A Look At One Of The Most Underrated Comics Of All Time
Credit: Wordpress/ Holy Comics Batman!
I have grown to love one-shots. As the list of my favorite ones grows, it becomes more likely that you'll see a list of them one day. But for now, let me focus on highlighting, as the title suggests, another claim to the "Most Underrated" crown.
There are many reasons why Batman is my hero. The most relevant reason for this piece is simply the overwhelming volume and quality of his stories. He has a ton of them. So much so that there are a number of great stories that fly completely under the radar. I just read one in fact. It was The Joker: Devil's Advocate by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan.
Don't be fooled by the title, this story may bare Joker's name, this is as much, if not more, of a Batman story. The quick version of the story's plot - The Joker is basically framed for a crime that he surprisingly did not commit. He is tried and sentenced to death. While everyone is overjoyed that finally the man responsible for so much anguish will be gone from the world, there is only one person that sees that he is innocent and goes to prove it: Batman.
Those close to Batman are very perplexed. Even if Joker is innocent of this particular crime, he has been guilty of SO much over the years that he has gotten away with that who cares? It especially troubles them that Batman of all people, the man has terrorized and haunted maybe almost as the man that killed his parents that night, is the one to try to set him free.
Now, I must admit. At first this did read as another hampering on Batman's no killing rule. But that all changes in the last two pages. Batman successfully proves Joker's innocence. See, Joker's forthcoming execution was earning him tons of publicity and money to the point of him telling his attorney not to appeal so that he can die in the spotlight. That is taken away when his innocence is proven by Batman. The last two pages, Joker is alone in his cell at Arkham seemingly content with just being alive. Then Batman visits him and takes that away too by telling him that he saved him and every breath he takes is owed to him. The Joker, shattered, screams in horror as Batman leaves.
Batman finally got back at the Joker. After all the heartache and the blows dealt by Joker over the years, Batman won. Something seemingly improbable was accomplished here. Keeping in mind that he does not kill, Batman got revenge on The Joker by saving his life. Brilliant.
While the art is usually usually on par with the writing, every so often Nolan does take a misstep, and they usually look rushed because of deadlines (I'm guessing).
Overall, do yourself a favor and go read this, I can't recommend it anymore!