The penultimate issue of the 'Knight and Squire' min-series 'For Six' is among us and oh boy is it a good on! We open the issue with a good old fashioned double entendre and we know we're in for another silly but undoubtedly fun ride in the Knight and Squire universe, however, after this light-hearted opening we find out that Jarvis Poker (The British Joker) is terminally ill. In a traditional British, stiff-upper-lip fashion, Jarvis attempts to make light of the situation but the doctor giving him the bad news remains official and solemn… a nod to the later themes of this issue (but we'll get to that later)!
We cut to Jarvis sitting at home with his pet cat watching Knight and Squire on 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross' (A popular chat show in Britain for those of you who don't know) where Ross mocks the British Joker for being a "cheap knockoff of the real thing". Jarvis is enraged and attempts to justify his existence with a crime-wave which turns out to be no worse than a series of pranks, i.e. attempting to rob a bank with a water pistol or hijacking a car, only to be offered a lift. With the public seeing him as no more than a joke, Jarvis enters a well of depression until Knight and Squire appear on TV once more. With the use of her powers, Squire deduced that Jarvis was dying and that was the reason for his strange behavior, and with the same odd mentality that we have come to expect from British superheroes, Knight and Squire convince the public that the British Joker's crimes are not a laughing matter but a serious pattern of sinister events. This is all to make Jarvis feel better about himself in his last days and to get the public to stop laughing at him.
Jarvis is grateful for the publicity but makes an attempt to create a genuine puzzle for the duo and over the next few days, giant banners sporting lyrics from novelty songs are hung up on famous bridges all over Britain. With the help of Hank, Cyril's butler who we were introduced to last issue, Knight and Squire work out Jarvis' next target and confront him. To play along, Knight attempts to pretend to arrest Jarvis but he escapes with the use of sneezing powder (how comes no one's tried that on Batman?) and we next see Jarvis a week later on London's Tower Bridge.
Waiting for a blimp so that he can turn the River Thames pink, Jarvis is interrupted by The Shrike who believes he has caught Jarvis red handed. The British Joker attempts to explain the deal that he and Knight have but before he can even finish his sentence, a pistol creeps in from off panel, accompanied by purple gloved hand. The pistol fires and The Shrike is shot… IN THE FACE! As The Shrike's lifeless body falls into the river below, the shadowy figure reveals himself to be the real Joker.
Now if you've been reading this mini-series consistently, this next panel would have shocked you! I rarely make involuntary noises when reading, but this reveal made me gasp! The tone just drops, all the expectations we had from this series disappear in one moment, reality strikes and all of the fun and games from the first 4 and a half issues are broken down to rubble.
Back to the story (oh yes, it keeps going) the real Joker upset that Jarvis is stealing all of the attention for when people talk about the Joker on the internet, they're now referring to Jarvis. In a furious revenge strategy, the Joker tells Jarvis that he is going to be his side-kick as he hunts down and kills every last superhero in Britain.
This issue really blew me away, definitely my favorite of the series so far and I really hope that this tone continues into the last issue of the series. If The Shrike remains dead it will add a really interesting side to Squire, seeing as he was her boyfriend, and she might become rebellious and murderous with rage. I want to see the Joker kill off these naive "superheroes" and, seeing as I'm sure Knight and Squire will inevitably defeat the Joker, I'm really looking forward to seeing how they manage it. I can't wait for the next issue and can't praise this issue high enough but seeing as I'm held back by the confines of only 5 batarangs it's going to have to be 5 out of 5! Unfortunately, if you haven't been reading the series from the beginning I don't think you'll get as much out of the issue but it's still an amazing read.
Knight and Squire #5:
Reviewed by jinksybaby