The Batman Who Laughs #5
Writer: Scott Snyder
So it turns out this is a seven issue mini-series now. I’m a little torn about this. On the one hand, I really like this story so far. It’s a great little detective story that plays to Snyder’s strengths. But on the other hand, I don’t know how they can drag this story out to seven issues. But either way lets focus on issue #5.
One of my main problems with this series was the contrast between grounded detective story and bombastic multiversal event. Considering this was a squeal to The Black Mirror, I figured this story would be very down to earth and gritty. That’s why it was a little confusing seeing Bruce Waynes from other earths pop up and Dark-Multiverse metal helmets. But while previous issues struggled with this balance, I think this issue did a great job.
Snyder is really starting to go all in with the Dark Multiverse stuff. The Batman Who Laughs has been all around the Dark Multiverse and he’s quick to remind Bruce of that. The Grim Knight isn’t the only ally BWL has brought; this issue reveals an alternate Batman who leads the Court of Owls. I thought this was a really cool idea. It’s always great to see Snyder use the Court. Although nowadays it seems like they only show up to get destroyed by some other villain. And it’s also a little weird that BWL has the perfect Batman for literally every situation.
I also liked how the Batman Who Laughs interacts with Bruce in this issue. While previous issues didn’t touch much on the fact that BWL is literally Bruce Wayne, this job does a good issue at contrasting our Bruce and his Dark-Multiverse cousin. The two think the same and have the same memories. And BWL uses that to his advantage. I’m glad Snyder is playing with this angle because I think it’s one of the cooler aspects of the character.
There were a few letdowns in this issue though. First off, the BWL’s plan is a little generic. I know that poisoning the water supply is a Joker go-to, but I couldn’t help but feel if it’s just not that interesting. But what really threw me off was the ending of this issue. Snyder is really starting to lean on cliffhangers to make you pick up the next issue. But just like in previous issues, this cliffhanger feels more like clickbait. Either one of two things happened. Either it was all a part of Batman’s plan, or it will be fixed by the end of next issue. Either way, I’m getting pretty tired of these annoying cliffhangers.
But going back to positives, I’ll take a second to talk about Jock’s art. One of my favorite parts of this book is how Jock depicts Bruce’s madness. I think Jock more than any other artist is suited for this book.
Overall, this is a solid issue in this mini-series. It’s more or less the same quality of the last issues. Nothing stands out, and nothing was worse. This issue does a better job with consistency and tone. If you’ve liked this series so far, the Batman Who Laughs #5 won’t disappoint.