The Batman Who Laughs #6 is published by DC Comics, written by Scott Snyder, with art by Jock, colors by David Baron, and letters by Sal Cipriano. The issue picks up from where the last one left off, as Batman enacts the final laugh protocol while Jim Gordon and James Jr. watch. Bruce has fully accepted the Joker toxin that has been coursing through his veins for a few issues now. The opening page is jarring and the hidden message so carefully and brilliantly placed by Cipriano is unnerving. As if I was in a horror movie, I turned behind just to assure this corrupted Caped Crusader was not actually standing behind me.
Throughout the exchange, it is unclear if Batman is still good. The red lettering and images of a pale distorted Bruce Wayne are in direct contrast to the goal of his plan, to stop the Batman Who Laughs and save Gotham. Bruce explains that before the Grim Knight can gain access to the city through the Last Laugh protocol, they still have the control. Furthermore, Bruce, almost becoming the Batman Who Laughs at this point, knows the man’s one weakness.
As Bruce stares through the Dark Multiverse at thousands of version of himself, the Batman Who Laughs questions him and asks what has he learned. While Batman gives a quippy answer, I have no doubt the insinuation that every version of him and those around him are happier without “Batman” doesn’t hurt a little. The secret messages left through Cipriano’s lettering show the full darkness of Bruce, but it is also a grim reminder of every human’s insecurity and anxiety. For many, those things eat us alive. They seem to take our own words and dilute the message until it is no longer recognizable. The visuals continue that narrative as the words and messages become intermingled and cloudy.
To keep setting the tone, most of the panels are painted in red. The almost monochrome color palette from Baron elevates the tension. Red is an aggressive color and also a color of extremes, representing everything from passion, love, and seduction to on the other end of the emotional spectrum: violence, danger, and anger. Psychologically speaking, the color red is linked to excited and anxious feelings. But even through the shades of red, Jock’s art, characterized in this issue by jagged and harsh lines, stands out all on its own.
The Batman Who Laughs #6 while on the surface markets itself as being infection horror, it dives into something much deeper. The book continues to push the boundaries of Bruce’s psyche. Additionally, the series and this issue, in particular, has done an excellent job dissecting Jim Gordon and James Jr.’s complicated relationship as James strives for redemption.
Overall, The Batman Who Laughs #6 is a high-octane adventure that isn’t afraid to be downright creepy. The horror elements are perfectly implemented and I cannot speak highly enough of Cipriano’s lettering in this issue. Snyder has crafted a genuine masterpiece with this story and knowing there is only one issue left is bittersweet. Needless to say, I highly recommend The Batman Who Laughs for every Batman fan as well as anyone itching for a horror story.
The Batman Who Laughs #6 is available now everywhere comic books are sold.
The Batman Who Laughs #6
Overall, The Batman Who Laughs #6 is a high-octane adventure that isn’t afraid to be downright creepy. The horror elements are perfectly implemented and I cannot speak highly enough of Cipriano’s lettering in this issue. Snyder has crafted a genuine masterpiece with this story and knowing there is only one issue left is bittersweet.