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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Shows which will rise in the Fall

Being as I’m from the UK I have to experience Comic Con vicariously (at least for my favourite shows). There is so much to look forward to this year. Supernatural returns for its eleventh season, and who can resist the Winchester Brothers? This time the producers are stripping everything back, so Sam and Dean will have the kind of relationship they had in season one; two brothers fighting against evil. I’m sure there will be help from an angel or two, and more laughs from the King of Hell, Crowley. It says something about Mark Sheppard when you’re rooting for a demon!

A few shows had their debut this year, and perhaps my favourite is Sense8, which Gene’o reviewed here. The concept of a group, or cell, being connected telepathically – that they can somehow channel each other’s skills and abilities – it’s pretty exciting. Mix that with powerful themes and our most basic need for connection and, in my opinion, you’ve got yourself a hit.

DC

DC and Marvel continue to shine, and both introduced new shows this year. We’ll start with DC. It won’t surprise you in the slightest that I’m eagerly awaiting the return of Arrow. Having spent some quality time with Felicity Smoak, Olly will have plenty to smile about in this season – it will be interesting to see a lighter side to Oliver Queen.

The Flash also returns for a second season; a relief considering the dramatic finale. I really enjoyed the introduction to Barry Allen, and the show is one of my favourites. It is the light to Arrow’s dark, which works perfectly. There will be more opportunities for crossover between the shows – episodes I particularly enjoy.

Olly and Barry will also be ‘popping over’ to the all-new Legends of Tomorrow, which is set for release early 2016. The cast includes Ray Palmer (The Atom), Rip Hunter, Mick Rory (Heat Wave), Sara Lance (White Canary), Leonard Snart (Captain Cold), and Dr Martin Stein.

But that’s not all, in October this year Supergirl premiers. The pilot episode was recently leaked on the internet, so it’s a safe bet many fans already have an opinion about the show. I haven’t seen the pilot, but I’ve heard plenty of good things, and it was this show which prompted the post. Considering Greg Berlanti is on board, it certainly has potential. We need a strong female lead, and I’ve always liked the character, so I’m reserving judgement until October.

It’s an interesting cast. Melissa Benoist, who starred in Glee, plays Kara Zor-El (Superman’s cousin). Calista Flockhart plays Cat Grant, and Chyler Leigh (from Grey’s Anatomy) plays Alex Danvers. It tickled me that Dean Cain is also credited, and I will admit to having a weakness for Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

The trailer didn’t blow me away, but it interested me enough to want to give it a go. Here it is, I’ll let you decide!

So that leaves us with Marvel, who brought us Daredevil this year. I loved the show; it’s dark and authentic, and I have high hopes for the next season. There is also Agent Carter, and Agents of SHIELD.

marvel

There are other great shows, new and existing. But I’d like to hear from you. What are you most excited about? Which are your favourites?

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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