The Batman Who Laughs wants to bring terror to Gotham City, and, so far, he is succeeding. In an effort to gain an upper hand and understand The Batman Who Laughs, Batman created a visor that allowed him to see into the dark multiverse. Now, in THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4, Batman attempts to use that visor to predict the next moves of The Batman Who Laughs. This newfound vision comes at a price. Batman must suppress his own darkness if he wants to maintain a hold on himself. The question is though, will he win that fight?

the batman who laughs #4
THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Descent

Unsurprisingly, Alfred is not happy to see Batman putting on a visor that looks exactly like the one The Batman Who Laughs wears. He rips the visor off of Batman’s face. This results in a scuffle between the two that escalates as Batman’s dark persona comes to the surface. Eventually, though, he is able to suppress it and embraces Alfred in great remorse.

Sometime later, Batman contacts James Gordon, Jr. Batman asks James if he has found the waterway The Batman Who Laughs will most likely contaminate. James states that he has narrowed down his choices to three. Batman goes on to investigate the options. At one waterway, he runs into The Joker, who had escaped the Batcave in the preceding issue. There, they had an unexpected discussion where Joker stated that he didn’t want either of them to win the fight for Gotham City, and the two shared a laugh.

Of course, this surprisingly light-hearted moment between the two does not last. Batman continues his investigation into The Batman Who Laughs, specifically the portals by which he has been transporting “Bruce Waynes” into our Batman’s own universe. Batman comes to discover that Arkham maintains a portal. He even momentarily travels through that portal. However, his investigation gets interrupted when The Batman Who Laughs reveals himself as an Arkham guard in disguise. He instructs the other guards to open fire on Batman, hoping to end him for good.

the batman who laughs #4
THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Verdict

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 continues the streak of this series thus far. It is a thrilling installment that pushes the plot forward, never missing a beat. The highlight of this particular issue is undoubtedly the tension within Batman. His decision to create a visor connected to the dark multiverse is surely a risk.

He risks succumbing to his dark self. He risks killing not only The Batman Who Laughs but anyone, as previewed in his attack on Alfred at the beginning of the issue. Thus, it will be interesting to see how close Batman gets to becoming The Batman Who Laughs himself in an effort to defeat him. This series has toyed with the concept that everyone is merely one step away from becoming their greatest enemy. Thus, each and every character in this saga, from Batman to Gordon to James, faces an uncertain and unpredictable fate.

So, overall THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 is a strong installment. Though its pacing does feel uneven sometimes as the issue wavers back and forth in an effort to develop various subplots. Despite this, though, the issue still holds its own and encompasses another worthy addition to the overarching narrative.

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THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4

Once again, Jock executes in each and every panel. His illustrations of Batman’s eyes beneath the visor are exceptionally horrifying. However, the eyes beneath The Batman Who Laughs’ visor will surely haunt me for days. With this, David Baron’s colors establish an eerie tone to the issue. He incorporates a general sense of terror throughout the work, one that can make one feel uneasy. This element only elevates the horror aspects of THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS, aspects that truly establish the saga’s tone and influence.

Now, perhaps my favorite aspect of this issue’s artwork lies in Sal Cipriano’s artwork. Each character in this story has their own distinct persona and worldview. As a result, Cipriano does a fantastic job in maintaining those personas through the depictions of their respective voices. Therefore, each and every aspect of the artwork within THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 come together to exhibit a gorgeous work of art that perfectly exemplifies the issue’s themes.

What Lies Beyond

The stakes are only getting higher in THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 as our titular villain continues to have the upper hand. But Batman is one step closer to becoming his enemy as he has made his own connection to the dark multiverse. However, will that connection prove to be a fatal mistake for The Dark Knight? Will he fall too deep? Well, we just have to wait and see as we continue our journey into the darkness with Batman himself.

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 BY SCOTT SNYDER, JOCK, DAVID BARON, & SAL CIPRIANO
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4 is yet another thrilling installment that pushes Batman closer and closer to the edge of losing himself.
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