To The Killing Joke

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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