The Batman Who Laughs No. 2 review: The last laugh


Batman has been infected with the Joker toxin, but before he allows himself to succumb to its effects, the Caped Crusader must track down the Batman Who Laughs and stop him.

The Batman Who Laughs No. 2

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Jock

The Batman Who Laughs No. 2 cover by Jock (Credit: DC Comics)

Batman had been infected with the Joker toxin at the end of the previous issue of The Batman Who Laughs. In the second issue of the Scott Snyder series, the Caped Crusader is doing everything in his power to stave of the effects of the toxin and prevent himself from becoming his own worst nightmare.

Batman believes the Joker knows what his enemy’s plans are, but the Clown Prince of Crime is unconscious and on the verge of death. In the meantime, another dead body has appeared in Gotham, and it is time for some detective work for the World’s Greatest Detective. With every new incident comes more questions, but it seems victory is out of Batman’s reach as long as The Batman Who Laughs is a step ahead of him. What dark paths must the good guys take to defeat this enemy?

Scott Snyder has built a hypnotic world with the Dark Nights: Metal series, and he continues to add details about the same in this series. The darkness of The Batman Who Laughs is inherent in every panel. Batman is not just fighting himself, but a version of himself who has nothing to lose. There are other Bruce Wayne’s out there – some worse, some better – but they are all at risk with the Batman Who Laughs on the loose.

In The Batman Who Laughs No. 2, readers are introduced to the Grim Knight, a rendition of the character who made a horrifying choice many years ago. That choice has made the Grim Knight virtually invincible, as well as highly prepared. What can a toxin-infected Batman do against power of this magnitude?

The best part of this issue was Batman and Jim Gordon’s interaction; it felt like a pleasant tribute to the simpler days when Batman was a detective and Jim Gordon was his friend and partner-in-crime. There’s something authentic about how the two characters work together, and hopefully their camaraderie will continue for the rest of the series.

The Grim Knight in The Batman Who Laughs No. 2 (Credit: DC Comics)

The main cast of the series continues to be stripped back to the bare minimum. So far, it is working well, and the story feels concise and cohesive. However, the absence of the extended Bat-family may be felt sooner rather than later, especially since the Metal universe did encompass everyone.

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Jock’s art and David Baron’s colors are a joy to behold; together they imbue each scene with a distinctive palette that captures the tone of the action on page. There’s an old-school whodunnit feel to The Batman Who Laughs No. 2 that gives it an almost traditional comic book feel.

From the looks of it, Scott Snyder is reveling in the opportunity to revisit some of his favorite storylines and characters in The Batman Who Laughs series. The denouement of issue two presents a character that he reintroduced into the comic book world a decade ago and the next installment seems to tread that same storyline as well.

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The Batman Who Laughs No. 2 was a fantastic mix of noir and horror, with the heavy dose of superhero drama. Snyder knows how to get under the skin of the Caped Crusader and really make him suffer by shining a light on his perceived failings. Two issues in, and this series is an immersive read that continues to deliver on its central premise.