“Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo” – Book One
Writer, Artist: Marc Silvestri
Color Artist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Review by Adam Ray
A new comic has no business sweeping in from nowhere and being this good. Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #1 has been created by titan of the industry, Marc Silvestri, and is an absolute image of perfection. It has the timelessness needed for a Batman special maxi-series; gritty realistic artwork befitting the character and setting. There’s also a ton of heart and charm to the narrative, so everything feels sincere. All together packaged with the premise we here at Dark Knight News have been waiting for, for many years.
The thing that struck me most when reading is the cinematic feel of the artwork combined with the sincerity of characters in the writing.
The grit of the art makes this vision of Gotham feel so incredibly lived in. I think it’s the heavy hatch work inking that makes the buildings and the people feel weathered and eroded. Yet we don’t lose any of the strangely fantastical elements we expect from Batman comics. The impossible architecture in the opening crime scene feels right out of the Tim Burton or Joel Schumacher movies, and the Batcave has jagged, uneven rocks that make it actually feel like an actual cave, whilst still having the fantastical elements of the iconic T-Rex and giant penny. These kinds of clashes shouldn’t really work together, but just feel so correct.
At the same time, with Batman & The Joker Deadly Duo we get honest and uncompromising looks at familiar characters. My first hit of Batman writing was Frank Miller’s Year One, so I remain a sucker for Batman vs The Law, which we see in droves here. That, Batman’s narration, and how rustic the Batcave looks, plus the welcome appearance of Alfred makes me feel that this an early story in his life.
The Joker’s post Rebirth look with the mohawk, and his quotes about them “doing this forever” screams contemporary here. Batman’s stories are best when they’re timeless, but few stories make efforts in every side of the production to actually appear so.
Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #1 presents us with a great many possible outcomes. It disturbs with the very real look at what circumstances could draw two of the greatest rivals in fiction into teaming up. It treats us to a bright potential narrative all set to stunning and stern artwork that has made this feel like the most Batman-y story I’ve read in way, way too long.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment