The Joker’s Hilarious Riot Takes Los Angeles by Storm
March 8, 2023
The Los Angeles riot that The Joker caused is a reminder of how flexible and adaptable the Clown Prince of Crime is. It sets him apart in comparison to other DC Universe villains.
The following contains spoilers The Joker: #6 The Man Who Quit Laughing, now available at DC Comics.
The Joker is a villain that comics often consider to be one of the best. Since Batman’s earliest days, The Clown Prince of Crime has been around. He has undergone just as much evolution as his eternal foe, gradually becoming a more terrifying character. While some mass media versions have been able to find surprisingly endearing beats for the Joker, comic books offer a fresh take on the Joker.
Joker: The Man Who Stops Laughing #6 is written by Matthew Rosenberg (Carmine Di Giandomenico), Arif Parianto, and Tom Napolitano. It sees the Joker set off a violent riot most stories would take seriously. However, the creators of this series use the issue as a joke, rather than a thriller or horror story. It’s an excellent reminder of how versatile the Joker is as a character.
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The plot of The Joker, The Man Who Stood Laughing is dramatic for the most part. While there are moments of darkness, the series is a character study of a man who believes he’s the Joker. The “real” Joker was an ex-patriot who moved to Los Angeles to escape Gotham. After hearing that his counterpart is out on the streets, he decides it’s now time to go home. But he attacks LA and destroys multiple police stations at once, sparking a riot. Joker initially seems pleased with the turn of events. He has a private airplane ready to fly him out of the chaos. However, it turns out that his henchmen sent the plane from Burbank to LAX.
As the Joker attempts to make his way through Los Angeles, fully aware that it is burning, the story unfolds in a funny adventure. That premise could take many forms. It could also be used to reintroduce the horror elements that characterized its predecessors and previous issues. It could be a thrilling story about Joker trying to keep ahead of everyone. This could have been a drama that focused on how a city not conditioned to supervillains handles such an attack. The issue, however, plays up the chaos for pure dark comedy with many deaths and punchlines. It works.
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There have been many roles for the Joker. The Joker is capable of changing between frightening, funny, pathetic, and terrifying all in one scene. This ability partly explains his adaptability as well as endurance in pop culture. The Joker’s ability to instill fear has been his hallmark over the last ten years. Joker’s stories are focused on how terrifying the character is and his ability to disrupt entire cities with a single plan. Or simply appearing out of the darkness. The Jeker: The Man Who Has Never Stop Laughing #6 is a refreshing change of pace with its central premise.
He complains about LA’s traffic but finds himself impressed when he sees the chaos. He’s reluctantly forced into taking pictures of a Batman costumed man on Sunset Boulevard. He entertains unsuspecting tourists until he gets fed up and kills “Batman.” Even his attempt at getting a taxi is met with comical failure. Joker stories such as this are what distinguish him from the other remorseless serial murderers of Gotham. It gives him a personality villains like Professor Pyg or Zsasz cannot match. That strange depth of character that a simple villain can offer is one reason he’s so compelling. Joker having fun is something that has been missing in modern stories. It’s great to see that he’s finding that joy again.