Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #5 review

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo is heating up! Now that we’re getting closer to the end, answers to our questions are beginning to surface and the stage is being set for an explosive finale. The series has been very successful so far but does this issue maintain that trend? Let’s see!

There are always going to be bad comics. Sometimes it seems that there is more bad than good coming out of big companies like DC. Given a lot of the discourse I’ve heard recently, it seems that many people consider the present to be one of those times. I can’t say I entirely disagree. However, just because DC’s current lineup of titles is not the strongest doesn’t mean they don’t publish anything of quality. I think it’s important to pick out those books that do connect with people and give them praise. The only way DC’s publications as a whole will get any better is if we, the readers, let them know what we like and what we don’t. This prompts me to send out a little public service announcement: Don’t buy comics you don’t like. No, that doesn’t mean I think you should pirate them. You shouldn’t read them at all. If the first couple of issues are bad, drop the book. I know I have all too often been a victim of my desire to “collect them all” (something I think many of us have experienced). I’ve bought whole runs that I hated just because I didn’t want a “hole” in my collection. That’s the kind of behavior we as readers need to stop. It’s that mentality that leads to widely despised comics selling well. In addition, for every series you drop, you now have the financial ability to try reading a different title.

So, onto the reason I bring this up. Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo is a great comic. Even popular titles like Ram V’s Detective Comics have a share of dissenters but I have yet to find any notable complaints about the quality of this title. Sure, some people are just tired of Joker and that’s valid but it seems that, in general, the story itself has been greeted with almost unanimous approval. Nowadays that’s no mean feat.

This is the kind of quality that we as comic fans are always asking for. So when it is presented to us we should be making it very clear to DC that we enjoy it. Likewise, we should not continue to read other titles out of some sense of collector’s obligation. Try something else! Maybe something that wouldn’t usually be on your radar. WildC.A.T.s has been a great time so far! Perhaps you’d enjoy DC’s upcoming AAPI heritage books?

Anyways, these are just thoughts that this issue provoked in me and I felt they were worth sharing because I want to see more comics that provoke the kind of response The Deadly Duo does. So now with that out of the way, let’s get into some specifics!

Amanda Simms is the real villain! Now I can’t say I didn’t see it coming (the cover solicitations of upcoming issues made it pretty hard to miss if you hadn’t guessed already) but I don’t really mind. That’s because it feels very earned to me. The buildup to the reveal is well executed and despite not being the most brilliant mystery tale of all time it’s great to see Batman actually doing some level of detective work in this series.

This issue provides even more Gotham backstory, this time regarding unfinished subway tunnels and the societal lore of a cathedral. It doesn’t feel random either. Instead, I find that it helps flesh out this world and when put in conjunction with all of Silvestri’s previous “history lessons” this vision of Gotham takes shape very well. It creates a strong atmosphere and evokes the idea of Gotham as a living thing, much like Scott Snyder’s run did. Additionally, it allow this world to develop a scope much more quickly and effectively than relying exclusively on character. When writing a miniseries, you need to quickly invest an audience or you risk failing to make a lasting impression. Silvestri’s Gotham makes that happen.

Speaking of smart choices, Silvestri continues to expertly regulate the Joker dosage. Too much Joker can easily become annoying to me but in this series, the character is kept on a tight leash. He is allowed out at the right moments for just the right amount of time. Just as he begins to grate, attention is drawn away.

Everything is carefully measured in this comic. This issue gets rather dark but Silvestri finds the time to add some lighter moments that keep the comic from feeling oppressive. Though Barbara is upset that Batman is working with the Joker, she is still willing to listen rationally to Batman’s explanation. Usually, in this kind of situation, the heroic characters just end up fighting. Silvestri has an eye for taking concepts that are usually frustratingly executed and presenting them with restraint. That’s important to me. Telling a highly original story is great but it doesn’t necessarily make a good writer. The small things that Silvestri is doing in this comic are the kinds of things that can sell any story regardless of how unique it is. Of course, it also helps that this isn’t a comic that simply replays other writer’s greatest hits.

Moving on, we get another round of incredible art this month. One thing I do have to complain about is the fact that Silvestri chose not to redesign Batgirl’s uniform.

The Burnside suit was played out many years ago and I really like Bruno Redondo’s recent redesign so if he didn’t want to redesign it would have been nice to see a more recent look (Though I have to wonder if this art was completed several years ago based on the original solicit date). Anyway, it also strikes me as odd that Nightwing and Batman both got new suits but Batgirl didn’t. It’s a small complaint though. Honestly, it’s enough that Silvestri is drawing her to begin with.

Before I wrap up I’d like to point out one panel that hit hard.

This is some fantastic horror comic stuff. Now I want to see Silvestri draw a miniseries that is fully in the horror genre. He’s got the equipment for it!

Recommended if…

  • You’d like to see Marc Silvestri’s take a Batgirl (even if she is wearing the Burnside costume)
  • You’re looking for some reveals
  • Good world-building, solid characterization, and an engaging plot? What more do you need??


What else can I do to sell people on this comic? In a lot of ways this feels like the kind of comic that got me into the character in the first place. From the art to the writing it really does everything right. There’s no need to be verbose. I enjoy it and I think you will too.

Score: 9/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.