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"The Batman Who Laughs #6" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

Batman Who Laughs 6 00

Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Jock
Colored by David Baron
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
2019, 32 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on June 12th, 2019

Review:

Batman has been pushed to his limit by the ever-creepy Batman Who Laughs from the Dark Multiverse. The fate of Gotham City hangs in the balance. Can Batman outsmart himself before the Joker serum takes hold and turns him into that which he most hates? Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon and his son, James, have a fight of their own on their hands, trying to stop the Grim Knight from enacting a heinous plan.

You get an immediate sense of how on edge Batman is throughout this issue. This is exemplified by Sal Cipriano's letters. The Dark Knight's internal narration has gone full Joker, now shown in a scratchy red font. There are a handful of letters that are still shown in white and these spell out cryptic messages, like Bruce Wayne is trying to break free of this insanity. This is an awesome detail that is used sparingly, but very effectively.

That edge is heightened by Jock's artwork. Batman is often depicted with gritted teeth, like he's trying to hold this infection that's ravaging his body at bay with sheer will. He's mostly shown in the shadows, but the few times we see his face, it's like a ghostly shell of his former self. He's battered and broken both physically and mentally, yet finds the strength to carry on.

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From time to time we're treated to a view of the world from his perspective, mostly when the Batman Who Laughs shows up. This is a twisted and terrifying look with the villain appearing even more monstrous than usual. Colorist David Baron puts a violent red hue over these images, amplifying the terror of this demented foe. It's like the Boogeyman version of the Batman Who Laughs, the next evolution of fear.

I will admit that the Batman Who Laughs' plan and our Batman's counter-plan are a little confusing. I don't really understand the overall scheme on either side because they're both trying to stay one step ahead of the other. This leads to constant twists and turns as they wonder if this is what their enemy wants them to do. As complicated as this is, it doesn't take too much away from the story. That's not why I'm reading The Batman Who Laughs. It's more about this compelling journey of Bruce Wayne putting everything on the line to save his city.

In many ways this is the ultimate battle for our Batman. He's faced enemies big and small over the years, but this is different. This is himself. Here is a version of Batman that has lost everything and revels in the pain of others, fully embracing the guise of the Caped Crusader and leaving the human Bruce Wayne behind. It's long been argued that Bruce is the mask and Batman is his true identity. Writer Scott Snyder plays with this idea a bit, showing all the things that Bruce has to live for, not just on this Earth, but on all the others.

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Click images to enlarge

As if this battle wasn't enough, The Batman Who Laughs #6 also gives us some great moments between Gordon and his son. Here you have a man who personifies law and order faced with a son who is a certified psychopath. Despite this, he loves the boy and shows how he still loves him through it all. There are a number of conflicts at play here, including James against himself as he wrestles with his scarier thoughts and urges.

The Batman Who Laughs is a tense and frightening read, pushing Batman farther than ever. He's had his back broken. He's been shot through time. He's lost his mind. This is something far worse than all of those things. This is fighting himself in more ways than one and coming up short. It's realizing that despite all the preparation he's put into everything, he might not have enough to save the day after all. That's a terror that comes from deep down and rattles the bones.

Grades:

Story: Threeandahalfstars Batman Who Laughs 6 Small
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
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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