Batman/The Joker: The Deadly Duo is now past the halfway point and the mystery is beginning to unravel… or is it? The last issue left us with the reveal of who the villain facing Batman was but it seemed too easy to me and after reading this issue I can sense a twist coming. How does the issue overall fare though? Let’s see!
This issue doesn’t cover a lot of ground in terms of events taking place but it does progress the plot quite a bit. Most of the comic is set on a train that the antagonist has set to run into the station killing thousands. If they lighten the load enough it will be diverted onto another line saving the station. Of course, Joker immediately wants to start throwing passengers off and Batman is determined to find another way. There’s also an added element of conflict because Silvestri ties the train to Bruce Wayne by revealing it’s where his father proposed to his mother. The ticking clock element really brings this sequence to life and made this a very engaging read.
What I appreciate most about this issue is how it works on two fronts. It effectively continues the story we’ve been reading. Joker and Batman’s working relationship is put on the line. We get a backstory for the supposed villain of the story, and Nightwing finds some information that pushes the story forward, making me excited for next month’s issue. Simultaneously, this is an issue that can be enjoyed by itself. Explanation for the elements that have been built up in previous issues is present enough that it isn’t confusing. The bulk of the issue is Batman and Joker being presented with a problem that they have to solve and the steps they take to do so. In this way, it’s a satisfying standalone Batman story in a vacuum. There’s nothing wrong with a miniseries where each issue is essentially unreadable without context but the beauty of the serialized format is the ability to weave A and B plots and it’s nice to see Silvestri working with that.
I do have a couple of nitpicks to complain about this month, unfortunately. First among them is this moment.
Jokes about Nightwing’s nice butt were funny in Grayson when it was fresh and new. That was almost ten years ago. Now it’s just an annoying instance of Flanderization. Having a nice butt is not a personality trait. Also, can you imagine talking like this about the bodily merits of someone you barely know in real life? Yeesh. Anyway, it’s just a trope I’m very tired of and I wasn’t happy to see it here.
My other complaint is Joker’s characterization in the opening flashback. This scene goes for the “evil killer Joker” interpretation. I don’t think Joker should kill people unless he finds something funny about it. In this case, he’s just killing for the sake of it.
I find this boring. Joker might as well be another run of the mill gangster. It’s nothing that breaks the comic though. I think his characterization in this series has generally been on point and it’s fine throughout the rest of this issue.
Now for the tough part. How can I find a fresh way to express how incredible Marc Silvestri’s art is? It’s breathtaking. This is the best art being published by DC right now. The style is scratchy but every line is ordered in its disorder. There is intent to each moment. Silvestri is at the peak of his craft and that’s all the more impressive considering how many veteran artists get lazy and allow their work to slip. Even if the story wasn’t very good, this is a comic worth buying just to look at. Oh, by the way, the story is good. So, definitely buy it.
- You like art
- Maybe you’ve been out of comics for a while? This is something worth popping in to see
- Aren’t you convinced yet?
I’ll keep it simple. There’s no reason any Batman fan should be avoiding this book. It really is worth your time and money. I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.