Two men waiting for the mail to arrive.
That’s all the story is about.
OK, that’s not exactly true.
Not when one of the men is the Joker.
The premiere issue of “DC Nation” No. 0, cover date July 2018, the company’s publication to promote new projects, characters and creators alike, opens with one of the most chilling stories DC has published in years.
In “Your Big Day,” by Tom King and Clay Mann, the Joker has invaded one poor Gothamite’s home – to intercept his mail.
He’s waiting for his invitation to the wedding of the century, Batman and Catwoman.
(Sorry, Harry and Meghan.)
This poor schlub is so confused: Roger Martello has no idea why the Joker picked his home or why he thinks Batman would send him a wedding invitation.
Mostly, he’s worried about how he’s going to survive his encounter with this deranged lunatic.
The drumbeat of tension bangs mightily. We don’t see the Joker interact with average people all too often, and you have to wonder: What would you do in Roger’s place?
At one point, as the two men sit and wait for the mail, the Joker asks Roger, “Did you ever hear the one about the letter that didn’t have a stamp?”
“N-no,” Roger replies.
“Eh, you wouldn’t get it,” the Joker replies.
And then the Joker swivels and faces Roger, and this look, this panel, just about had me jumping out of my seat.
That’s not the only killer punch line in this story.
This vignette from King feeds into his ongoing Batman-Catwoman wedding arc going on in the regular “Batman” title. Mann’s art is utterly disturbing, that is, utterly perfect. It just goes to show you in the right hands, an 8-page story can make more of an impact than an entire 16-part weekly miniseries. (Yeah, I went all in on “Avengers: No Surrender,” and all I can say is, “I give up!”)
For those wondering, the issue is rounded out by previews of the upcoming Superman series from Brian Michael Bendis and the Justice League “event” from Scott Snyder. All those stories did was remind me about all the money I’ll be saving when I cut those titles from my weekly sub.
But the Joker story? That’s a keeper.
You can get “DC Nation” No. 0 in the DC Comics app for free.
If you want a hard copy, the cover price is a crushing twenty-five cents, and many comic book shops are giving away the title. However you have to get it, grab it.
You don’t want to disappoint the Joker.