Review: Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #2

“Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo” – Book Two
Writer, Artist: Marc Silvestri
Color Artist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Review by Adam Ray

After the triumph of issue one, Marc Silvestri returns to Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #2. Once again I’ve found myself delighted by the richly detailed look of a lived in Gotham, of Batman as a master of detectives and beatdowns, and a Joker at the peak of sanity. I’ll dust off an old turn of phrase from my review for issue one. This title has no business sweeping in from nowhere and being this good.

Batman has been known, since his creation, as master of the many different crafts and skills needed to be a non-powered human fighting crime in the DC Universe. That’s what has maintained his appeal for nearly a century. Very few single issues in recent times actually show that as well as Deadly Duo does.

The balance between Batman bashing strange feral creatures into him closely analyzing where these beasts came from feels incredibly natural. Moreover, it’s so difficult to show Batman’s vulnerability whilst he always displays a perfect mixture of martial skill and detective thinking, but this issue does it with him delivering a speech about stem cells after coming out of Alfred’s triage. This is the most rounded and real vision of the character I can remember, and it’s effortless.

Silvestri’s look at iconic places feels so real. The Batcave is a mess of jagged shapes and deep tunnels. We feel how big that space is, also thanks to the help of Prianto’s colors. At the same, the unique design of Wayne Tower looking like a black Seattle Space Needle amongst art deco buildings, is such a strong visual that I’m very close to setting it as my PC’s wallpaper. There’s something so satisfyingly effortless about Silvestri’s Gotham, that I can actually believe that any of Batman’s stories could happen here.

Conclusion

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #2 has again given us a rich detective narrative, wrapped up in the rounded and real look of Gotham. The mystery’s immersing Batman into some intense moral dilemmas and the matter of just how much we can trust the foaming-at-the-mouth Joker, if at all, is always in question. This is effortless and gripping storytelling by a team of true masters in the art of crafting comics.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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