Jeff Lemire, creator of the Black Hammer universe and former writer of Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE, is returning to DC for a pair of new Black Label projects. The first of the two, Joker: Killer Smile, is coming in October from Lemire and his Green Arrow collaborator Andrea Sorrentino. The next month, The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage will bring Lemire together with Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz to explore that character in depth for the first time in years. Cowan did some of his most notable work on the character of The Question in a legendary run by Dennis O'Neil. Sienkiewicz also contributed to that run, and also recently worked with Cowan on Deathstroke with writer Christopher Priest. Lemire left DC for the most part after The New 52: Futures End, but recently revisited the publisher in a story that crosses his Black Hammer characters over with the Justice League.
In Joker: Killer Smile Lemire and Sorrentino will share their own interpretation of one of the darkest characters of the Batman mythos—the Joker. For years, the Joker has terrorized Gotham, facing off with Batman time and time again. But now he’s found a new adversary, one that can deliver him from the purgatory of Arkham Asylum and set his madness free once more—the very doctor tasked with treating him. As he gets his hooks deeper and deeper into the mind of his prey, Joker sets off a chain reaction of mayhem that will threaten to tear down not only Gotham City but the soul of this idealistic man, and his young family, too.
"Getting to work with my long-time collaborator Andrea Sorrentino on a Joker story is very exciting,” said Lemire in a statement. “The Joker is an iconic character and we wanted to create something that challenges readers to look at him in a new and horrifying way."
“This story has pushed me as a creator to aspire to new heights in storytelling,” Sorrentino added. “That little spark of madness in the Joker gives me an opportunity to play with the pacing, the layouts and the storytelling in a way that few other characters would allow.”
In The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage, Lemire, Cowan and Sienkiewicz launch a philosophical mystery starring Vic Sage—the Question. Building on the legacy of Dennis O’Neil and Cowan’s previous run, it begins in an early Hub City where an unsolved mystery has led to the demise of the Question—and history will soon repeat itself. Beginning in the Old West and continuing through the lawless 1930s, the answers needed to solve the problem are out of reach—and may doom the Question once again.
The faceless man who believes in absolutes will soon find himself in a world where it all blends together, and escaping this trap is the only way to set himself free.
“Denys Cowan’s run on The Question has been a touchstone for me as a creator and a fan of comics for a long time,” Lemire said. “Getting the chance to team with Denys and Bill Sienkiewicz to return to Hub City and Vic Sage is a dream come true.”
“Jeff is an excellent writer and this might be one of his best stories so far,” said Cowan. “The series will go through multiple time periods and explore aspects of Vic Sage’s past and present that have never been explored before. Combined with Bill Sienkiewicz’s inks and Chris Sotomayor’s deft color touch, this may be the best version of the Question yet.”2comments
“Working with Denys is always a rewarding experience, so revisiting the Question with him after all this time—and in a special format—is the textbook definition of a no-brainer. It doesn’t hurt that I’m also a huge fan of Jeff’s writing and Soto’s fantastic colors. What a team to be a part of,” Sienkiewicz said.
Joker: Killer Smile is a three-part story that will debut October 30, 2019, releasing every other month following. The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage is a four-part story that will debut November 20, 2019, releasing every other month following.