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"The Batman Who Laughs #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

Batman Who Laughs 4 00

Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Jock
Colored by David Baron
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
2019, 32 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on April 10th, 2019

Review:

Batman is facing his toughest enemy yet. No, it's not the Joker, the Riddler, or the Clock King. It's himself. The Batman Who Laughs, the evil version of himself from the dark multiverse, is terrorizing Gotham City, always staying one step ahead of the caped crusader. To make matters worse, Batman has been hit with a lethal dose of Joker serum, slowly turning him into a monster just like the Batman Who Laughs. Can he hold this chaotic demon at bay long enough to save his city?

While it's cool to see the Dark Knight square off against these alternate versions of himself, the internal struggle he's going through is a bit more interesting. The Batman Who Laughs #4 opens with a great confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. The butler is trying to keep his boy safe, which is easier said than done when the guy is taking great strides down this dark path. Since Alfred is outside of this, he can see what Bruce is doing to himself and is trying desperately to save him.

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Letterer Sal Cipriano illustrates this internal struggle well, turning a handful of words red and jagged. This shows how Bruce is losing control, giving in to the disease that's ravaging his body. You can imagine how he might have a facial tick or twitch as he lets out this Joker-like voice every so often.

We get a few glimpses as to how Bruce now sees the world and it's a frightening visage. Colorist David Baron shades these in an eerie red-ish hue, like we're looking through a pool of blood. This stands out from the otherwise dark and broody nature of a typical Batman story.

Bruce Wayne has been through a lot in his tenure as Batman, but this battle is putting him through the wringer. Artist Jock gives us an up close and personal look at him and it's pretty gruesome. Veins are bulging across his face, like his head is about to explode. His pupils are dilated and popping. His teeth are gritted hard. This is stress on so many levels.

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As scary as this looks, it pales in comparison to the Batman Who Laughs. When we first lay eyes on him in this issue, we're focused on his sickening smile. The images are close up, shocking this too-large grin spread across his face in delight at the carnage and bloodshed he's leaving behind. These few panels are so very chilling.

Everywhere he turns, Batman is outsmarted by himself. For a man that's thought of everything and is more prepared than a boy scout, he can't seem to get ahead of his own mind. Writer Scott Snyder maintains a level of disbelief throughout The Batman Who Laughs #4. The Dark Knight has been beaten every which way in this series, but you believe that he can overcome these obstacles. You know that he's got to get through this somehow and yet every time he's shot down and each time it's even more crushing.

The Batman Who Laughs is a fascinating character study, pushing the caped crusader to the breaking point. This is more stressful than No Man's Land, Knightfall, War Games, and more. He's fighting a battle on multiple fronts and coming up short on all sides.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Batman Who Laughs 4 Cover
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Art: Fourstars
Overall: Fourstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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