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Review: The Batman Who Laughs #7

The Batman Who Laughs #7

The Batman Who Laughs #7 leads into the much anticipated Batman/Superman #1 and beyond that… is an extended giant fight scene. It’s the final showdown between Batman and the Batman Who Laughs. How do you defeat a foe who knows your every instinct and every move? Bruce Wayne will have to outsmart Bruce Wayne in this ultimate test of good versus evil.

Writer Scott Snyder wraps up the latest chapter in The Batman Who Laughs saga. Unfortunately, it’s in an issue that feels a bit stretched out. The Batman Who Laughs #7 features two main storylines. The first is Batman vs. The Batman Who Laughs and the second being the Gordons and their battle with the Grim Knight. Both are extended fight scenes. While they’re entertaining, they feel a bit dragged out. With a bit of editing, a tighter pace and shorter page count could have given us an extended sixth issue. That would have resulted in a better finale.

The issue is entertaining but there’s just something disappointing about it. The two Batman square off and a lot is said but unless you’re invested in the nature of Batman, it really is a fight scene. Gordon’s battle revolves around the relationship with his son and unless you’re invested in that, it too falls a little short and emotionless.

The issue is really a showcase for the art of Jock who easily moves between the nightmare of Batman’s vision and reality. The coloring by David Baron helps deliver that nightmare. But, it’s Sal Cipriano‘s lettering which really stands out. The voice and chill is all in the lettering in this issue.

While the issue wraps up the uneven miniseries, beyond the final page, it’s an issue that you can skip. There’s a lack of emotional punch to it and overall feels like a few extra pages stretched out to a full issue. It’s a clunker of an ending for a miniseries that went on a bit too long. But, as a piece of the whole, it’s fine. This is a series which will be much better read in one sitting as a trade. This issue is a prime example of why. The issue feels not like a chapter but a continuation after a commercial break wrapping up the last ten minutes of a show. It’s vital but doesn’t stand on its own.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.65 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #6

The Batman Who Laughs #6,

Intense. That’s the word that best describes The Batman Who Laughs #6, the penultimate issue of this solid miniseries.

Writer Scott Snyder has been building to this moment in this series. The Batman Who Laughs #6 features the confrontation of Batman and The Batman Who Laughs for a hell of a cathartic battle.

There’s an intensity about the comic. It builds as you move along to those final moments which feature a bit of release. This is a perfect example of building the emotional moment and leaving the reader want more.

That emotional ride is helped by Jock whose art with colorist David Baron is amazing. There’s a horror aspect to the design and look of the issue. It goes back and forth between reality and the nightmare vision Bruce/Batman is experiencing as the toxin courses through his veins. As he devolves into his own version of the Batman Who Laughs, we see a distorted world whose horrors would break anyone.

The negative of the comic is the lettering. I’ll admit I read this digitally so have no idea if this is an issue in the print version of the comic. The narrative boxes with red lettering on gray are hard to read at times. I had to blow up the pdf to be able to full read the text and even then I struggled. But, at the same time, Sal Cipriano‘s lettering also captures the madness. It adds character to both Batman and the Batman Who Laughs.

The issue is a solid one leaving me excited to see where the finale takes us and wondering how Batman will win in the end. It’s a prime example of both Snyder and Jock being at the top of their game.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letters: Sal Cipriano
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Underrated: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado (Redux)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado


bs colorado.jpg

I wanted to revisit this book, because I’ve recently reread and still don’t think it gets the attention it deserves. This originally ran in July of 2018.

Jeff Lemire has been writing Bloodshot across various series for a long time. Longer, even, than I have been reading. Two days ago, I picked up the first volume of Bloodshot Reborn as despite reading from around the eighth issue of the series on, I had never actually read the opening to the series. The blurb on the back of this book gives you a pretty good idea of the book’s plot, but what it doesn’t do is tell you that this book is so much more than your typical superhero story.

Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit — a private contractor trafficking in violence — very well. Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self-imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving head-long into the violence that nearly destroyed him.

Picking up after the events of The Valiant (expect spoilers for that book if you haven’t read it), Colorado opens with a monologue telling you who Bloodshot was juxtaposed against images in stark contrast to who he is now. Lemire wastes no tie in showing you that a  man who was forced to kill for others has, seemingly, wasted his opportunity at a second chance for a normal life. Within a page or two, you’re hitting rock bottom with the man formerly known as Bloodshot. You can feel his guilt and shame emanating  from the paper as you turn the page, and not once do you blame him for what he’s going through.

This is a man who was broken, and who doesn’t know how to move past what he was. Who woke up from a nightmare only to understand that he was the monster, and now wears the question of whether he deserves to move on as an armour.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is an origin story, of sorts, for Ray Garrison. Which means you don’t need to have read Bloodshot prior to picking up this comic (and, really, although the first series post Valiant relaunch is good, it pales in comparison to the more psychological horror take on the character that Lemire presents us with). This first volume in the series is a brilliant read; I devoured it in one sitting and immediately wanted to read more. I am a huge fan of Jeff Lemire, and think his take on the character is a vastly underrated one when looked at in the grand scheme of the comics read world.

Lemire’s take on Bloodshot is my favourite version of the character, but the opening of his story takes more from the horror genre than one would initially expect. The character’s inner turmoil is obvious and very clear to the reader as Ray Garrison struggles to discover who he is now that he’s no longer a monster; and his biggest fear, and one he must confront as the volume progresses, is that he’s nobody. Without the monster, he is a shell of a man.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is a book I can’t speak highly enough of (were this a review I’d be giving it a solid 10; the art is every bit as impressive as the story), and it genuinely surprised me that I hadn’t heard much about it prior to reading it myself. Maybe that was part of the magic, that unexpected kick in the teeth, but this first volume of Bloodshot Reborn needs to find its place on your shelf – whether physical or digital.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Preview: The Batman Who Laughs #5

The Batman Who Laughs #5

Batman was in a bad position when we last left him as he was surrounded by Arkham guards firing at him as the Batman Who Laughs taunted his every move. This issue has Bruce further falling in to the deep of the toxin in his veins as Gordon must deal with his situation and a decision is made whether to activate the Last Laugh.

The Batman Who Laughs #5 is an interesting issue in that it makes little sense on its own and even as a slice of the bigger picture it still takes a few reads to totally get.

Writer Scott Snyder is clearly not just weaving a miniseries here but has a bigger picture in mind as well. This shouldn’t be too surprising as he has done this before leaving his mark on Batman and the DC Universe as a whole. Revelations here are interesting hinting at some things laid out long ago but where things go from here is the big question. The issue is the revelation one showing us, sort of, what the Batman Who Laughs wants. Whether our Batman will give it to him is another question as Snyder leaves it very nebulous as to what the correct direction to go is.

The art by Jock continues to be great with a mix of action and horror and flowing from one to another. The issue definitely falls more into the horror end of things with this issue as each panel seems to bring a bit more madness to the page. Jock is helped with that by David Baron but it’s Sal Cipriano‘s lettering that really stands out. Not only does he deliver a style that’s so befits the Batman Who Laughs, he also dips into that with our Batman showing the struggle within. The lettering in this case tells a a lot of the story beyond the written word.

The issue doesn’t quite stand on its own but has me intrigued as to where things are going next. As part of a miniseries this far in it’s the reveal to some extent and even with that it still leaves a lot out there. At this point it’ll be interesting to see where the team takes it especially wit the announcement this series would be leading into more to come in the next year.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.05 Overall: 7.55 Recommendation:
Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Scott Snyder and Jock’s The Batman Who Laughs is Extended to Seven Issues

Today, DC Comics announced the upcoming Batman/Superman from writer Joshua Williamson and artist David Marquez making his DC debut.

In that announcement was another, The Batman Who Laughs from writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock is being extended to a seventh issue.

The issue highlights the final showdown between Batman and the Jokerized version of himself who originated from the Dark Multiverse in Dark Nights: Metal. Bruce Wayne will have to outsmart Bruce Wayne in this ultimate test of good vs. evil, so don’t miss the finale to the epic miniseries that will tear up the very foundations of Gotham City!

The final issue of The Batman Who Laughs, written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Jock with color by David Baron, will hit shelves July 31, 2019 with a new cover by Jock.

cover to THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #7 by Jock - art not final
cover to THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #7 by Jock – art not final

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #4

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 COMIC REVIEW – WHAT’S SO FUNNY?

Batman is on a desperate hunt through Gotham City, tracking down the dark version of himself known as the Grim Knight. But the serum Batman’s been self administering has started to transform his mind, making him into something much darker…something amoral…something like the Batman Who Laughs-and he’s starting to lose his grip on reality. Toeing the line between vengeance and justice, Batman must struggle to keep his moral code as the Grim Knight gains control of the Batcave, sending all of his vehicles and weapons on a collision course with Gotham City. The Grim Knight, the Batman Who Laughs, even allies like Jim Gordon and his son force Batman to pull the trigger…and activate the Last Laugh. Will Batman be the savior of Gotham City once more? Or is he the kill shot?

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #4

The Batman Who Laughs #4

Batman, our Batman, has been injected with the Joker toxin and slowly transforming in to the Batman Who Laughs, the deadly version of himself from the Dark Multiverse. In this issue we get the bigger idea and plan as Batman desperately attempts to stop two deadly adversaries.

Writer Scott Snyder delivers an issue of desperation and heartbreak as Alfred confronts Batman resulting in a battle between the two of them and some revelations. It’s hard to see the two fight and Alfred being both angry and scared at what his “son” is becoming. To also hear Batman/Bruce slowly succumb to the toxin is a tragedy all its own as we get a better idea of the negative thoughts of his mind.

It’s an interesting issue as it really draws that line and makes it clear as to what the difference in worldview and vision is between Batman and the Batman Who Laughs. We also finally find out how the Batman Who Laughs Can see through that visor.

There’s also the Grim Knight who has a vendetta against Gordon which feels like will be his undoing in the end.

The art by Jock is amazing with solid coloring by David Baron. The style fits the breakdown of Bruce/Batman as he slowly loses it and fights to keep his focus. There’s just a level of emotion and raw ugliness there that works well as we see the duality of how he sees the world now.

Letterer Sal Cipriano deserves recognition as the dialogue is a little special jumping between Bruce/Batman’s personalities with key words emphasized to show his emotional state. Then there’s the style of the Batman Who Laughs which helps make the demented feel of the character.

The issue is a solid one with just a few more to go before things wrap up. This absolutely is that key issue that gets the ball rolling to the end and delivers a lot of reveals as well as emotional and exciting moments. This series has been fantastic and there’s not only excitement in how it’ll wrap up but where things go from here.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #3

The Batman Who Laughs #3

All the pieces are starting to fit together as the Batman Who Laughs acquires another key element in his plan-one that is linked to the founding fathers of Gotham City and to a legacy started by the Wayne family and protected by none other than Oswald Cobblepot.

Writer Scott Snyder has put together a fascinating miniseries the explores the lines that Batman will and won’t cross by pitting him against the Batman Who Laughs. The introduction of the Grim Knight delivered another Batman who we can explore yet another aspect of the character through. In The Batman Who Laughs #3, we get confrontations but also an exploration of exactly when “Batman was born.”

Through the action sequences and the comic as a whole, Snyder explores this idea of what created Batman. Was it the death of his parents? Was it his falling in the cave? Was it the bat breaking through the window? Was it a combination? Or, was it something else entirely?

There’s also a dive into what lines Batman and Bruce will and won’t cross. In his confrontation with the Grim Knight, a Punisher-esque version of Batman, we dive into his unwillingness to kill and his not wanting to use guns. It’s a scene that’s smart in many ways and shows that Batman is more than brute force.

But, the issue is basically a bridge to what’s next. It’s Batman running around trying to figure out what the bad guys’ plan is and realizing that he’s too many steps behind. It’s desperation but really a bridge to what’s next.

Jock‘s art, along with color from David Baron, and lettering from Sal Cirpriano combines the style of a Batman comic with a bit of a nightmarish tinge. The action is solid and there’s subtle focuses that really enhance the desperation of it all. Through the art, the psychological aspect of it all is enhanced.

The issue as part of the whole is a good one though on its own it falls a bit short. It’s definitely not a place to start but for those already reading the series, it’s a good addition to the overall story.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #2

The Batman Who Laughs #2

A ticking clock sets Batman on a trail throughout the different realities of the Multiverse. He starts to see all the iterations of his life, and what could have been…but more importantly, Bruce Wayne begins to deduce that his current life is somehow wrong, and that all the mistakes he’s made are somehow connected. Meanwhile, the Batman Who Laughs raises the curtain on his second act, pulling out the big guns to break into Arkham Asylum…enter one of the most punishing Batmen of the Dark Multiverse: the Grim Knight!

The first issue of this series was fantastic and this second one seems to outdo it in every way. Writer Scott Snyder delivers a desperate and brutal story in The Batman Who Laughs #2. If this Joker/Batman mix from the Dark Multiverse wasn’t bad enough, we now have one of the deadliest Batmen out there in the Grim Knight, a Batman who’s a weapons expert and willing to do whatever it takes.

As we saw at the end of the previous issue, the Joker has infected Batman and possibly killed himself. This issue is the ramifications of that as our Batman must fight off the Joker toxin and at the same time deal with evil versions of himself. There’s a sense of urgency about it all that Snyder makes sure to emphasize whenever he can. Add in that this is a twist on what made the Batman Who Laughs and we see a Batman struggling to not become what he’s fighting. That focus on different aspects of Batman, and the roads not taken, is one of the most interesting things to be added to Batman’s myth in quite some time and Snyder knocks it out of the park by doing so.

There’s also the emphasis on the Dark Multiverse Batmen and really just how horrible they are. These are Batman without the control or the moral focus. They do what they need to do to win. It also makes us realize how much Batman really holds back and the monster he could become if he chose to.

The art by Jock, colors by David Baron, and lettering by Sal Cipriano helps it all and there’s some fantastic moments in the issue. Brutal fights, explosions, but it’s the subtle details of Bruce/Batman’s infection with the Joker toxin that stands out. The way he stands, the look in his eyes, the body language overall, it adds so much to the storytelling and a depth of emotion to it all.

The first issue was fantastic and this second issue is amazing as well. This is a hell of a story that seems to really be a match that tests everything about Batman. Not since the Court of Owls have we had a villain who is a match, if not the better, of Batman. And we haven’t had a story where it really felt that Batman might lose but also cross a line he doesn’t want to. This is the mini-series to go all in for as it’s one hell of a story so far.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #1

Dark Knights: Metal introduced us to the Dark Multiverse and one of the most frightening villains ever, The Batman Who Laughs. He’s still loose hoping to “win” and the only person who can stop him is Batman. But, will Batman have to cross the line he hoped to never cross and kill the evil version of himself? Plus, a whole new Batman from the Dark Multiverse!

The Batman Who Laughs is by Scott Snyder, Jock, David Baron, and Sal Cipriano.

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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