Review: The Batman Who Laughs #3

by Carl Bryan
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[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Jock Variant Cover: Greg Capullo

Colors: David Baron

Letters: Sal Cipriano  



“Today I want the old you, James.  The Murderer.  The Genius.  I need HIM!” – Batman

Batman is fighting against time as he is holding the Joker’s toxin in his bloodstream at bay while he attempts to outwit, out think, and out do his nemesis The Batman Who Laughs (TBWL) who is several steps ahead of Batman.  We find Batman fighting against the rehab efforts that the younger Jim Gordan has been going through in the past years.  Against the wishes of the elder James Gordon, Batman is cajoling Jim to recall his old ways and divulge what he would do if he were the TBWL.  This appears to be the correct strategy as it has attracted the attention of The Grim Knight who shows up to abduct Jim and put a stop to Batman’s efforts.  The verbal exchange over the use of a gun is worth the price of admission as Batman and the Grim Knight face off.  Faced with a “greater good” choice direct out of a philosophy class, and a twist to the plot, Batman is back to square one.  All this, another dead Bruce Wayne from another dimension (that’s three folks!) and TBWL and Penguin face off!  Oh…And Alfred is locked out of the BatCave (What is going on in there?)  Buckle up….Chapter 3 The Laughing House is going to change our Bruce in ways we have never imagined!


Snyder is taking us on a roller coaster.  The addition of the Penguin to the fray is excellent, but the best writing is the exchange between the Grim Knight and Batman on their social commentary about participation trophies.  As a coach, I simply loved that!  Consequently, the biggest twist so far comes in this confrontation.  What happens when Plan A, B, and C don’t work?  Batman is about to find out.  And the Joker….how do you get off a table with your heart hanging out of your chest?  Jock is taking Snyder’s words and painting a classic tale that reinvents the world of Batman!  I’m loving the 80’s homage to Batman’s detective skills.  This is an attribute that I think has been neglected by previous authors in that Batman has taken on a persona of grimness and defeating an enemy with brawn only, but Snyder’s recent incarnations have been providing the perfect compliment to his physical abilities.  And on the subject of detective work, why is TBWL bringing all of these Bruce Waynes from alternate universes to kill?  Other than intimidation, it begs the question whether this is going to lead to his ultimate downfall.


I want to see the two rabid Robins again.  That is part of the allure of TBWL.  And if TBWL has those two Robins, why cannot Snyder give some help to Batman from his array of Robins?  Maybe in another Multiverse, this can happen.  But right now, this is the hottest book going for DC.  No negatives other than I wish the issue had more pages!  


I cannot say enough about Jock’s artwork bringing Scott Snyder’s work to life.  This is a new injection of life into the myth of Batman.  What a ride!  This issue means there are only three more to go and that is sad!  As a collector or a Batman fan, you have to grab this mini-series.  And from seeing other items in celebration of Batman, TBWL and the Grim Knight have already shown that they are going to be around a while in the Batman realm.  Grab your copy as soon as possible!  


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