The Batman Who Laughs #5 is published by DC Comics, written by Scott Snyder, with art by Jock, colors by David Baron, and letters by Sal Cipriano. The issue follows Bruce Wayne’s descent into madness after taking on the full effects of the Joker serum while chasing the Batman Who Laughs. Bruce hoped to fight fire with fire but at what cost. Now Batman hopes to retain enough of himself to fight through the hordes of men the Batman Who Laughs has sent after him during the trap he fell into at Blackgate prison during the end of the previous issue.
In the opening page of the comic, Bruce is staring at a subway token depicting a map of Gotham and reminiscing back to a conversation he had with his father. At that moment, staring at the map and what it represents, he realizes that he is Gotham and Gotham is the Batman. He is able to center himself again but only for a moment and not long enough to matter. That token is mentioned again at the end of the comic, coming full circle and showing just how often threads are weaved and intertwined even within a mini-series of only six issues.
This issue also finally offers us a glimpse into the origin to the corrupted, twisted Robins we have seen following the Batman Who Laughs since his debut in Dark Knight: Metal. Nearly every Batman story Snyder has written has led up to this mini-series, with threads and plot lines being addressed years and story arcs later.
Scott Snyder within his time writing Batman has crafted some of his greatest and most haunting villains. That is no easy feat considering this is a comic book character with debatably the greatest rogues gallery in history. From Mister Bloom, to the Court of Owls, to now the Batman Who Laughs, Snyder understands what makes a good and compelling villain. They are unnerving and upset something very real in all of our psyches.
Despite giving every issue in this series high accolades, The Batman Who Laughs #5 is my favorite issue yet. It is haunting, the pacing is spectacular, and it begins to close years of work flawlessly in one issue. Synder tends to be a wordier writer but I cannot complain considering how much is packed into these panels. Jock does an excellent job keeping the action moving despite the heavy script. Baron’s art once again works exceptionally well with Jock’s inks, highlighting heavy shadows and adding to the horror themes of the comic overall.
Additionally, there are a lot of excellent visual cues provided within Cipriano’s lettering. Depending on the moment and Bruce’s mindset, his words will begin to look more and more like the Batman Who Laugh’s, splashed with the signature blood red and disturbing font as if it has been scratched on the page with a knife instead of a pen.
The Batman Who Laughs is my favorite Batman comic out right now and this issue might be my favorite comic on shelves this week, hands down. I highly recommend the entire series, especially for horror fans and Batman fans alike.
The Batman Who Laughs #5 is available everywhere now that comic books are sold.
Rating: 5/5 Gotham subway tokens