I have just gotten back into comics about a year ago, and a lot has changed. When I was last heavily into it, Marvel reigned supreme, Image had just started, and a villain named Venom was tearing shit up.
So I decided to mostly collect older comics, the stuff I knew, and dip my toe into the vast pool of DC, and buy the first The Batman Who Laughs #1. And I really enjoyed reading it, to the point I went back, bought the variant cover, and eagerly awaited the next.
Now, since I’ve been back in the game for a year, I just want to say how much I hate that every comic has a variant cover. It smells of a cash grab, and I wish they would take some of that talent, have them work on new minority characters, so they don’t have to cheat and create new universes and replace established ones.
I’d like to tell you about the story, but the farther I read into it, the more confused I got. It starts with where METAL leaves off, the Batman Who Laughs survived his fight with the Joker, and now Bruce Wayne realizes that he might possibly have to break rule #1, and kill him.
This leads Batman on a trail through the different realities, he sees the different paths he could have taken, and it messes with him. While he’s doing this, The BWL breaks into Arkham, and releases the Grim Knight.
BWL acquires a key fighting The Penguin, Batman purges the serum from his system that protects him from the Joker Toxin, and then James Gordon Jr shows up.
This is the point it started to get confusing to me, because I had to google the back story, which is as vague as my recap, and I had issues by this point. The different Batman’s and Bruce Wayne’s, all start to show up, and it starts to get confusing as to who is who. Now, I really liked Jock’s artistic stylings, but whoever inked the dialogue should be banned from that job. To differentiate between the Batman who now has the toxin in him, and the Grim Knight, one has regular script that you can read, and the other one has script in red. It was small, in a goofy script, and quite honestly, sometimes impossible to read. I honestly thought it was because my glasses sucked, and I got new ones, same problems.
So I’m at the point, that I can’t read a quarter of the dialog, there are multiple Batman’s, two James Gordons, and a few different Alfreds.
In the story, the real Batman infected with the toxin is hunting down the Grim Knight, is turning darker because of the serum, you see the occasional red letter to show you that he’s changing.
The Grim Knight takes over the Batcave, does all sorts of shenanigans, and forces the semi good at this point Batman to activate the Last Laugh.
This is up to book four of a six book run. Eventually it became a seven book run, but still. By now I am confused, but by my personal rule, I have to finish buying the run, because I have over 50% of the run, and it would be stupid not to. At this point I’m loving the art work, thouroughly confused about what is going on, I can’t read a quarter of what is going on, and my enthusiasm has left me for the series.
The good news is for one issue, they had seems to fix the script issue, the red script was a tad bigger, much easier to read, so I was excited for that. For one fucking issue. One. You would think, when reading it, someone there would have said, “you know, when you are able to read what they are saying and still using this stupid red ink, it makes it a lot easier”. Apparently, that guy or gal was fired for saying that, because the last two books were back to being a shit show.
I’m not 100% sure what happened, so in reality I can’t spoil it for you. Like I said, I enjoyed the art work, and the inking. I feel the story got muddled at times, especially when I had no idea what they Grim Knight was saying.
I don’t know if it was my frustration with other things, but after about book four, the Jock style lost its luster too. It was good, but I’m not sure I want a steady diet of it. I think realistically it was good for this story, alternate universes and all that bullshit, so you’re going to get an odd looking character, I get that. Maybe I’m old, but I like my characters a little more classic looking, more realistic.
So in review, the art was good, the coloring was good, the script was dog shit, and the story was confusing at points, but good overall.
I’d like to see Batman cut down on titles, more quick hitters, less opus’, and use other villains, because for the most part you only hear about it if the Joker is involved, and there are so many other great villains that have seemed to fall the the wayside. I feel that way for most books, boil it down so it’s all quality, a little lest quantity, and stop with all the variants. Stop it! Now!
Add me on Twitter and whatever else @jaycanchu. Yell at me, call me an idiot…probably true anyway.