DC Comics has finally announced a release date for the long-awaited Batman: Three Jokers, along with new details about how the series connects to one of the most iconic Batman stories of all time.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jason Fabok reveal they’ve completed work on Three Jokers. The first issue is scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 17.
By the time Batman: Three Jokers #1 hits stores, it’ll have been over four years since Johns and Fabok first teased the Three Jokers storyline in 2016’s Justice League #50, and over two years since Three Jokers was officially announced. Justice League #50 revealed there have actually been three distinct versions of Joker over the years, ostensibly explaining why Batman has had such a hard time uncovering his true identity. DC has also released new cover art spotlighting each Joker in turn, with the three villains acting out the Three Wise Monkeys maxim: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” You can see those covers and more new art in the gallery below:
According to Johns, the three Jokers featured in this story will be based on the original incarnation of the character introduced in 1940’s Batman #1 and the versions seen in 1988’s Batman: A Death in the Family and Batman: The Killing Joke. The latter two stories dealt with Joker murdering Jason Todd and paralyzing Barbara Gordon, respectively, so it’s fitting that both characters will accompany Batman in his latest Joker-related investigation.
“It goes back to the beginning when Batman first encountered the Joker, but it’s also The Killing Joke and A Death in the Family that speak to the book and that we’re building off emotionally,” Johns told EW. “Barbara and Jason have gone through so much, as has Bruce, and it’s really focused on healing, on scars and wounds and what that does to somebody. If you suffer some trauma, you don’t just get over with it and move on with your life, it changes who you are. Sometimes it changes you for the better, sometimes it changes you for the worse. You can heal right, and you can heal wrong. That’s really what the book’s about: Healing right, healing wrong, and surviving.”
The Killing Joke will have an especially profound influence on this new series. Not only will Three Jokers build on one of the greatest tragedies to befall the Batman family, the book will pay visual tribute to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s iconic tale.
Fabok compares his work to the way Doomsday Clock replicated the language and imagery of Watchmen, saying, “I consciously infused a lot of that Brian Bolland, even the way he would tell stories through his panels. The Killing Joke has sat next to my desk for the last two years. I’ve been constantly referencing it, and even following a lot of the rules of how he laid out his panels in that book. I really want it to feel like it could be a spiritual sequel, at least artistically.”
Fabok also reiterated that he and Johns are well aware of how long fans have been waiting for Three Jokers and are hoping to deliver a comic that lives up to the hype. The good news is that since Fabok has finished drawing all three issues, the series should have no problem remaining on schedule.
Update – we’ve been able to confirm with DC that the series will ship monthly, with Three Jokers #2 arriving in July and Three Jokers #3 in August.
“I see fans on Twitter and I know they’re getting impatient, they want this book to come out,” Fabok said. “Geoff and I have come to realize that everything will happen within its time. Because it’s taken so long, we’ve actually made this story better. Everything’s come together so naturally, we’re so pumped up and so confident in this story.”
Are you still excited for Three Jokers after four years? Let us know in the comments below. Then find out about Joker War, a story DC is billing as the final showdown between Batman and Joker, and see IGN’s most anticipated comics of 2020.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.