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Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Joker 2 - Willie the Weeper

O'Neil and Novick are joined by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez for issue 3 of the Joker (July 1975). It's the only issue without a major hero or villain as a guest star.

Once again the story begins with the Joker having broken out of Arkham. Two guards, Benny Khiss and Marvin Fargo, get fired for allowing the Joker to have deceived them with a dummy. The Joker was aided in his breakout by Willie the Weeper, a failed criminal who cannot stop crying whenever he tries to break the law.

He has come to the Joker for help, and it becomes clear that he needs it. Willie cannot even rob a gumball machine without crying so hard that he drops all the change. Benny and Marvin happen by, and try to capture the pair, but the Joker sprays tear gas at them. Benny and Marvin remain in the story, determined to capture the Joker and prove that they are not incompetent.

The Joker puts together a plan to rob a vault of its platinum, all to help Willie. At one point Benny and Marvin actually capture the Joker, but he gets out of his bonds, dresses up Marvin in his own clothes, and avoids being hauled off by the police. The page of the cutaway during the crime has a nice clue as to what is really going on during the theft with a second truck at the other side.

In this issue the Joker is driving his Jokermobile. This car debuted back in the 50s, but it was only in this book that it became the Joker's standard mode of transportation. The Joker scams Willie, having filled up his own truck with the platinum, leaving Willie nothing. This infuriates Willie, which is the Joker's big plan. Make him remember how angry he got, so that he would never cry again during a robbery.

The Joker does get caught at the end by Commissioner Gordon, thanks to Benny and Marvin following him and calling the police. The Joker cries while being captured, simply in order to amuse Willie, but fully intends to reveal that Willie was in on the crime as well.

It's not such a bad story. But it is the only time we ever see Willie the Weeper.

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