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"The Batman Who Laughs #5" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

Batman Who Laughs 5 00

Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Jock
Colored by David Baron
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
2019, 30 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on May 8th, 2019

Review:

Batman has been pushed to the limits, not by any of the dastardly villains in his impressive rogues gallery, but by an alternate version of himself. The Batman Who Laughs has infected our Dark Knight with an insane amount of Joker venom, which has altered his psyche. As if that wasn't enough, he's put a huge plan into motion that could do something similar to everyone in Gotham. He's been one step ahead of Batman the whole time, but could the Caped Crusader finally be getting the upper hand?

I'm going to put this up front and say that The Batman Who Laughs #5 is probably the darkest Batman comic I have ever read. This is a horror book through and through and there are some absolutely gristly moments in here. Artist Jock has twisted the images into this really disturbing way, bridging the gap between reality and psychosis.

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From time to time, we get a glimpse as to the world through Batman's eyes as the venom surges through his veins. Otherwise normal images are distorted, casting strange and unsettling shadows full of doubts. Colorist David Baron amplifies these images with a blood red hue, like Batman is seeing these through a rage. It's like time slows down for a moment and you can hear his heart beating furiously in his chest, ready to burst. This adds some great tension to the already exciting scenes.

Batman is usually so careful and calculating, but the Batman Who Laughs has him second guessing everything. He's up against himself, so every detail has been planned out on both sides. Is this the way to outsmart his enemy? Or is that what he wants him to think? Writer Scott Snyder weaves us into this unpredictable cycle in which I don't have a single clue as to where we might go next.

The Batman Who Laughs is pulling out all the stops here. In this issue he pays a visit to the Court of Owls and with a few moves shows how he's quickly climbed to the upper echelon of Batman's rogues gallery. He is as brilliant as he is remorseless in his actions. He has the smarts and tactics of Batman with the morals of the Joker, and that's a deadly combination.

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Letterer Sal Cipriano gives the Batman Who Laughs a chilling voice with solid black word balloons filled with a jagged red font. This is creepy enough on its own, but add in our Batman's twitches of insanity and it gets even more so. Every so often a single word or even a part of one will switch from a normal font to the one used by the villain. It's like an uncontrollable tick that Batman is trying to keep pushed down. Even he's unable to keep it in check.

The Batman Who Laughs plants the Dark Knight firmly in the horror genre. There are monsters in the literal and figurative sense as Bruce Wayne faces battles both internally and externally. He's fighting against himself and will have to go farther than he's ever had in order to stay alive, but what if that's just what this twisted version of Batman wants him to do? Can he ever go back to normal after this? What if he goes too far?

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Batman Who Laughs 5 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

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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