Whether you loved or hated Batman: Metal you have to admit that the pieces standout villain, The Batman Who Laughs, is a truly a fascinating figure.
Here to encapsulate this incubator of evil is The Batman Who Laughs, a graphic novel that chronicles a brand new arc for the villain in one seven issue storyline.
Throughout this review I’ll be going over everything that you need to know about the book as well as to whether you should pick it up or not.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet then I highly suggest that you skip to the score and come back at a later date.
With that out the way let’s dive into the Batman Who Laughs.
The Many Lives Of Bruce Wayne
The story opens with Batman discovering that a multitude of Bruce Wayne’s have arrived in Gotham City. There’s the Batman who Laughs, an ex-Mayor and a Wayne that seems to have quit being Batman at some point to live a happy life.
Throughout the intro, we run into The Grim Knight (who is Bruce if he’d picked up the gun in crime alley) and another than is a high ranking member of the Cobblepot mob.
It’s amazing seeing these cameos and it adds a lot to the work in several interesting ways.
At the center of it all though is the mystery of why have these characters appeared and what’s truly going on in Gotham?
It’s a really gripping opening that’s actually packed with a couple of deaths that I didn’t see coming at all but instantly the graphic novel puts the reader on their toes and from the off it’s an engaging read.
The Last Laugh
The Batman Who Laughs enters Wayne Tower, bypassing the security with ease due to being Bruce Wayne from another universe and he destroys it from the inside, wreaking havoc on Gotham.
Watching the monumental structure collapse is an immense chapter and seeing the chapter really showcase just how dangerous of a force that he is really ramping up the stakes.
Luckily, Batman has a plan called ‘The Last Laugh’ which completely seals the city off from attacks, however, with Wayne Tower now completely destroyed, he is unable to see all avenues in which they could come from.
With nowhere else to turn, Commissioner Gordon calls on his son making for an uneasy alliance, especially if you know the history of the two.
However, just as they are about to pre-empt the attack, The Grim Knight takes Commissioner Gordon as a hostage. Batman originally set up The Last Laugh so that it could only be activated with their two voices combined and now with the Grim Knight having access to it, it looks like The Batman who laughs isn’t the only thing that The Dark Knight has to worry about.
The Grim Knight
We learn that the Grim Knight, as with all versions of Bruce Wayne watched his parents get gunned down in Crime Alley.
However, unlike every other version, GK took Joe Chill’s gun and turned it on him. Carving out a new, more vengeful legend in Gotham.
It’s fascinating stuff and I always love watching the Batman origin subverted and here they really craft it into a new and enthralling way that lets you know everything you need to about the new roadblock for The Dark Knight.
They go through his entire life, from Batman: Year One onwards and it’s a fascinating read. I loved seeing Gordon be the only one in the force that wanted to take him down whilst the other officers reveled in the fact he made their jobs easier.
It’s the Batman that we could have gotten (especially as Batman did use a gun originally in the 30s) and here it works to great effect.
Put On The Mask
Left with no other option, Batman puts on the Batman Who Laugh’s mask and tracks both villains of the piece to Blackgate.
Tricked at the last minute, Batman ends up activating The Last Laugh and this turn really ends up elevating the finale of the book.
You can see the Joker overtaking the character from everything down to Batman’s look, to his movement and even the font they use for his inner monologue turns red as the Clown Prince Of Crime slowly starts to seep in.
It’s a genius tactic and it really lets you know that for the finale the battle between Batman and The Batman who laughs is happening not just for the soul of Gotham but also the soul of Bruce himself.
There are some awesome action moments including the Gordon’s suiting up in the Batman Begins attire to take on the Grim Knight whilst Batman and The Batman Who Laughs battle over a young Bruce from another dimension.
The book wraps up nicely with The Caped Crusader winning and through the young boy managing to get blood transfusion that reverses his mutation.
Alfred also warns the child to not go to the cinema on the fateful night that his parents would be gunned down. It’s an awesome way to wrap up the storyline that lets you know, somewhere out there is a Bruce that grew up to live a happy life.
Though this ends on a cliffhanger it feels like a complete story overall that doesn’t require any additional reading and though I’m curious to see more, I would have been happy if this had been all that we got.
Overall this is probably one of the best Graphic Novels of 2019 and I had a great time reading it.
I have a feeling it won’t be too long before we see The Batman Who Laughs again and here’s hoping the next time is as good as this one.
The Book gets a…