THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #7
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist : Jock
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Publisher: DC Comics
The conclusion this twisted tale has reached it's conclusion, As Snyder has long eluded, "Batman Always Wins", which makes this story that much more of a mindf**k, since it's our Batman going up against the damn near unbeatable Batman Who Laughs. Watching one of the most brilliant minds of the DCU go up against an equally brilliant foe without al of the any moral compass has made for one of the most captivating comics from DC in a long time.
It's no easy feat to end a story just as strong as you started it, but Snyder and Jock not only go out with a bang but leave you yearning for more. While you could say that the story ended just as you would expect, with Batman winning, its not the end that matters it's the journey to get there. This has been one of the most unique Batman stories ever published and has really been a deep exploration in to the psyche of Bruce and what makes Batman, Batman. Even as the Joker toxin has overtaken his mind, he never gives up. No matter how many times the BWL tells him he would be better off if he just "let loose", he continues to prove why Batman is the best.
That's not even the best part of this series, it's the other characters who are able to shine in the side stories that elevates this story in ways you wouldn't expect. Watching Alfred be a complete badass throughout the series shows why he will always be an integral piece in any great Batman story. When utilized correctly, as Snyder always does, he becomes just as essential as Batman
Both Commisioner Gordon and his son James Jr. facing off against the Grim Knight might have been one of my favorite parts of this book. Going all the way to the "Black Mirror" story, we've seen the relationship between father and son go through many changes, which only made this ending that much more satisfying. As they square off with the Grim Knight, James Jr. has to decide which side he's on. Watching him overcome his demons and staying on the side of good was a pleasant surprise. Which only made it more satisfying when Commissioner Gordon let him go at the end. I can't forget to talk about how cool it was to see them fighting the Grim Knight while wearing the Batman Beyond costumes, nice touch.
Of course we end with Batman winning and BWL being taken off the table, for now. Watching Bruce fight an adversary that he could potentially become if circumstances were different is what made this one of the hardest battles he's ever fought. But this isn't the end, it's just the beginning. The issue ends with Commissioner Gordon infected with Joker toxin. which is se to play out in next months BATMAN/SUPERMAN. I love that Snyder ended the issue this way, and that image from Jock is still stuck in my head, hours after reading it.
Overall, this series has been consistently at the top of my read pile. Everyone on this creative team has been phenomenal and integral to the story. Snyder expertly weaved horror elements into this Batman story and paired up with Jock's kinetic and horrific art made this a match made in heaven. But lets not forget David Baron's colors on the book, his color palette set each scenes tone and mood perfectly. And it's not often that people talk about this, but Sal Cipriano's lettering skills were the final puzzle piece that added such a subtle element that only eagle eyed readers would notice. This book is truly a modern masterpiece, in my opinion, and one that should garner everyone's attention.