The Best Joker Yet!

Good day, everyone! It’s been quite awhile since you’ve heard from me, but I felt it was high time my Batman column here at Sourcerer saw another entry. Today, I want us to talk about Jerome Valeska (played by Cameron Monaghan) from the Gotham television series.

I know; the first season of Gotham was certainly a mixed bag. Personally, I enjoyed it despite recognizing its many weaknesses. I’m happy to see that the second season has started off rather strongly and is set to do greater justice to its source material while still forging ahead with its own story. I would say Gotham‘s greatest strength so far has been in its introduction of the character of Jerome Valeska, the show’s proto-Joker. Please note that from here on out, there will be spoilers for the show.

When Jerome and his bizarre circus family were first introduced last season, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Surely, the episode was visually stimulating and a murder mystery on a police procedural certainly sells, but it still seemed like there was something yet to be introduced. I was not disappointed; this episode ended on a surprise note that made my skin crawl, with Jerome transforming in an instant from a simpering child victim to a laughing psychopath that had any Batman fan worth his or her collection instantly on edge.

And the character has only grown more this season into the role set for him in that simple scene. Jerome’s appearance and demeanor are of a young man constantly on the verge of some sort of outburst, and he tends toward the morbidly dramatic. Further, Jerome cares little for even his own life, but cares a great deal about taking charge in a situation in order to insure that he gets his point across, whatever it may be.

The character’s showmanship coupled with Monaghan’s stage presence are a wonderful combination that plays out beautifully. Jerome isn’t a man who even pretends at a plan; rather, he is a true agent of chaos pursuing the greatest possible shock value with the highest possible body count.

On a final (and much appreciated) note, the writers of Gotham demonstrate that they are fully aware of the Joker’s irreplaceable, mythic role in the Batman mythos. This is worked in wonderfully with Jerome’s father (a blind fortune-teller played by Mark Margolis) reciting a prophecy concerning Jerome’s personal legacy of horror.

I find it a shame that Jerome had to be killed off after only four episodes. He was one of the greatest things about Gotham thus far, and that show has many, many great performances going for it, from Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, to Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin, and of course Erin Richards as the broken Barbara Kean. Perhaps the greatest tragedy, and appropriately enough, the greatest treat, is that Cameron Monaghan gave us the greatest live action Joker yet, and he wasn’t even playing the Joker. I raise a glass to such a performance.

Cameron Monaghan as Jerome in Gotham. Image taken from https://www.facebook.com/CameronMonaghanOfficial?pnref=lhc

Cameron Monaghan as Jerome in Gotham. Image taken from https://www.facebook.com/CameronMonaghanOfficial?pnref=lhc

That’s it for this installment, everyone. Thanks for reading and welcoming me back. I plan on doing several more guest posts as the year wraps up, most especially once Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello’s Dark Knight III: The Master Race hits shelves. As for reading recommendations, I suggest that, Batman: Europa, and Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles once all three see publication. Each should offer up a different take on the character from what is currently enjoying mainstream publication.

I hope you enjoy those reading recommendations, along with Gotham. And please do check out my other posts on the Joker here, here, and here. Heh. See you all next time! Tweet me @quaintjeremy.

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The Vanier Report: Tales From A DC Pull List (Cyborg #1 Review)

I got busy last night and didn’t get anything together for today. Check out this awesome piece on Cyborg #1 from our friends at The Speech Bubble. Comments are disabled here to encourage discussion on the original post.

The Speech Bubble

The Vanier Report: Week 26

Cyborg 1 largeCyborg #1
Written by: David F. Walker
Pencils by: Ivan Reis
Inks by: Joe Prado
Colours by: Adriano Lucas
Letters by: Rob Leigh

It’s hard to believe that a character as popular as Cyborg, who has been a member of two major superhero teams (the Teen Titans and now the Justice League) for the better part of 30 years, is only now getting his first-ever ongoing solo series. He has been featured before in a six-issue limited series, but otherwise, this week’s Cyborg #1 is a first for the character.

Written by David F. Walker and drawn by Ivan Reis, the debut issue of the new series finds Victor Stone returning to S.T.A.R. Labs in Detroit where he seeks the help of his father in understanding the latest unexplained changes in his technology. As Vic replays footage from a recent battle, it is revealed that he…

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The Vanier Report: Tales From A DC Pull List (Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 Review)

Since we have a Geek and Greet thread featured at the top of the page, a #WeekendCoffeeShare running at Part Time Monster, a #1000Speak linkup less than a week old, and an #AtoZChallenge Road Trip under way, I’m gonna do everyone a big ol’ favor and not publish a bunch of words here today. Go find some blogs to read. I suggest starting with The Speech Bubble 😉

The Speech Bubble

The Vanier Report: Week 18

Convergence Wonder Woman 2 largeConvergence: Wonder Woman #2
Written by: Larry Hama
Pencils by: Aaron Lopresti
Inks by: Matt Banning
Colours by: Tanya & Richard Horie
Letters by: Tom Napolitano

“Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.”

The famous words of the Duke of Wellington echo loudly through Larry Hama’s concluding chapter of Convergence: Wonder Woman, even going so far as to paraphrase the quote at the story’s conclusion.

As Wonder Woman and the vampire Joker square off, Steve Trevor has to fight off a horde of newly turned vampires, as well as Red Rain’s Poison Ivy and Catwoman. The fights are gruesome and bloody, with Steve unloading magazine after magazine into the heads and bodies of his undead attackers while Wonder Woman is forced to unleash her most violent and aggressive self – breaking and smashing the bones and bodies of the vampires beyond their…

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The Friday 56: Summer of Sandman #2

The Friday 56 is a weekly booking meme courtesy of Freda’s Voice. Friday 56And there is a linkup!

The rules are simple: Grab a book, any book. Turn to page 56. Find a sentence, any sentence, and post it. (Or post a few — just don’t spoil it!) Add the post url (not your homepage) to the linky and do some visits.

Since Diana and I are blogging about Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series this summer at Comparative Geeks, I’m working my way through the 10-volume trade paperback version of the series. From The Doll’s House (vol. 2):

Rose Walker: “I don’t know what I was expecting. Not her. She looked lost, and fragile, like a little china doll. And weirdly familiar, and I didn’t know why.”