Batman/Joker is off to a good start. I enjoyed the first issue on all fronts but I feel it’s really here in the second that the series comes into focus. So, what’s working here? Let’s see!
I was happy to see that issue two picks up the pace. The first part was very much focused on mood and atmosphere. The plot was initiated but not moved forward in a big way. As you might imagine, that did give me some reason for apprehension. I’ve read enough decompressed comics to see the signs. Thankfully, this second part has assuaged my concern. I now see the slower pace of issue one as a very deliberate choice to ease the reader into the world.
So, this month Silvestri covers a lot more ground, and by and large, his choices are very effective. I was excited to see Nightwing making an appearance and presumably remaining a main character going forward. I’m always ready for more of one of my favorite characters, especially since I’m not the biggest fan of his ongoing series under Tom Taylor’s pen. It’s nice to see Dick just doing his thing without all the fan service and sickly-sweet writing. Now I just hope Silvestri draws some action scenes for him.
As for the other star player in this issue, Joker, I’m still very happy with his characterization. With the oversaturation of the character in recent years, we’ve gotten a lot of subpar interpretations. Often Joker is portrayed as humorless and pure evil or some other one-dimensional misinterpretation. Silvestri writes a Joker that can at one moment be genuinely funny and the next remind you just how terrifying he really is. He isn’t a dull monster who just wants to murder everything in sight. No, this Joker is written the way he should be. In other words, the version of the character that resulted in his popularity. I will admit, he does talk too much at times but it’s not so excessive that it bothers me. So, the characters are well written, a very interesting plot is beginning to take shape and we are left with a great cliffhanger. What more can I ask for? Good art? Got that.
The art is even better this month, if that’s even possible. This could very well be the best work of Marc Silvestri’s career. Nothing is done halfway here and the amount of detail in each panel is no small feat. Sometimes I just have to sit for a while and stare.
The colorless pages in the back are particularly cool as well. This is pretty standard in Black Label books now and I am all about it. It’s a great chance to see Silvestri’s art in its purest form.
Take a close look at the above spread. What may look random at first is, in fact, very deliberate. You can see every line is perfectly placed to create form, shadow, and motion. Nothing is wasted and nothing is overdone. The page layout is equally effective. Silvestri’s art tells the story better than words ever could. Batman is overwhelmed but still fighting and holding his own. We understand the ferocity and strength of his assailants. Most importantly they remain threatening without making Batman appears incompetent. Public service announcement: Batman doesn’t have to be taken down like a chump to prove his enemy is cool. Anyway, between Silvestri’s art and Arif Prianto’s moody colors, this comic looks spectacular, reads well, and should be in your collection!
- You’ve been waiting for Marc Silvestri to draw Batman. Whether for a month or twenty years, the wait was worth it.
- This is the best the Joker has been written in quite a while.
- I don’t know? What reason is there not to recommend it??
This comic is a great time. It isn’t the most profound story ever but it isn’t supposed to be. It’s just well written and brilliantly drawn. Strongly recommended.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.