“The Laughing House” – Part Two
The Batman Who Laughs has returned, bringing a multitude of corpses with him. All of this is disturbing enough, but when every dead body belongs to Bruce Wayne, our Batman knows his nightmare is just beginning. Last month Batman was forced to save The Joker, and in the process was infected with Joker Venom, causing him to begin the transformation his dark universe counterpart had already endured.
Scott Snyder’s evil Batmen are a work of genius. I thought that all the nightmare characters from Dark Nights: Metal were superb and terrifying; none moreso than The Batman Who Laughs. This anarchic amalgamation of The Joker and The Dark Knight is all of Batman’s worst fears rolled into one… or at least that’s what he thought until he met the Grim Knight. This new evil duplicate is a Batman that has embraced the gun, and shoots to kill.
Batman, Joker… Joker Batman
Seeing Batman out of control is scary. Being forced to save Joker’s life as a possible way of combating his dark counterparts is beyond terrifying! In fact, all of Batman’s recent comics adventures read like something out of a horror movie. The events in Detective Comics, Batman’s tussle with Professor Pyg in Tom King’s book, and the recently concluded Batman: Kings Of Fear have taken our hero to very dark places.
I don’t want to give anything away, but after speaking to colleagues who didn’t notice until I pointed it out, the fact that Bruce is unmasked on pages 21-22 is very concerning indeed! Snyder’s cliffhanger ending on pages 23-24 has done nothing to calm my fears!
Jock’s art with David Baron’s colors on this issue are a match made in hell. Batman’s worsening condition and the nightmarish, scratchy art mesh beautifully with Snyder’s script. The pages where TBWL infiltrates Wayne Industries, then flies into action using all of Batman’s skill, with all of the Joker’s homicidal tendencies, show us the damage an evil Batman is capable of. This is real food for thought, and a horrifying taster of what could be.
Even Sal Cipriano’s lettering in the issue is cold, angular and unnerving. None of the usual flamboyance and whimsy we normally see in comics lettering is present in this issue. Instead we get calligraphy which is as dark as the art and subject matter. Terrific work.
Is our Batman slowly becoming what he fears most? Is he finally engaged in a war that he cannot win? I know this is a comic-book, but the stakes are really high and this creative team are making me fear the worst. I’m going to go and pick up a few Charles M. Schulz anthologies now, as all three titles I’ve reviewed this week have chilled me to the bone.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment