After seven terrifying, complex, and immersive issues, The Batman Who Laughs series has finally come to an end. The run, led by writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock, has provided readers with a profound depiction of its titular character, who made their comic book debut back in 2017.
Now, in his very own series, The Batman Who Laughs has captivated readers with his unpredictability and horrifying nature. Additionally, the series has provided an unapologetic perspective of "our" Batman's own self-doubts and curiosity for his innate darkness.
A primary motif of this series has been the existence of "the double". In an obvious exemplification, Batman battles an alternate of himself, an entity that succumbed to his darkest inclinations. Interestingly, it did not appear to take much effort for The Batman Who Laughs to become the hideous doppelgänger he has become.
All it took was one bad day.
With this, the return of Commissioner Gordon's son, James, furthers this motif in a more subtle manner as James' double exists within himself. Snyder and Jock's Batman: The Black Mirror depicts James' psychopathic tendencies and his apparent inability to overcome them. However, The Batman Who Laughs challenges James' self-defined nature. In this particular run, James makes an effort to redeem himself, even though acts of good will do not come naturally to him.
The conclusion of The Batman Who Laughs #6 features our titular villain injecting Batman with the serum that turned himself into his own demented persona. Consequently, Batman begins narrating how he finally feels free and more himself than ever before.
In this moment, it appears as though The Batman Who Laughs is closer to accomplishing his mission than ever before. He states that Batman's blood is all he needs to convert the city to its darkest form, but before he can convert Gotham, he must kill Batman.
Prior to accomplishing this though, Alfred arrives to the scene, unleashing gunfire on The Batman Who Laughs. Moments later, Batman reveals his master plan to defeat his foe.
Despite his slow conversion into his dark self, Batman remains tethered to his duty to defeat his enemy. Consequently, Batman goes on to explain that he had set traps all throughout Gotham City that maintained the ability to incapacitate "evil Batmen".
Thus, in this moment of revelation, the traps are activated. Batman begins beating down The Batman Who Laughs as he continues to turn into his darkest self.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon and son continue battling it out against The Grim Knight, who gains the upper hand against Gordon and attempts to force Gordon to consume the dark serum. The Grim Knight goes as far as to ask James to give the serum to his own father.
Despite The Grim Knight's insistence though, James refuses.
Rather, James kills The Grim Knight, much to his enjoyment.
Thus, as James succumbs to his own darkness, Batman succumbs to his own, even when Alfred begs him to stop. Though, before Batman can follow through with the killing of The Batman Who Laughs, The Joker appears, firing his gun.
Following this, The Batman Who Laughs #7 jumps ahead to its resolution. Batman conducts a transfusion upon himself to rid his body of the serum The Batman Who Laughs injected him with. We come to learn that the portals to the dark multiverse have been closed, and that The Batman Who Laughs has been locked away in the depths of the Hall of Justice.
In regard to this resolution, Batman begins pondering his own identity. He express self-doubt and wonders if The Batman Who Laughs was right about there being no meaning to his or anyone's actions. He wonders if he should succumb to his darkest self in order to truly change Gotham City.
Ultimately though, Batman comes to an understanding. He comes to the conclusion that to him, to be Batman is to defy what is natural. Thus, as Batman comes to this conciliation, James Gordon comes to his own by defying what is natural to him and continuing treatment to better himself.
Though the resolution of The Batman Who Laughs is cleaner than one may have expected, Snyder's characterization of this series' ensemble is exceptional.
It has undoubtedly been intimidating to witness the Batman we know and admire succumb to his darkest impulses. In particular, the sequence that depicts both James and Batman enjoying their bloodlust is totally and completely chilling.
With this though, Snyder does a fantastic job in showcasing the synergy these characters maintain with their doubles. Up until this final installment, there had been a disassociation between Batman, James, and their respective dark personas.
Now, in The Batman Who Laughs #7, the two characters reach a union with their doubles and manage to accept those personas as inevitable, natural parts of themselves that they can overcome.
Now, the disarray of The Batman Who Laughs #7's artwork is undeniably one of its strongest aspects. Colorist David Baron shines in his incorporation of red hues across the first couple of pages. This creative decision elevates the intensity of the stand-off between Batman and The Batman Who Laughs.
Furthermore, Jock's pencils remain consistent as they excel in showcasing the brutality, gore, and despair of the issue's climactic battle.
Additionally, Sal Cipriano's letters perfectly juxtapose Jock's pencils. His lettering has been a fantastic aspect of this run as it has maintained its own dynamic energy, exemplifying the tone of this series as a whole.
The artwork of The Batman Who Laughs has never faltered in its uniqueness throughout each and every issue. As a result, the imagery of this series manages to tell its own story.
The Batman Who Laughs has been an incredibly satisfying read from start to finish. It bends the superhero genre through its elements of horror and provides a captivating, innovative perspective of Batman himself.
Of course, The Batman Who Laughs has proven to be quite the formidable villain. Perhaps one of his most compelling aspects is that he is indeed an instance of the Batman we know and admire, a product of a decision Batman thought of making.
Thus, if this series has taught us anything at all, it is that Batman truly is his own worst enemy.