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Review: Batman: Who Laughs #1

As the events of Dark Nights: Metal rock the DC Universe, the creatures of the Dark Multiverse stand ready to invade our world! How can the World’s Greatest Heroes stop a horde of deadly beings that appear to be powerful nightmare versions of familiar figures? But who are these nightmare versions of Batman? Through a series of one-shots, the story of Metal is expanded and explored focusing on each of the nightmares we’ve been introduced to.

The One Who Laughs is clearly the ringleader of the group of extra dimensional beings and from what we’ve seen a blend between Batman and the Joker with a dash of Hellraiser and BDSM. But, what’s the story?

Writer James Tynion IV delivers the things of nightmares as we find out about this mysterious character and it actually surpasses how far I thought it’d be taken. This is disturbing on an impressive level as we see how this Batman fell and why he’s laughing. It’s some interesting, and weirdly entertaining, stuff that takes us through everything we need to know and delivers something new that ups the “holy shit” factor of Dark Nights: Metal.

Tynion has given us a vision as to what could happen if the Joker focused and had Batman’s cunning and smarts. But, this story also gives us some of the thought process behind this particular Batman and what he’s been promised and his motivation. All of that is framed in an interesting way and with impressive visuals that enhances it all.

The nightmares are brought to life by Riley Rossmo who knows how much to show and how much to leave off the page and let our minds run wild. It’s a prefect combination of blood and disturbing imagery to make the reader unnerved. This is a perfect example of artist and writer being on the same page when it comes to the story.

Also standing out is the colors by Ivan Plascencia and letters by Tom Napolitano. The colors are a purpleish hue that helps make Rossmo’s art pop and there’s great us of yellows and greens throughout. It’s a focused color palette. The lettering is key too as we see the switch in Batman primarily through how his dialogue is presented. It enhances the Hyde like change of the character and is pretty key in understanding and appreciating the switch.

I had a high bar for the issue and it met it and exceeded it. Some of the one-shots lately have slumped a little but this one is the best yet. Batman: Who Laughs is a thing of nightmares that embodies everything Dark Nights: Metal is about.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Riley Rossmo Cover Art: Jason Fabok
Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation:

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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