REVIEW: ‘Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman & The Joker The Deadly Duo #1 - But Why Tho

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #1 is written and illustrated by Marc Silvestri, with colors by Arif Prianto and lettering by Troy Peteri. It’s published by DC Comics under the Black Label imprint. Batman is drawn into a new mystery involving a group of monstrous mutants who happen to have trace amounts of the Joker’s DNA. The Clown Prince of Crime himself ends up asking for the Dark Knight’s help as Harley Quinn has gone missing, and he thinks it’s connected to the mutants. Batman has no choice but to go along with it, especially once he learns Jim Gordon’s gone missing.

I’ve found that the best Batman stories often challenge a certain aspect of his mythos. The current “Failsafe” arc by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez takes the long-argued concept of “prep time” to its ultimate, and deadly, extent. Batman: Last Knight On Earth asked the question, “What happens when Batman fails?” Deadly Duo asks what happens when two men who have a simmering hatred for each other are forced to work together. In the wrong hands, the concept would fall like a house of cards. In the right hands, it’ll have readers picking up future issues to see what happens next.

Thankfully, Silvestri is the right pair of hands. His script lays down enough of a mystery to draw Batman and the Joker together, yet doesn’t skimp on the action. Batman utilizes new forms of technology to combat his new foes, including a sleeker Batmobile and flying drones packing enough power in their tasers to take down a fleet of grown men. The mutants also prove to be a formidable threat, as one of them has enough strength to crash through a wall. Silvestri’s exploration of technology and body modification, which began in his Image Comics classic CyberForce, is on full display here and it’s pretty fitting for a Batman story.

Silvestri’s artwork also hasn’t lost its edge. Every time Batman appears on the page, the reader’s eyes will be drawn to him. His cape is a flowing mass of shadows that just feels imposing. And in a beautiful two-page spread, he descends from the heavens, landing like a vengeful angel. Silvestri also gives each character a new look. The Joker looks almost skeletal, Batman’s utility belt looks more like a connected mass of bats, and Harley’s outfit hews back to her original jester suit. The mutants themselves are the stuff of nightmares. Their piercing red eyes will bore into the reader’s soul and their chalk-white skin stands out in the dark.

I say that because thanks to Prianto’s coloring, Silvestri’s Gotham looks darker and rainier than most other incarnations. Sure, there are flashes of light from the skyscraper and the Bat-Signal, but other than that, it feels like a living nightmare. The same goes for Peteri’s lettering, which is often twisted and jagged. The Joker and the mutants Batman fights receive this treatment, giving them an inhuman air, while Batman’s narration is boxed in by bluish-black borders.

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #1 unites the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime for a new mystery, courtesy of Marc Silvestri. Silvestri’s always been one of my favorite creators, and I’m not surprised that he’s delivered a great opening act for his Batman story. Hopefully, the rest of the series keeps up this forward momentum.

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #1
4.5

TL;DR

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #1 unites the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime for a new mystery, courtesy of Marc Silvestri.

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