02 September 2015

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Gotham, Part V: Batman: The Man Who Laughs

Comic trade paperback, 141 pages
Published 2008 (contents: 2003-05)

Borrowed from the library
Read November 2014
Batman: The Man Who Laughs

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencillers: Doug Mahnke, Patrick Zircher
Inkers: Doug Mahnke, Aaron Sowd, Steve Bird
Colorists: David Baron, Jason Wright
Letterers: Rob Leigh, Todd Klein

Year One, November - Year Nineteen, May
Ed Brubaker collaborated with Greg Rucka on Gotham Central: Jokers and Madmen, which is the best Joker story in my opinion, so I was looking forward to seeing his take on the character's first meeting with Batman here. Unfortunately, the slim story told here doesn't really impress. It would be fine as one of any number of confrontations between Batman and the Joker, but I came away with no insight into their dynamic. What makes the Joker the greatest of the Batman's foes? From this story, I have no idea; it doesn't seem like he'd leave any more of a mark than Hugo Strange or the Scarecrow. It comes across as a fannish box-ticking exercise that was left better off unticked until someone had a better idea.

To fill out this volume, there's also "Made of Wood," a three-issue Detective Comics tale set almost two decades later, about Batman, Gordon, and Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern. Not amazing, but a competently-executed, thoroughly-enjoyable procedural. I don't know why it was collected with The Man Who Laughs, but I guess I'm glad it was.

Next Week: Three of Batman's greatest foes plus Man-Bat emerge on the Gotham scene in Four of a Kind!

1 comment:

  1. I'd guess "Made of Wood" was included simply because it's also by Brubaker and the one-shot Man Who Laughs wasn't enough to reprint on its own. Remains to be seen if "Made of Wood" will also end up in a later Batman by Ed Brubaker collection.