The first villain takes center stage in this issue, as the origin of Duela Dent is revealed.  In case you hadn’t already figured out that this is a total parallel Earth, the point is hammered home with this tale which eschews Duela’s entire origin in favor of making her the actual daughter of The Joker… well, kind of.  It’s Gamblin Jack “The Joker” Dent.  (Does this make him Two-Face’s brother or something?  That would be cool.)  Despite his criminal ways, Jack is a doting father, even though he raises his daughter in a dilapidated old manor that could easily pass for a haunted house.  Things go crazy when Duela is swarmed by bats (get it?) and her face is permanently scarred and he cuts her long flowing hair, which jack then dyes green.  After a botched robbery, Jack is shot by Commissioner Gordon, but in an homage to The Killing Joke, Jack shoots Gordon and paralyzes him for life.  In an interesting twist, Duela becomes The Joker and unleashes havoc on Gotham City, while Gordon’s daughter Barbara adopts the identity of Batgirl to avenge her father.

The book jumps back to the present, with Batgirl outnumbered against Duela the mastermind and her allies Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and The Cheetah.  It isn’t long, however, before the villains turn against one another, but Duela later reveals a secret ally… and a scheme so large, no one could have predicted it.  Elsewhere, we check in with Robin, Steel (Natasha Irons) and Jesse Quick/The Flash, but things look bleak for Batgirl and the entire world.

The art, by Ted Naifeh, is technically skilled, but wasn’t my style.  It felt rushed in places.  It was really detailed at times, then very spare in other spots.  I think the Ame-Comi statues are very nicely designed and look great in that format, but I don’t think the art in this issue served the designs.  Sorry.  It wasn’t terrible, just not to my liking.

The story was a clever origin, although be warned it’s pretty much 100% new.  Duela Dent started off as a low-tier villain, but eventually reformed and joined the Teen Titans as Harlequin.  Here, she’s strictly a villain and a criminal mastermind at that.  But she shows a nihlism that reminded me of Heath Ledger’s Joker.

The art wasn’t my favorite.  The story was original in areas, but never reeled me in all the way.  It was fine to kill ten minutes or so.


Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art and Cover by Ted Naifeh