by Devin Grayson, John Bolton
(DC Comics, 2003)

The promotional blurbs made it sound like an interesting concept. The Joker, in London, has a joke played on him, and in his desperation to find (and punish) the culprit, he assumes a Batman-like detective role -- with fatal results. Upon hearing of the killing spree, the Batman of course flies to London to apprehend his foe.

The execution and presentation of Switch is far worse than it sounds, despite the talents of writer Devin Grayson and artist John Bolton. The "joke" in this case is the complete removal of the Joker's mouth, leaving a perfect, scarless void in the space 'twixt nose and chin. Harsher still, the evil plastic surgeon, who was able to "borrow" the villain from Arkham Asylum with a minimum of security precautions, built Joker a functional new mouth on the back of his neck -- complete with working lips, teeth and tongue, capacities for breathing, speaking and smooching undamaged (although apparently eating is not so easy).

Was this the winner of the 2003 Stupid Idea contest or what?

Add to this the uncharacteristic behavior of the Joker, the lack of motivation for the plastic surgeon and a rush job on the only interesting part -- Joker's attempts to interrogate people about the surgeon's whereabouts -- and you have the big loser for the year. How did this get past DC's editing staff?

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 22 November 2003