THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS’ run has undoubtedly been one of DC Comics’ best new titles. Scott Snyder and Jock’s portrayal of the titular character has inspired fear amongst readers and critics alike. Additionally, witnessing the Batman of our universe succumbs to its own darkness in a desperate effort to take down The Batman Who Laughs has been an absolutely horrifying journey to witness. Now, in THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5, The Dark Knight only falls further. The Batman Who Laughs comes closer to accomplishing its master plan, and Gotham City awaits its dark fate.

the batman who laughs #5
THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Need a Hand?

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 begins with an introspective Batman. He reflects on his connection to Gotham City in addition to the impact of Batman’s existence within it. Consequently, The Dark Knight comes to the conclusion that ultimately, he is Gotham because, to him, Batman and Gotham City bring out the best in each other. Of course, this statement catalyzes a variety of thoughts. Batman would not exist without Gotham City. Though, if Gotham City existed without Batman, that would imply that crime had been totally wiped out.

So, is crime the best thing Gotham City has to offer?

Immediately following this introspection, Snyder puts us right back in the thick of THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #4’s cliffhanger. Arkham guards have opened fire on Batman per the orders of The Batman Who Laughs. Batman tries to get through to the guards by telling them that he is not their target, and their actual target, The Batman Who Laughs, is escaping. The guards didn’t buy the claim. Batman momentarily succumbs to his dark, multiverse persona. He intimidates and threatens the guards as he even refers to himself as The Batman Who Laughs.

Meanwhile, the real Batman Who Laughs appears before the Court of Owls. He continuously states that he has a plea to make to them, but they reject his offer before even hearing it. However, to the Court’s shock, The Batman Who Laughs has amputated the arms of each and every Talon, leaving the Court defenseless. Thus, The Batman Who Laughs assumes control of the Court.

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THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Face of Gotham City

In a more positive turn of events, James Gordon, Jr., rescues his father from the capture of The Grim Knight. Both James and his father reconvene with Batman to formulate a plan to end The Batman Who Laughs.

Commissioner Gordon informs Batman that The Batman Who Laughs still has two containers of serum to acquire before he can unleash the serum in Gotham City’s waterways, corrupting its citizens with their dark multiverse counterparts. Unfortunately, though, the three have come to the realization that The Batman Who Laughs has not hacked the Last Laugh like they initially believed. Instead, he is awaiting the moves of Batman and Gordon so that the two may lead him to Gotham’s waterways.

Upon this realization, The Batman Who Laughs sends a message to Batman. He states that The Last Laugh was built as a strategy to leverage Gotham’s power, not to protect the city. With this revelation, The Batman Who Laughs manipulates Batman through the dark multiverse. He pushes Batman to activate The Last Laugh. But right before Batman does, the issue concludes.

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THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

One More Second In THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5

One of the best aspects of THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS has been the series’ consistency in its quality. THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 continues that trend as Snyder solidifies yet another solid issue. The discord within Batman between his orthodox self and his dark, multiverse self is compelling to witness. The tension that arises whenever Batman temporarily loses himself is truly terrifying. For a moment, I am led to believe that the Batman we have known will turn into his own worst enemy.

Now, the highlight of this issue may be the sequence between The Batman Who Laughs and The Court of Owls. The Batman Who Laughs has proven to be a calculating individual who never seems to have to resort to plan B. Thus, to see him overtake the Court of Owls through brutal methods and great intelligence, only sustain the depth of his character. Ultimately, THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 is a stellar issue that continues to thrill through its engaging narrative.

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THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Depicting the Dark Multiverse in THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5

Throughout the series, Jock’s artwork has solidified the series’ gritty tone and dark nature. His work on THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 continues that aesthetic. However, his depiction of the dark multiverse through the lens of our Batman appears muddled at times. For example, the sequence that depicts Batman watching the city features an indecipherable look at the dark multiverse. The images are not exactly unclear.

However, I wish there were more details for them to facilitate a more cohesive perspective of the dark multiverse. With that being said, David Baron’s colors are fantastic. Additionally, the variant cover from Jenny Frison is bloody great as it perfectly exemplifies the barbaric nature of The Batman Who Laughs.

What Lies Beyond

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 is an excellent, genre-bending installment that truly gives readers a sense of despair. The Batman Who Laughs always appears to be one step ahead of Batman, stripping Batman of any sense of hope. Thus, the mystery deepens as Gotham City comes closer and closer to becoming the worst, most deplorable version of itself.

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 by Scott Snyder, Jock, David Baron, Sal Cipriano
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Though THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #5 features a few muddled points, the issue continues a solid streak this terrifying series has upheld.
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