I picked this one up from the used bookstore this weekend. Our used bookstore is pretty great. It’s gargantuan, busy and always has a huge selection of comic book trades. Which I love. Trades let me catch up on stories I simply can’t follow month to month, and in a lot of cases, they were published before I had a real interest in buying serial comics.

I’ll admit I don’t really read any Batman titles but I have grown up with a great affection for Batman that started with the 60s Batman TV show and later continued with the 90s Batman movies and cartoons. Some time around The Dark Knight movies, I stopped paying much attention to Batman. I don’t know if I stopped loving Batman, didn’t like the way Nolan directed or if I just grew a different direction. That said, I enjoy when Batman shows up in other comics I read.

I knew this one was dark when I bought it but I didn’t really know what that meant and I thought it was merely “okay.” I enjoyed the symmetry of Batman and Joker’s origins and how they deviated completely after that single violent act that started them on their respective paths. Both of them are passionate about their stances and they feel the connection even though they have a hard time naming it.

The writing felt a little rushed to me. Or lazy, I don’t know. The points are all hit with fierce staccato. Joker’s fled. Barbara’s shot. Gordon’s taken. Batman searches. Joker torments. Batman confronts. Maybe that’s meant to make it feel more desperate, but as I was reading I found myself wanting more meat.

I won’t dwell on Barbara’s injury except to say that it felt a little obvious, a little easy to go after her to get to Gordon. Honestly, I’m not sure why Gordon was the intended victim. He has strength and solid faculties. He’s a hard target to hit with the purpose of making him instantly insane without the use of some sort of chemical help. Seems like a long shot to me.

Would I recommend it? Certainly. It touches on my favorite versions of Joker – the ones where he’s a gangster – and it’s a nice symmetrical read on Joker and Batman as a pair.

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