icon_uk: (Default)
icon_uk ([personal profile] icon_uk) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2012-05-20 08:20 pm

One of my favourite Batman stories - Batman #321 "Dreadful Birthday Dear Joker"

Another "Accentuate the Positive" post, one which I have posted bits of before, and had posted on s_d 1.0, but which I've checked and I haven't posted on here, which surprises me, but any excuse, as we venture into a story where we discover that it must have been one HELL of a party last night for Robin..

This cover was one which almost literally leapt out from the newsrack shouting "BUY ME ICON_UK! BUY ME NOW!" and it should come as no surprise to you, that I did... It's PERFECT!

Though one has to wonder that Dick elbow appears to be on fire... maybe long sleeves ARE the way to go..

We open with Jim Gordon coming into Police Headquarters on a dark and stormy night in Gotham, and finding that a message has been delivered to him, an invitation to the Joker's birthday party.

Simonson does a REALLY nice Joker, amongst many other things, and it's nice that the Jokermobile got an appearance...

The Joker also asks a fairly reasonable question here..

One wonders WHY he hasn't got the Batmobile if he was coming to Police HQ... maybe on his way back to Wayne Enterprises Toiwer, where the Batcave was located in this era.

One of the officers notes that this means the Joker has Gordon as well. Batman queries what he means and the officer quickly explains that they've just heard from New Carthage Police (Dick was at Hudson University in New Carthage in this era too)

This is just the sort of trap for an aspiring Teen Wonder. Batman probably wouldn't have fallen for it, but Robin certainly would... though given the Joker's face, that must be one very convincing mask.

We leave our Hunk Wonder all gummed up and on his knees in front of the Joker and I leave you to apply your own context to what might have happened next.

Later that night the Joker also raids Bruce Wayne's penthouse, and kidnaps, of all people, Alfred. He is interrupted by Bruce Wayne's then current girlfriend, a reformed Selina Kyle.

I love the Joker's whimsically offensive practical jokes, (See, they don't need to be LETHAL DC, just... debilitating)

And now we start to see the Joker's plan.... (And I do want to mention that Dick appears to have been more tightly tied up than anyone else, but they've left a VERY vulnerable area uncovered by the ropes. Whatever Mr J is paying his henchmen... worth EVERY penny) and one of my favourite Joker scenes ever.

But Batman has, not surprisingly, noticed the advert too, and is quite aware that the Harlequin Baking Company doesn't actually exist

(I'll also mention that Alfred was a target because he had been instrumental; in foiling a Joker plan in a Brave and the Bold story the previous year. The others aside from Robin and Gordon, are unknowns)

So the big night arrives, and the place is crowded. Suddenly gas emerges from the AC, and paralyses the entire crowd. They're not dead or anything, just completely unable to move or make a sound.

And with a suitably captive audience, the Joker, chronic ham that he is, makes his big entrance, and I have to say, it's a classic.

"The Joker promised the a show...."

So of course, Batman had sussed the Joker's plan (He's Batman after all). He hadn't been able to intervene to rescue Robin and the other because the Joker's men had at least one of them covered by guns at all times when he was setting them up on the cake. But he had been able to rig the central candel he was sure had been reserved for him so instead of going "Boom!" it went "Blast Off!".

Freeing himself just as the candle finally does go boom, he launches several batarangs at the same time, because... well, because it's cool that way.

Dick looks like he's about to have some fun.

But the Joker takes advantage of the melee to escape in a motorboat he had prepared as an escape route.

Yup, Batman waterskies! (Well, sort of!) Having made it onto the boat, and avoiding acid squirting flowers. Batman sees the boat is heading towards some large rocks, and reaches out to grab the Joker, but the Joker's hand comes off in Batman's hand and as he falls back into the water he sees...

The Dynamdic Duo and Gordon ponder whether this time the Joker has met his maker, but Batman, who'd like to think so, suspects that that is NOT the case.

And so ends one of THE classic Batman/Joker stories IMHO (And not just because of the preponderance of tied up Robin): Aside from the Simonson art, which is gorgeous, It's a simple, straightforward little story with a nice warped core idea from the Joker and which Batman outsmarts in 18 pages or so. Lovely! :)

his_spiffynesss: (Default)

[personal profile] his_spiffynesss 2012-05-20 09:16 pm (UTC)(link)
There is one thing the New 52 needs: The return of the Joker Mobile!
katzedecimal: me playing superhero to Wilma the rescue rat. (hope)

[personal profile] katzedecimal 2012-05-20 10:42 pm (UTC)(link)
They don't write 'em like that anymore.
bewareofgeek: (Default)

[personal profile] bewareofgeek 2012-05-21 12:51 am (UTC)(link)
Of course, Dini also adapted another Simonson-drawn classic, "The Cape & Cowl Deathtrap", which includes a classic twist.
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)

[personal profile] sistermagpie 2012-05-20 10:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I love that I can't see that cover and not think: Icon_UK!
riddler13: (Default)

[personal profile] riddler13 2012-05-20 11:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Like me, you also appreciate a Joker who's intelligent, not a simple mass-murderer.

Even the complete mess that was Spider-Man/Batman gets it right: just slaughtering everyone wouldn't be FUN!
silverzeo: (Default)

[personal profile] silverzeo 2012-05-21 01:06 am (UTC)(link)
Hey... with all the Batman shows since the 90s... how come we haven't seen more Joker vs Catwoman action?

[personal profile] nemryn 2012-05-21 02:51 am (UTC)(link)
That last scan is classic Joker. He's so happy he tricked Batman again, he doesn't even care about the rocks.
skemono: I read dead racists (Default)

[personal profile] skemono 2012-05-21 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Agreed. That's brilliant.
lascoden: Anarky (Default)

[personal profile] lascoden 2012-05-21 04:55 am (UTC)(link)
That Joker-Mobile will haunt my dreams. The face is so...realistic. I'm imagining the Batmobile just having Batman's face right on the front.
magus_69: (pic#370600)

[personal profile] magus_69 2012-05-21 08:20 am (UTC)(link)
This story remains awesome. I can see why it was chosen for The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told.
cainofdreaming: b/w (Default)

[personal profile] cainofdreaming 2012-05-21 12:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I own this comic. Heh. Well, the Finnish printing, at least.

I've got to agree with everyone, Simonson is the bard when it comes to good old fashioned comic stories. He just makes them flow.
kraesil: (Default)

[personal profile] kraesil 2012-05-21 12:53 pm (UTC)(link)
I like this Joker. More insane plans and twisted jokes, less the whole "Killer without a pattern" blah blah blah ofc-the-Joker-is-really-terrible-I-mean-he-kills-a-bunch-of-people-right?
akodo_rokku: (Default)

[personal profile] akodo_rokku 2012-05-21 02:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I rather loved the repurposing of that same speargun gag in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
darth_cloudo: (Default)

[personal profile] darth_cloudo 2012-05-21 03:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I wish there were more stories like this in recent comics. It seems like most of the newer stories can only establish a villain as, well, a villain by making them either mass murderers or gore-loving monsters, rarely as a cunning and capable mastermind (albeit an insane one). These stories (like the one you posted above) are generally more fun in my opinion.

Also, that Joker-mobile is really scary. o _o;
darth_cloudo: (Default)

[personal profile] darth_cloudo 2012-05-23 06:01 pm (UTC)(link)
You never know...I find that the villains and the plots that are getting a bit stale as of late - maybe the change to a more creative villain would be so refreshing that it would even bring in new readers. :D Although that could just be wishful thinking.
ext_551527: (Default)

[identity profile] twospirit.blogspot.com 2012-05-21 04:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Hah! This is perfect for you, Icon! And a fun story with great art. Thanks for sharing!
skemono: I read dead racists (Default)

[personal profile] skemono 2012-05-21 08:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Does the Joker have a retractable chin? Where did it go while he was wearing that mask? Where did it go??
jlroberson: (Default)

[personal profile] jlroberson 2012-05-22 04:34 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, this one is such an absolutely perfect story. And about as representative of late-Bronze Batman as one is likely to get.

From that same era though I've always been partial to the story of Clayface 3.