Joker / Mask (#1 – 4) – Henry Gilroy

3 out of 5

I would say this is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the Joker getting his hands on The Mask mask, but it’s done well, and surprisingly with enough content to actually fill up its four issues.

Plot-wise, there’s not much to summarize: Joker stumbles across the object, and after learning of its abilities, uses it himself to become, like, ultra Joker-y.  Artist Ramon F. Bachs brings this to life with Looney Tunes-esque elasticism when drawing the clown, and colorist Dave McCaig similarly has tons of room to go full palette with all of the death traps Joker brings to life, especially once he commandeers a TV station to broadcast his mayhem.

The wrinkle – besides Batman, of course – comes from Harley Quinn, a’feared of losing her puddin’ to the mask’s machinations, and she concocts some valid schemes to bring him back.  Ultimately, though, the dark knight has to get involved.

Bachs, while operating more in the realm of Batman: The Animated Series characterizations, smartly does not go overly cartoonish with any of the non-Mask characters.  Similarly, writer Gilroy avoids the temptation to go full camp and writes the remaining Gothamites pretty straight, which is what helps to sustain this for four issues.

Not that it really needed those issues, of course – this likely could have been zipped up down to a two-parter – but the creative team did an admirable job of trying to flesh out the concept enough such that you’re never bored.