Comic Review: The Batman Who Laughs #5 (DC Comics)

Cornered by officers in Arkham, Batman must find his way out of Arkham before he is sent 6 feet under. At his wit’s end, and scraping for any sanity left, […]

Cornered by officers in Arkham, Batman must find his way out of Arkham before he is sent 6 feet under.

At his wit’s end, and scraping for any sanity left, Batman will have to give in to his darkest impulses if he is to survive what his evil counterpart has devised for him. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon is running for his life as The Grim Knight and his crows pursue to kill him. Will Jim Gordon make it out of the sewers alive? Will Batman regain his sanity? Or hs the Batman Who Laughs already won?

What makes the Batman Who Laughs interesting as a series and as a character is that he is every bit as cunning, skilled and formidable as Batman. He is not anchored by morals and does everything he can to win. Some of the best Batman stories are usually the tales where Batman is at his wit’s end, trying to devise a plan against an enemy that his 20 steps ahead of him in every way. Snyder continues to make this villain compelling with every turn and every scene proving that The Batman Who Laughs fits that caliber and is a worthy addition to Batman’s rogues’ gallery. There is a subtle moment in the beginning of the issue, which continues where the last issue left off. Batman is cornered by officers hell bent on gunning down who they believe is the evil Batman.

That scene stood out to me the most due to The Batman Who Laughs (in disguise as an officer) gives away information about Batman’s cape, demanding that the officers should aim for the mouth. I thought that was a brilliant way to display the uniqueness of The Batman Who Laughs. He is willing to go at any lengths to win, with no morale to hold him back. Given that Snyder is the co-creator of The Batman Who Laughs, it’s only right that the one who created him would find new ways to make him compelling as a character and antagonist.

What makes this series worthwhile? I’m glad to admit that witnessing Snyder’s ability in writing Batman in different directions than previous runs makes it all the more worthwhile to see through from beginning to end. Batman is losing his mind, becoming more deranged and at times, has to make use of the impending madness just to survive every dangerous encounter at every turn. Seeing Batman so desperate to cling to his sanity, and at a low point that is right up there with Jim Starlin’s Batman: The Cult. Snyder is able to channel his horror tones, creating a story that feels like it could share the same aesthetic and atmosphere as the first Blade movie. I’ll admit, it’s interesting thinking about how Snyder approaches Batman in this title and in his Justice League title because Snyder treats each book as a genre of its own. Justice League is an action, adventure, sci-fi book, while this series is more in Snyder’s wheelhouse of horror, and mystery.

The plot is good, at some moments, I would anticipate tons of action, but given that this is the 5th issue of a 7 issue mini-series it makes sense for the 6th and 7th issue to be more grandiose with action and mayhem. My only nitpick is that I would have liked to have seen more confrontations between Batman, and The Grim Knight, but given that there are only two issues left, I’m sure Snyder will save the best for last, especially with some of the surprises that occur within this issue. Jock’s artwork is great, but I feel that it wasn’t as good as the issues prior. This isn’t to say that it’s terrible because it’s not, but it felt like there was something absent in Jock’s art. But even with that personal lense, Jock does what he does best by setting the tone and atmosphere. Baron’s color work and Jock’s art help to visually carry the story forward making it a fun ride regardless. Another great issue that is worth adding to your pull list for new comic book day!

Anthony Andujar Jr.

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