Strange Times & Places: I, Joker

Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today I’ve noticed that The Joker’s been getting a lot of protagonist love lately – so we’ll be reading 1998’s prestige format one-shot Batman: I, Joker, in which Mr. J is a straight up hero.

How’s It Different?

It takes place in a distant possible future, which would put it under the label of Imaginary Story for our purposes.

What’s The Story?

Every year on the Winter Solstice, The Bruce – God-King of Gotham and leader of the Batman Cult – resurrects some of his greatest foes in a festival known as the Night of Blood. He will hunt down and kill these villains, though not before they claim some innocent lives, and any citizen who beats him to the punch gains the right to challenge him for the title of The Bruce. But all is not as it appears, and it will take the unique brand of chaos the “resurrected” Joker can cause to bring that to light.

Best of Differences

  • This one-shot is effectively the result of Death Race 2000 having a baby with the Batman franchise.
  • The resurrected villains are, of course, political prisoners who spoke out against The Bruce’s absolute rule that have been brainwashed, surgically altered, and chained to remote controlled murder mobiles. Shock of shocks, the Night of Blood is a total sham!
  • Klibon, tasked both with keeping the nearly century old God-King hale and hearty and with converting political prisoners into slaves, is finally fed up enough with The Bruce’s crap that he lets this year’s Joker keep his original memories. A small, but effective, way to stick it to the head jerk in charge.
  • The Joker, AKA Joe Collins, becomes the perfect synthesis of Batman & Joker by the end of the tale – ushering in a comparatively more chaotic society without a rigid, fascist cult of personality while continuing to preserve innocent life according to the original Batman’s principles.

Come Back Next Week for a Special Installment of 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend!

About Chris Walker

Chris Walker (@back2past) is affectionately referred to as Back to the Past's social media lackey. He's all over finding nuggets of pop culture news, wherever they may be hiding!

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