The Batman Who Laughs #1
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson
This time: We’re treated to a one-on-one with the Batman Who Laughs, recounting a familiar story of things gone wrong. On Earth Negative Twenty Two, the Joker went on much more than just another rampage. Wearing the coat and holding the pipe of the deceased Jim Gordon, Joker brags on remembering Jim’s last moments of melting to death above a bound and gagged Batman, taking some literal kicks at the dark knight. Joker shoots a little girl’s parents in front of her and injects her with a stab of Joker venom, which sets Bruce to absolute berserk. Flying forth in absolute rage, Batman takes a final grab and slam at Joker, breaking his neck as he slams him to the ground. As a mysterious gas of chemicals flows forth from the Joker’s corpse, we see Bruce talking to a rather worried Superman two days later. The two watch a cell of victims from Joker’s gas attack, and Bruce starts to act a little strangely, letting forth a chuckle at the misfortune. Bruce meets with the Bat-Family a while later, who’s worried over his current state. Somewhat pale in the face, Bruce tells everyone that it’s a little too late to worry. Wielding dual assault rifles, Bruce slaughters Tim, Barbara, Jason, and Dick in a moment. The Batman Who Laughs had no issue taking out the rest of the heroes of the DC Universe of his earth, eventually sitting proudly on a throne of bodies surrounded by his own jokerized team of new Robins. As Bartabos comes to talk to the Darkest Knight, we get a glimpse back to the card game from the beginning. The Batman Who Laughs brags to a bloodied and bandaged prisoner with a final chilling laugh, one fact; that a Batman laughs, is a Batman who always wins.
Reed Strong’s Good Read: As the proper Dark Knights tie-ins come to a close, we finally get the back-story to by far the most anticipated stories of the bunch. And in a positive way, it’s everything you’d want. It’s bloody, it’s gruesome, it’s ****ed up. It’s metal. But in another, smaller way, it’s a little disappointing to have gotten a relatively straightforward take on what happened with this particular Bruce Wayne. It’s extremely chilling to see Batman gun down his family, take measures to literally tear Superman and his son apart, and it does give us everything we wanted. But there’s that greedy part of our senses that wants a surprise, no matter how shocking and effective the story we got was. It’s certainly something that’s going to leave an impact on the event and its readers, and it’s not going to be forgotten easily. Regardless of what-ifs, this what-if in its own only opens another door to an even darker place.