I had heard over and over about how the Jokers first crime was to poison Gotham reservoir, but never actually read the story. Finally I find 'The Man Who Laughs', an excellent telling of Gothams first encounter with the Clown Prince of Crime.
This is a dark, psychotic Joker in the vein of Frank Millers own, ready to kill at the drop of a hat. The story is well told, with good character incites, showing the Jokers genius, as well as more of the early days of Gordon and Batman. The artwork fits perfectly with the tone of the story.
I have just 2 minor complaints, firstly (THIS MAY BE A SLIGHT SPOILER TO THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW THE STORY) is when Batman gets to see what it's like
inside the Jokers head, as I always felt that part of their relationship was that Batman never truly understood, he could just make his best guesses. The Joker is supposed to be a chaotic character and this just rationalises him a little more, however it could explain the sympathy Batman feels towards him in books like Killing Joke.
The second is that the story is too short, it only takes up about half the book, the second half is the story Made of Wood, featuring a team up between Batman and the original Green Lantern. This story is good, showing his detective roots and having a more noir feel, but this isn't why I bought the book, I wanted more Joker action, and after how good the first story is, it just falls a little flat. Maybe it's just because I'm not a big Green Lantern fan.....
Overall though a very good read, definitely worth adding to a collection