Billed as the tentpole big event of the DC Comics 2020 year, the Joker War‘s premise is that the Joker hold all the advantages and worse of all actually wants to win this time around. The Joker knows Batman’s secret identity, has taken control of the Wayne fortune, and he has now grown bored of his ongoing feud with Batman. In short, he’s finally ready to take this conflict all the way!
Below, you’ll find a reading order for the main Joker War event and all the tie-ins along with links to short reviews. I’ll also do my best to clue you into whether a tie-in is really necessary to your enjoyment of this event. This will be updated week-to-week as single issues are released.
Joker War Collected Editions:
- Batman: The Joker War Hardcover (February 9, 2021) – Contains Batman 95-100
- Batman: The Joker War Companion Vol. 1 Hardcover (February 23, 2021) – Contains Nightwing #70-73, Batgirl #47-48, and Detective Comics #1022-1024
- Batman: The Joker War Companion Vol. 2 Hardcover (March 9, 2021) – Contains Collects Red Hood: Outlaw #48, Nightwing #75, Harley Quinn #75, Catwoman #25-26, and Batman: The Joker War Zone #1.
Joker War Reading Order (Single Issues):
1. Batgirl #47 For now, I’d say that this issue is not essential to the Joker War storyline, but is an enjoyable read. I’d place Batgirl 47 and 48 prior to the main Joker War story line because Joker is still seeking access to Wayne Enterprises full resources in 47, and it isn’t until 48 that Batgirl is freed up from the events in 47 to be engaged in all the other parts of the story line. Check out the full review here.
2. Batgirl #48: this issue necessarily has to be read prior to Nightwing #72 and 73.
3. Nightwing #72: We need to get Batgirl back up an running before Dick takes her down again.
6. Batman #97: Batman is still at the movie theater when we start our issue here, so this needs to come before Detective Comics 1025 and 1026, I think.
7. Batman #98: Looks like Batman finally gets rehabilitated here, so we’re off to the races with his Detective Comics 1025 and 1026 escapades!
8. Detective Comics #1025: Part of the “Collateral Damage” banner of Joker War tie-ins. Not strictly essential to the story line, but a fun little action interlude involving Wayne Enterprises and Lucius Fox. This falls after Batman 96 and likely after more entries resolve some of the events in Batman 96. To be determined.
9. Nightwing #73: not an essential tie-in to The Joker War, but if you’re already reading Nightwing, it’s an enjoyable story playing out in the same sandbox as the main event. In terms of reading order, this book definitely falls after Batgirl #47. After all, both Barbara and Joker are incapacitated and not ambulatory at the end of that issue. How Joker gets from Barbara’s apartment roof to his own cage match roof is yet to be seen. How Barbara recovers from her self-inflicted wound, recovers, only to be caught by Dick is also yet to be seen. Hopefully Batgirl #48 will clear that up next week.
10. Detective Comics #1026: Detective Comics 1026 is not essential to the main Joker War story line and is just a short side adventure versus Killer Croc. This issue at least needs to come after Batman 97 to free up Batman to deal with Killer Croc.
11. Red Hood Outlaw #48: A slightly hard to place issue that deals with Jason Todd’s backstory with Joker.
12. Batgirl #48
13. Detective Comics #1027: Most of this is out of Joker War continuity and not necessarily critical reading.
14. Nightwing #74
15. Batman #99
16. Catwoman #25
17. Batgirl #49
18. Batman: The Joker War Zone: Awesome Bane showdown and background on Clownhunter. Essential reading? Close, but mostly just a hell of a lot of fun.
19. Batman #100
20. Batgirl #50
21. Catwoman #26
22. Nightwing #75