I have just started reading Batman: Lovers and Madmen by Michael Green and Denys Cowan. In the forward to the book Brad Meltzer states that this is a great book and a great Joker story and that Green understands the Joker character extremely well. I may not be a best selling author like Meltzer, but I beg to differ, as I could not even finish this piece of crap.
This story, which aims to be the definitive version of the Joker’s comic book origin, is just terrible. It does not even bother to build on previous Joker origin stories like The Man Behind The Red Hood or Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, and instead seems to have much more in common with the Jack Nicholson Joker from the 1989 movie than anything else. In fact, in Green’s story there is no mention of the Red Hood and worse still, this Joker has a real name. I’m not one of those people who expect continuity to be fixed and strictly followed, yet here Green just shits in the face of the writers who created the previous Joker origin tales by not even acknowledging them at all.
This is where I have a big problem with DC’s policy of trying to entice people from outside the comics’ industry to come in and write comic stories. They encourage people like Brad Meltzer, Michael Green and Jodi Picoult to write horrible stories and wonder why long time fans stop buying the books or criticize them on the internet. I don’t care if someone has written a New York Times best seller, or is the head writer for the hottest show on TV, I just want someone who has a least read some comic books to be the ones writing them. Is that too much to ask?