New DC Comics previews confirm that a major Batman character is about to get a violent rematch with The Joker! Jason Todd, aka Red Hood, is going to throw down with Joker again – the man who violently beat him to "death" with a crowbar. However, this time around the fight isn't exactly fair, as Joker has been severely injured – not to mention the fact that he's just been poisoned by Harley Quinn! Joker's old grudges are all coming back to haunt him at once – and that's just the beginning!
All of this will be going down in Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #3, which will be available for sell this week. The series by Matthew Rosenberg and Carmine Di Giandomenico has been an odd mix of repeating beats set against a somewhat novel mystery. It's been established in the series that there are currently two Jokers running around: the 'softer' none in Gotham City who was injured by a gunshot wound to the head, and the poison; while the 'classic' Joker is operating on the West Coast with his gang. The Three Jokers limited series recently did a similar thing with Joker's identity, while Elseworlds stories like the Joker: White Knight Universe have seen Harley get to have her vindicating moments against Joker. That all said, there could be something novel and interesting actually shaping up here, now that Red Hood has arrived...
Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing issue #2 established Harley doesn't believe 'Soft Joker' is the genuine article. The preview pages for issue #3 over on AIPT certainly show that Joker and Red Hood will have their typical spat over past traumas, with Joker gleefully messing with Jason's mind. That said, it also looks like Harley will help calm things down, and help Jason get perspectie that this isn't quite THE Joker he wants to murder.
Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #3 could be an interesting pivot-point for the series. If Red Hood and/or Harley Quinn actually team-up with "Soft Joker" to find out what's going on with this doppleganger mystery, it would, admittedly, be a new kind of character dynamic than we've seen in stories like Three Jokers, which was much more focused on Batman, Batgirl, and Red Hood all facing the demons (literal and figurative) that Joker has left them with.
Matthew Rosenberg talked to CBR about where things may be headed with this mystery story in "The Man Who Stopped Laughing":
"I think the Joker is such a fascinating character because he's so unique and iconic -- and he's the most famous villain in comics. He's also such a mystery -- more than almost any other mainstream character in comics. He is in comics all the time. He's in movies and TV, and we know so little about him. I think what that does is really cause writers, comic creators, and fans to really try and explore what he is, who he is, and what he means.
When you do that, when you look at the character and his history, there's all these different interpretations and iterations, and it starts to become this real mystery in the real world of what this character is and what he can be. It's a really sort of fascinating thing that I've never kind of come across in other comics. You'll get other people interpreting characters and redefining them and changing them, but the Joker doesn't have a solid foundation that we know. He doesn't have anything we can go back to and [identify as] the core Joker. He is this chaotic entity that is always sort of changing and morphing. There's elements you recognize, and there's things that change. I think from that, there's sort of a logical extrapolation of looking at all these different iterations and versions of the Joker and sort of wondering what if and who is he? What does it mean? What is my Joker when I'm telling a story? That's really where it comes from for me."
You can purchase Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #3 this week from DC Comics.