In The Batman Who Laughs #1 Scott Snyder and Jock tell a menacing and bleak story with an early Judge Dredd-style.
Wednesday saw the much-anticipated release of The Batman Who Laughs #1. Spinning out of the pages of the hit and miss Metal series, this issue sees Scott Snyder teaming up with the amazing Jock on art (I am of course biased here) to give us a violent and twisted tale of Batman and The Joker.
I will try and avoid spoilers here, as I hope you might pick this issue up, but there are a couple of real surprises here that fans of Batman, and particularly Snyder’s Batman, should lap up.
The story starts with a dramatic chase scene, as our hero, on Bat Bike, like Dredd, chases extreme load trucks across the Gotham bridge that appear to be loaded with bodies.
Dark enough yet? No? Hang on then. When Bats crashes the party and investigates the contents he finds a corpse of Bruce Wayne, but an older, happier version. How does he know he was happier? You need to pick up the book.
Meanwhile, there’s a meeting with Judge Death Batman and The Joker.
This demonic Batman is an “Apex predator” from another dimension in our world that has a plan that we can only guess at, and it’s so desperate that The Joker has to confront Batman and convince him in the most extreme way possible that only with his “help” can they stop him.
With a shocking final page, the players are all set to let battle commence.
There’s a lot of Batman stuff around just now, and I suppose to convince readers to buy into another Batman series is quite a hard sell, but the popularity of the characters here, and the team of Snyder and Jock, may convince many people to give this a shot.
I must admit to a weariness with the ongoing Bats series’; Tom King has left me hollow and Detective Comics seems geared more to a younger audience, but this issue was a bit more like it.
I like Jock’s art, although it’s slightly too scratchy in places here, and more background is needed, but his shot of Batman on page 6, in mid-flight with Batarangs ready, was sublime; however, the same panel on page 7 looked weak and unimaginative. It’s only that inconsistency that bothered me, and I’m hoping the next issue will improve.
All in all, The Batman Who Laughs #1 is a good book for fans. I will definitely pick up the second issue and see how things progress.