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