Review – The Batman Who Laughs #5 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artwork: Jock
Colourist: David Baron
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 8th May 2019

What an issue! The latest chapter of The Batman Who Laughs is absolutely relentless in every sense of the word. It drops you straight into an action scene and refuses to let up from start to finish. Batman is clutching at the last remnants of his sanity as the Joker toxin continues to course its way through his veins, but with every movement he becomes less and less of himself and more of the enemy he fights against.

The Batman Who Laughs continues to earn his worthy place in the top tier of Batman villains. Every action, every thought or word is as expertly planned as you would expect from Batman himself, albeit significantly more evil. In his quest to drive our Bats off the deep end, more characters from Snyder’s back catalogue make a fleeting (but amazing) appearance. Not to be outdone, The Grim Knight also appears briefly this issue, stealing the scene he’s involved in and proving to be every bit as malicious as his insane partner.

In my opinion, the writing here is absolutely perfect. Snyder manages to walk the line between action and plot progression in every panel, and even the lettering plays a part in showing us just how close to the edge Batman is skirting in order to try and stop his dark counterpart. The main reason I think The Batman Who Laughs works so well is because he exemplifies the side to Batman that we all choose to ignore, the fact that he is in many ways just as bad as the villains he fights against. He’s just as single minded in his approach to his mission, and just as maniacal and borderline sociopathic in his planning. And like Alan Moore once said, all it takes is one bad day.

Jock adds a real sense of dramatic horror to these issues. His jagged representation of the characters continues to haunt my dreams, as does his unsettling choice of angles. When it comes to the Batman Who Laughs, Jock purposely chooses to highlight one of the most off-putting things about him. Namely, his lack of eyes. In the close-ups, he focuses on the blood red grin jumping out at you against a stark black background. It’s techniques like this and the mirroring of Bruce’s red eyes as he goes off the deep end that really give me the willies.

Another fantastic horror show of an issue!

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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