This issue is the last of the Metal tie-ins, introducing the last of the dark multiverse batmen.
The cover of this issue is downright spooky. The Batman Who Laughs stands in the center, with three corrupted Robin’s on chain leashes. It looks downright macabre. Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson do a great job of capturing how dark this book is on the cover. Seeing Batman and three Robin’s as they are on the cover tells us upfront how bleak this book is, and it is bleak.
Riley Rossmo takes the reigns on the pencils for this issue. It has a good feel of both new and older comic styles. The Jokers and evil Robins look contemporary, and Batman and his team have a more old school feel to them, especially in their colouring. He also does a great job bringing out the insanity setting in on Batman as the issue progresses. The book looks good, though not as strong artistically as The Murder Machine was.
James Tynion IV wrote this final Metal tie-in. It’s a good book, but feels a little rushed. The story of how the Joker sets his plan in motion, as well as more of the aftermath of Batman’s corruption would have been great to see.
It begins with Gotham in chaos. Batman is tied up, the Joker has killed Commissioner Gordon, and is in the process of putting a truly nefarious plan in motion. We see him kill the parents of a little girl on the street, and then corrupt her with Joker toxin to transform her into an insane little joker. This pushes Batman over the edge and he kills the Joker. As the Joker dies we see a mist leave his mouth, and we soon find out that Batman has been infected. As the issue progresses, we see him take out his own team, and then Superman, with the rest of the Justice League being defeated off-screen.
The scary thing about this Batman is that he has one goal and one goal only: To destroy everything. Heroes, planets, universes. He wants to destroy everything. Corruption and decay are his endgame. There was no good in him that was twisted out of what was viewed by Batman as necessity. Some of the other dark multi-verse Batman feel like they could be redeemed. Not this one.
Again, this was a good issue, but with all that it contained, it felt like it may have been better served to be expanded into two or three books.