The Batman Who Laughs #3 – Scott Snyder, Writer; Jock, Artist; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: Gordons Galore
Ray: Scott Snyder’s final present-day Batman arc calls back to how it all began – the legendary Black Mirror arc. And while the star of this arc may be the deranged Batman Who Laughs and his second in command the Grim Knight, it feels like it centers even more around Snyder’s first original Batman villain – Jim Gordon Jr. The last issue ended with Commissioner Gordon tracking down his son, who was seemingly working at a standard Gotham job. This issue expands a lot on that strange cliffhanger – Jim Jr. is apparently on a new experimental drug designed by Wayne Enterprises that triggers the parts of the brain that psychopaths aren’t able to access. It’s removed Jim Jr.’s violent instincts, or so he says, but it’s still left him more than a bit…off. But Batman and Gordon have very different ideas of what they need Jim Jr. to do, and what role he’s going to be playing in the Last Laugh protocol. This is one of the few times we’ve seen Batman and his closest friends at tense odds.
Of course, in the middle of this drama, we can’t forget who’s driving the action here. The last issue saw the near-destruction of Batman’s last-ditch system to protect Gotham from infection by water supply, and now the Batman Who Laughs needs one more person to complete his plan. The idea that Jim Gordon is the one who Batman would trust most with a plan like this makes a lot of sense – I don’t think any writer has enmeshed Gordon in Batman’s affairs nearly as much as Snyder has, and I’m all in favor of that. The Grim Knight’s attack, Joker’s escape during his open-heart surgery, and Batman’s eventual descent into madness in the final pages of the issue are all stark and memorable images that show why Snyder writes the best Batman action on the stands, but this series continues to excel so much because of its pitch-black noir tone. It’s a story about crime, insanity, and corruption, and it’s easily the best thing Snyder has written for DC since the end of his 52-issue Batman run.
Corrina: ::shakes fist at creative team:: Curse you! You’ve made me like a Joker story.
I hate Joker stories.
But not this one.
Maybe it’s because the Batman Who Laughs is being used as a base to write a sequel to Snyder’s best Batman story, Black Mirror, maybe it’s because of the presence of Gordons, father and son, maybe it’s because the plot has me wondering which Joker will show up and when and what they’ll do in the end.
If I were to predict this, it would be that our universe Joker cures our universe Batman because what’s a yin without his yang? If Batman Who Laughs destroys everything, then Joker can’t continue his war on Batman, which he finds the most fun ever. Joker is very proprietary about Batman. (See: The Lego Batman Movie for another version of that.)
In the meantime, I’ll just hope that Gordon is not too horribly scarred by all this. And I can hope for the return of Rookie.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.