Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The Batman Who Laughs #2 - DC Comics

“After the shocking ending of issue one”, which saw the insane Joker calmly shoot himself in the heart with a backwards firing trick pistol, many within this mini-series’ audience probably felt that the Clown Prince of Crime was either finally dead or that at some point “DC Comics” were potentially going to acknowledge Scott Snyder’s storyline was a non-canon piece of fiction like those printed insider the Burbank-based publisher’s “Elseworlds” comics. Disconcertingly however, neither outcome would’ve been correct due to the New Yorker opening up this second instalment of "The Batman Who Laughs" with Jerry Robinson’s co-creation somewhat simply shrugging off so serious a mortal wound courtesy of Alfred Pennyworth providing a bit of suction here and a few stitches there; “It’s just a physical response. Most people gasp. I suppose it means he’ll live.”

This miraculous piece of surgery by “Bruce Wayne’s loyal and tireless butler” genuinely must have stretched most readers’ willing suspension of disbelief to its outermost limits. Yet it is simply the start in a long line of contrived plot developments which the Stan Lee Award-winner employs throughout this twenty-four page periodical, starting with Batman “using ever Joker toxin antidote we have” daily to stave off his transformation into The Batman Who Laughs for a week, and ending with Wayne Tower’s “final defence against any chemical or biological attack” being supposedly guarded by an elderly blind man who haplessly allows this book’s homicidal titular character to effortlessly stroll into the top secret facility and blow the entire building up.

Admittedly, this final action-packed sequence does provide artist Jock with ample opportunity to pencil the World's Greatest Detective literally slugging it out with his opposite number from the Dark Multiverse, and resultantly imbue this magazine with an all-too brief twinkling of exhilarating entertainment. But the breathless Caped Crusader’s surprising victory over his ghoulishly-garbed semi-conscious opponent is soon brought to a swift end when he is suddenly shot in the chest from a nearby high-rise roof-top by the Grim Knight, and any onlookers are arguably left wondering why the “alternate version of Batman who uses guns” waited until after his target has smashed into Wayne Tower before firing, when it would surely have been far more straightforward to just bring his man down whilst he was presumably slowly scaling up “the tallest [tower] in Gotham.”
The regular cover art of "THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS" No. 2 by Jock

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