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Grant Morrison ups the excitement and pulls together a number of plot threads in this issue, the first with artist Frazier Irving. The Joker is at the center of things, that’s no surprise, but the intertwining of nearly all the threads from the previous 12 issues of this series is. One thing this book, which is only gently connected to the other Batman books, allows Grant to do is play with the readers’ expectations of what familiar characters like The Joker, Commissioner Gordon, and Dick Grayson might do. He can throw in surprises and not have to worry too much about continuity, which must be fun for him, and it’s fun for us, the readers, if you go with it. Will young Robin really bash Joker’s brains out? Does Gordon have a potentially deadly virus? Is Grayson as good as his mentor? These are some of the questions that might have surprising answers.
I like the art by Frazier Irving, which is an interesting mix of black outlines and painted details that works well. The painted technique allows Joker’s greenish pallor to look truly frightening, for instance, and some of the actions scenes shine with cinematic lighting and high-speed brush effects. He does well depicting the characters and their body language and expressions, too.
Great stuff, recommended!