Overview: In The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #11, chaos breaks out on the streets of Gotham City, and the identity of the imposter Joker is finally revealed.
Title: The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #11
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Main Cover: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Variant Covers: Ben Oliver, Marco Mastrazzo, Ryan Brown
Release Date: October 3, 2023
This comic book review contains spoilers.
In downtown Gotham City, a war is on the brink as the showdown between Joker and the Imposter Joker, as he’s being called, is reaching its peak.
A janitor’s nightly work is interrupted when he’s suddenly kidnapped by the Imposter Joker, whose recruiting efforts for hired henchmen have been stymied, so forced labor it is. The poor man gets tossed into the back of a van alongside several others who share his unfortunate fate, while the Imposter Joker confers with his henchmen about their current staffing numbers.
Driving through the pouring rain, the Joker isn’t pleased at all with how difficult it is to find one deranged clown in this forsaken city. Their typical methods of sourcing information—bribing cops, torturing, cops, asking for drug deals, homeless, homeless drug dealers, etcetera—have yielded no results, which isn’t increasing anyone’s overall workplace satisfaction.
It’s then that the Joker receives word from Killer Moth that the Imposter Joker has been spotted in midtown after crashing a subway train, naked.
In the Upper West Side of Gotham, Manhunter and Ravager (Rose Wilson) meet up, both striking a tentative alliance and working with the Red Hood (Jason Todd) to rid the world of the Joker, permanently. While the Red Hood makes sure certain winged parties are otherwise occupied, the two women work through checking a list of addresses that Jason had provided them.
In Midtown, the whole building leading to the entrance of the Subway is on fire. First Responders hold back because of the threat of the Imposter Joker within. When Joker and his lackeys arrive, they take to attacking the law enforcement personnel while they await the confrontation.
At the Joker’s warehouse, a henchman of (one of) the Joker is engrossed by the news coverage; in another twist, eyewitnesses are reporting a second Joker at the scene of the destroyed subway. The man is startled and interrupted by yet another Joker, who quickly kills the henchman and destroys the entire building.
Back at the Subway Station, the Joker comes across a man who looks like him but isn’t himself or the Imposter Joker. The Joker look-alike starts laughing madly, collapses to the ground, and then explodes.
The Joker is just able to avoid getting blown apart with the help of Killer Moth, and the two of them and a few of the Joker’s remaining henchmen make their way towards Chinatown. Their warehouse building explodes, leaving now both of the Jokers’ home and last few henchmen—sans Killer Moth—blown to smithereens.
In Old City, Manhunter and Ravenger come across yet another Joker; Manhunter didn’t believe Red Hood when he told her there were three of them. A short scuffle ensues, leaving the Manhunter and Ravager searching for the Joker but stumbling across a room filled with Joker look-alikes. They’ve clearly been abused and experimented on, and just as the girls find themselves surrounded, they then hear a loud buzzing noise.
A few meters away from the building, Waffles, the Joker’s helper, radios in reporting that he’s finally found the Imposter. Waffles is then attacked and his phone call is cut off by the Imposter Joker, who chides him about spying on others. The two confront each other, which leads Waffles to state the bitter truth: this Joker is none other than Jon Keyser and has been all along.
The final confrontation between not two, but three Jokers, feels very near at hand in this latest issue written by Matthew Rosenberg and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. Gotham’s streets are once again the victim of the Joker(s) machinations, and the deluge that has resulted from the crazed villain’s schemes is clearly now affecting not only the henchmen who, knowingly or unknowingly, signed up for the war, but also Gotham’s citizens and first responders.
The pieces are moving now as the Imposter Joker is revealed to be Jon Keyser, who…I’m actually not totally sure who Jon Keyser is, although my assumption is the man from the very first issue of the series (it was a little anticlimactic). Alongside this revelation, we learn that there have actually been not two, but three, Jokers all along and with their own endgames, one of which is creating an army of Joker look-a-likes that explode.
During all of this, the Red Hood with the help of a few heroes and anti-heroes, is both keeping Batman and company otherwise occupied while also hunting down the Joker. I appreciated the use and implementation of the characters that were chosen for that role in this series; both Manhunter and Ravager are fun to read and are characters that you trust to be just crazy enough to pull off whatever stunt or plan they’ll inevitably come up with.
This dry humor throughout the script was fun to read, and the references back to corporate workplace practices, such as Waffles informing Joker of KGBeast sending the Joker an invoice for service charged under gross incompetence, was comical.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with the preview images of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by pre-ordering this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.