Batman: The Batman Who Laughs #2 (of 6) Review
• Jock (Cover Artists) • Ben Oliver (Variant Cover)
I was somewhat on the fence about after reading the first issue to this series. It wasn't bad but there were glaring problems with the story and I wasn't happy with the art direction. This issue is definitely a step in the right direction but there are some issues here preventing me from enjoying it as much as I would like to.
I'll get the major gripe out of the way first. I'm not a fan of this relationship between Batman and the Joker. Batman keeps going out of his way to either save or rescue the Joker. The plot device is overdone and you see shades of it too often.
Its referenced in Red Hood. We've seen this dynamic explored in the Arkham Knight and now we literally have Batman saving Joker from death. It's overboard and if you've been following Snyder's run with the character you're probably tired of it too.
I'm also tired of retreading the same plot points that were supposed to be addressed years ago. Joker has access to the Batcave and now knows Bruce's secret identity. I know this may have been addressed somewhere but at this point, the Batman/Joker dynamic is beating a dead horse and needs a break.
Aside from the rant above I loved the rest of the issue. Snyder has a very interesting plot here. Dead Bruce Waynes are appearing everywhere and being exposed to Joker toxin has put Bruce on edge. We're also introduced to the Grim Knight in this issue. He's essentially the Punisher with Bruce Wayne's resources. I'm interested in getting more details on the character as the series develops.
Batman also has a brief encounter with the Batman Who laughs and out of all of his appearances, this is the first time I've actually felt like we were reading about a Jokerized version of Bruce. In most cases, it feels like the character is Joker wearing the Batman costume. This is a nice change of pace and I'm happy that Snyder has found a nice balance here.
I wasn't sold on Jock's art style in the previous issue and although I'm still not entirely onboard its has grown on me a bit. In between the last review I picked up Wytches: Bad Egg and absolutely loved it. I think it's more of my sensibilities than a knock on the artist. He's a capable artist I'm just not sold on him with these characters.
The positives outweigh the negatives and I look forward to the direction the series takes. If the book can tone down the Joker/Batman dynamic the series can develop into a classic. As it stands now I can recommend the book if only tepidly.