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The Batman Who Laughs #1 (DC Comics)
As the biggest breakout character from Dark Nights: Metal, it’s no surprise that The Batman Who Laughs was going to stick around the DC Universe. But it is a surprise to see the character back with not only Scott Snyder writing, but his Wytches artist Jock handling the art. It’s been a long time since the two have worked together on a series, but the they haven’t missed a step with The Batman Who Laughs #1, delivering a series that serves as both a sequel to Metal, and as a standalone Batman tale.
After discovering the body of Bruce Wayne on a crime scene, Batman knows there’s only one being behind this other dead Wayne: The Batman Who Laughs. Believed missing since the events of Metal, the Batman Who Laughs was actually held captive by the Legion of Doom, but now he’s out and ready to strike. With all of Batman’s history and training and none of his morals, Batman knows that he’s up against a truly deadly adversary, and that’s even without the fact that BWL has a new ally in his quest for chaos: the gun-toting “Grim Knight”. Up against such insurmountable odds, Batman turns to the only person who could help him stop these two twisted mirror images of himself: The Joker.
You don’t need me to tell you that Scott Snyder does a great job with this issue. But it is worth noting that this issue leans a lot more into the horror elements that Snyder is known for on books like Wytches and Severed than his standard superhero work. There’s a big sense of dread and uneasiness throughout the issue, and Snyder balances Batman’s wariness to take on these new foes with his usual preparedness in a way that legitimately makes me wonder what will happen in this series.
Jock’s a powerhouse of an artist on his own, but when he’s paired with Snyder on horror-themed titles, he’s unstoppable. That’s especially true here, as Jock’s art balances the superhero action with the horror of the Batman Who Laughs extremely well. It’s been a long while since we’ve seen Jock’s work as an interior artist, and Batman Who Laughs #1 was definitely worth the wait.
Even though it’s following the events of Metal, in a lot of ways The Batman Who Laughs is a strong enough debut issue that it can stand on it’s own. All you need to know is that this enemy has ties to Batman and The Joker, and he’s a very big deal. There was a considerable amount of hype surrounding this miniseries, and so far it’s looking like The Batman Who Laughs will more than live up to it.