The Joker Killer Smile is an out of continuity story in the DC comics. It is published under their Black Label series. The DC Black Label consists of original miniseries and reprints of books previously published under other imprints. The other imprints such as vertigo and Elseworlds have been merged under this Black Label series.
The main reason behind the launching of this series is to present traditional DC Universe characters to a mature audience with stand-alone, prestige-format series. The first story to be published under this series is Batman: Damned.
Like all other titles that are published under the DC Black Label series. The Joker Killer Smile is also a very dark take on the character. The writers and the creative team are not shy of integrating darker tones and an overall darker approach to this character.
Probably not even the original character writers of The Joker would have imagined that what the clown prince of Crime will evolve into over the years. And nobody has been able to solve the mystery that is The Joker. The studio has never ventured into stories that truly explain the Joker’s origins.
Although there have been some alternate versions where we get to see the beginnings of The Joker. But there has been no official story. Sure there have been some acceptable versions but none of them have been made nodded by the studio as the official take on the origin story of the Joker. The name of the Joker has also never been revealed in any of his appearances till very recently. So in line with the studio’s policy, the creative team has developed a story where we see The Joker do what he is best at. Play with the minds of others.
Joker Killer Smile Overview
In this story we see a psychotherapist by the name of Dr. Ben Arnell conduct interview of the Joker. His primary motive behind trying to treat The Joker is not shown. And is left on the reader to figure out. It might have been because he wanted fame for curing a patient that everybody has failed to do. Or because Dr. Arnell wanted to challenge his abilities. It is purely on the reader to decide the reasons behind him trying to give treatment to The Clown Prince Of Crime.
Everything is okay in the beginning when Dr. Arnell starts to treat the Joker. But as we have seen numerous times before that nobody actually knows that is in The Joker’s mind. And he plays with the minds of others under the guise of recovering due to their help. Dr. Harleen Quinzel is one of the examples that tried to provide mental treatment to The Joker.
But Joker twisted her sanity by using her troubled background. As a result, the poor doctor became an accomplice to the Joker. And changed into one of the most famous super-villains of all times. She started to call herself Harley Quinn after The Joker named her so.
The Joker Killer Smile consists of three issues with the first issue describing the interaction between Dr. Arnell and The Joker. The Doctor is under the impression that the Joker is responding to his psychotherapy. He is hopeful that The Joker can recover from his insanity under his treatment. But The Joker starts to play mind games on the Doctor slowly. And the second issue describes a dark depiction of the ability of The Joker.
The second issue shows that the Doctor has started to struggle between delusions and reality. The Joker has done his part and made Dr. Arnell doubt everything around him. He begins to question the reality of everything. he further imagines that The Joker is at his house. But in reality, he is locked up at Arkham Asylum.
Joker’s main motive behind playing with the sanity of Dr. Arnell is to allow him to escape from the Asylum. In the third issue when Dr. Arnell confronts The Joker about playing mind games with him. Joker further manipulates the Doctor into believing in The Joker. He descends into complete madness and helps him escape from the Arkham Asylum.
The ending scenes see Batman reaching the Asylum just in time to foil The Joker’s plan. Although we have tried to keep this description spoiler free but some spoilers still inevitably became a part of our article. But the actual essence of this amazing, gritty and dark story can never be written in any of the description that you can find online.
You will have to read the Joker Killer Smile title in its entirety to experience the true feelings of an excellent horror-thriller story that describes the craziest villain of all times.