Overview: Joker and his crew continue to wreak havoc throughout the city of L.A. while Manhunter chases after them, intent to stop things by any means necessary in The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #7.
Editor’s Note: Due to the anthology nature of this collection, we will feature a synopsis and analysis for each story rather than breaking up the synopsis and analysis. Spoilers are sure to be revealed.
Story #1: “The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing ” Part 7 by writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico
Synopsis: As The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #7 begins in Sherman Oaks, LA, an AA meeting has several people in attendance, one of whom is Kate Spencer, otherwise known as Manhunter. Things have been hard for her recently due to being a late-night superhero (although this she doesn’t mention out loud), and alcohol is being used to deal with it, and sadly her son is paying the price. Trying to balance being a good mother for her child while also balancing the urge to be a superhero is hard and—
Her thoughts are interrupted by a groundbreaking boom, and an explosion can be seen in the distance. Grabbing her coat, Kate disappears.
A short time later, the Joker and Manhunter trade blows in front of a crowd of onlookers and tourists who believe the fight is staged. A spray of Joker gas to the face and Manhunter is down for the count while the Joker brings forth a civilian as a volunteer in his next act, which ends quickly with a bullet into the man’s face. The Joker wants some respect, and apparently, shooting people until their well and truly afraid of him is his best recourse to get some.
Shortly after, the Joker’s henchman, Waffles, arrives in a police car he’s obtained, and they depart, screeching down the streets of LA and taking out anything (helicopters included) that get in their way. The only thing that derails them is the temptation of In-N-Out before the flight, so they veer off to make a quick pit stop.
Manhunter suddenly comes awake and wastes no time stealing (borrowing) someone’s motorcycle to chase after the Joker.
In Gotham Central, an imprisoned Jason Todd is pulled to his feet; it’s time to move him to Blackgate so he can no longer be called a flight risk.
22,000 feet over LA, a passenger aboard the plane decides that it’s absolutely ridiculous that the plane can’t land in LA due to a curfew instated by law enforcement after the Joker’s bomb detonated. And so he parachutes off the plane, heading down towards the city of angels and his target: the Joker.
On the road, the Joker and his henchmen are not at all impressed with the quality of food (the fries are no good) or the heavy LA traffic that isn’t thinning out. However, it looks like some people are able to get through with more ease than others…Manhunter expertly weaves her way through the stopped cars, gunning for the Joker. Strongarming their way onto the shoulder, the Joker peels down the freeway heedless of the cars he hits in the process. The chase continues, neither giving up ground until Manhunter manages to stop the car (or rather cause it to flip several times over before essentially exploding) by the LA River. She doesn’t intend to save the Joker; she intends to drown him.
Meanwhile, under Gotham, the ‘other’ Joker slowly regains consciousness, nursed back to health by Solomon Grundy. The Joker asks Grundy why he chose to save him, to which he responds that they’re both the same, Grundy and the Joker; they’re both dead.
Analysis: It’s essentially a high-speed car chase in The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #7, worthy of a series of montages that could fit into a Fast & Furious film, just without the family-focused vibe. Kate Spencer’s life hasn’t been easy lately; acting as a vigilante has taken a toll on not only herself but her family as well. Drinking has become a recourse to deal with it all; however, the effect it’s causing on her own self-esteem and on her son’s life has only been negative and detrimental, so she’s sought out help to manage it.
Group therapy in comic books has been recently portrayed within the world of superheroes and stands as a reasonable and healthy method of addressing mental health issues. The scene helped add to the realism of the world; clearly, life is hard enough as a regular civilian, and the added issues and witnessed depravity the vigilantes encounter would only add an increased layer of trauma to deal with.
Mid-way through The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #7, in an airplane high above the crazed city of LA, a man parachutes out the emergency exit; he has no intentions to wait and obey the enforced curfew and isn’t about to sit by while the plane is redirected to land in San Diego. While the man’s identity isn’t stated, the mask of Killer Moth can be seen whipping past in the wind post the man’s exit. Why this is the case and Killer Month’s intentions in LA both very likely point straight back to the Joker. Is this for the good of the world? That is yet to be seen.
From here, it’s the classic story of the Joker as one man (and with two henchmen) manages to evade all law enforcement, blow up a helicopter, escape through traffic, drive their car off a bridge, and still come out (somewhat) unscathed, despite the car flipping hood over bumper multiple times. The Joker’s luck and immunity to automobile accidents might have just run out, however, and Kate Spencer doesn’t call herself ‘Manhunter’ for nothing.
Over in Gotham City, things are afoot with Jason Todd and the other Joker, who has now regained consciousness and full functionality, it seems. The liquid administered to the Joker by Solomon Grundy is a suspicious shade of green, so it doesn’t seem too unlikely for the man to make a full recovery. Lazarus pits and resin, and all other forms are apparently quite accessible throughout Gotham, it appears.
Story #2: “Joker for President” by writer Ryan Cady and Matthew Rosenberg and artist Will Robson
Synopsis: It’s apparently time for a career change for the Clown Prince of Crime. Running for candidacy as the president of the United States of America seems to be a reasonable step in the right direction. His latest whimsical antics only seem to bore people, and so he believes it’s time to do some serious good.
The Planet News, covering the story, announces this presidential campaign with the reasonable question of whether a mass-murdering criminal psychopath in circus makeup can really be elected as President of the United States. It sounds crazy, but people do love a redemption story.
Sitting in a darkly lit room, apparently with a rifle across his lap, Deathstroke takes in the news and slowly begins to clean his weapon.
Later, at a public hearing, the ‘Joker’ is shot, a bullet straight through the heart. Thankfully, however, thanks to Secret Service body doubles, the real Joker was kept safe and decides to kick his campaign into high gear; throwing out handfuls of cash to the people ought to do the trick.
As the presidential campaign continues, so do the assassination attempts thanks to Deathstroke, so much so that America has run out of clowns to act as body doubles! And so, a forced surrendering and suspending of his presidential campaign is required.
Well, it isn’t like the Joker was a fan of democracy anyways! It’s time to go somewhere that appreciates a royal candidate like the Joker. Seating himself on a throne as the ruler of Great Britain, the Joker cackles. God save the King!
Analysis: Some would say there isn’t much of a difference between a criminal and a politician, and so the Joker decides that that is an appropriate career change. The general populace doesn’t seem to think so, however, but it’s the rest of the criminal underworld who feel even more strongly about this decision than the regular law-abiding citizens.
Yet again, this secondary story in The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #7 is wacky and weird, but perhaps the best part of it all is Deathstroke’s severe desire to prevent the Joker from obtaining the presidency at all costs. His attempts to murder the Joker are thwarted only by the rather impressive security of the secret service, whose go-to method for keeping the Joker safe is to have a body double present at all and any campaign, inevitably ending in their miserable demise.
At first, it appears as though Deathstroke still comes out as the winner–after all, he successfully emptied all of Gotham of any clown look-alike to the point where the secret service no longer had any body double options– but all this truly served was to put the Joker in a different position of power with a political system that suited his fancy much more. Monarchy is where it’s at, according to the Crown Prince of Crime.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.
The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #7
While there isn’t much forward movement plot-wise (...again) the issue does highlight two truths. First, being a superhero is hard and not very conducive to promoting a healthy and nurturing family life, and second, In-N-Out’s fries do taste like wet cardboard.