The Batman Who Laughs #7 is the heart-pounding climax and conclusion to a miniseries that increasingly leaned into the horror genre. By the end, writer Scott Snyder crafted a grim horror story befitting Hollywood.
Beginning with the cover, this issue makes it clear that the reader is diving into a scary movie in the form of a comic book. Jock, the artist of the book and the cover, pays tribute to The Shining on the latter. He borrows from the classic scene with Jack Nicholson where Jack busts through a door and yells, “Here’s Johnny!” Here, the cover shows the corrupted Batman yelling, “Here’s Brucie!” Right off the bat, the reader knows he’s in for a wild ride.
Jock’s art complements that tone throughout the book itself. Sometimes, sketchy art can detract from the story but it complements Snyder’s work in this series. The increasingly jagged lines make the Batman Who Laughs look demonic and David Baron’s colors augment this effect through the consistent usage of fiery yellows, reds and oranges. These colors are mainly present in the scenes featuring Batman and his evil counterpart, which helps further the sensation that both characters are vying for the Dark Knight’s soul in a Hellish setting while the other story beats play out.
With this issue, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into. For the sake of spoilers, we won’t dig into all of it. But two highlights include the sights of Alfred getting pretty trigger-happy with a shotgun and the Caped Crusader beating the Batman Who Laughs with his mother’s tombstone. These snippets hammer home the fact that Snyder successfully captured the experience of a horror movie climax.
Practically every comic featuring the Dark Knight asks the question, “Who Is Batman?” Countless writers have taken that question and explored it through various avenues. Even when DC Comics announced The Batman Who Laughs, most fans took notice because Snyder has been the company’s primary writer for the Caped Crusader for several years. (Aside from Tom King’s run on the main series, of course.) Given Snyder’s history with the character, fans expected an impactful analysis of the World’s Greatest Detective. With this miniseries wrapped up, it’s safe to say that Snyder succeeded on that front.
Snyder takes some unconventional steps in his approach to answering that famous question in this issue. The most thorough exploration comes at the end, when Bruce Wayne practically gives a monologue to Alfred. Bruce uses a brief consideration of a bat’s anatomy to deliver the main idea: Batman is about being “better than you’re supposed to be,” as Snyder writes. “Because the truth is Batman isn’t knowing who you are, but who you want to be,” Bruce says. Neither of those ideas are ground-breaking, especially in relation to the Caped Crusader. But Snyder has such an intimate feel for Bruce’s character, and that of Batman itself. For this reason, each line grabs the reader because it feels like Bruce himself is talking to you. Snyder doesn’t just rely on his connection to the character, though; the story itself offers a fresh take on the typical “Batman overcomes his demons” plot.
Like most horror movies, The Batman Who Laughs #7 sets up the inevitable sequel by leaving a few narrative threads to explore next time around. Based on the success of this series and its satisfying conclusion, readers will likely be begging for more.
What’d you think of the Batman Who Laughs #7? Where do you hope to see one of the most famous evil Batman go from here?