Batman Incorporated must race against time to stop Joker’s new team before they hurt themselves and others. Even so, can the team accept that the only way to stop them is to kill them? Let’s find out.
The Only Option
Batman’s refusal to kill criminals is his most repetitive criticism. For personal reasons, Batman doesn’t believe he has the right to be an executioner. In particular, Batman equates killing the Joker to “letting him win.” On the other hand, the result of sparing the Joker’s life has led to hundreds and thousands of deaths. When weighing the ethical loss against potential lives he could save, Ghost-Maker concludes that the Jokers must die. Despite not being an easy argument, El Gaucho tries to convince Ghost-Maker to continue standing in favor of Batman’s methods.
Furthermore, neither Batman-Of-China or Nightrunner are ready to concede to the Joker’s game. By the way, both of whom are no longer official members of the team. Notably, the French hero invokes Batman’s philosophy of finding another way against his terrible odds alone. Batman-Of-China’s reasons are less noble. Not only is Alpaca his younger sister, but she only became Alpaca to make her brother a better Batman. Ever since New Super-Man #7, his guilt and responsibility to her has grown into a dangerous conflict of interest. Despite the stakes, Batman-Of-China would rather prioritize saving his family than ever choosing to kill her.
Two Down, The Clock Is Ticking
Elsewhere, readers finally get to meet the infamous European Joker, Dai Laffyn. At my first impression, his relaxed, menacing demeanor contradicts his hulking exterior. Even his goofy clownlike costume and features contrasts with his suspenseful restraint. In fact, Dai Laffyn isn’t just the only clown not willing to play the Joker’s game, but also the sole villain closest to his level. Sybil’s approach to his surprising cooperation allows readers to buy his hype as one of The Knight’s long time archenemies. Despite a metahuman like Gray Wolf choosing not to let him leave the flat, even he is no match for his strength. All things considered, his strength and intellect puts him in Bane’s category more so than Joker’s.
As for my least favorite clown, Dusty Bronco resumes his Looney Tunes chase with Batman Inc. The cartoonish tone of his segment feels like something out of Glen Murakami’s Teen Titans or Teen Titans Go! television series. Bronco’s design is over the top and the setting looks right out of a Road Runner animation. Incidentally, the Japanese supercar Jiro drives alongside his Filipino teammate Clownhunter is a dead ringer for Speed Racer’s Mach 5. The action does suffer from ill-paced sequencing, but the wackiness of a supercar chasing down a clown on horseback makes for some welcome levity.
The Clown Is As Good As Dead
Meanwhile, The Dark Ranger must face the Australian Joker before he kills again. With the likely death of Wingman as motivation, Ranger becomes the first to consider killing one of the Jokers. It’s not like the offer isn’t an enticing temptation. For one, killing Corvus Cawl would free hundreds of innocent people for the life of one madman. Secondly, Ghost-Maker yelling “kill them” over and over in his ear is unimaginable peer pressure. Obviously, no one would blame Ranger for flying off the handle to avenge his teammate and long time roommate either. The hardest choice to make in that situation is whether or not to disappoint a rich unstable billionaire and his set of childish rules. Although we don’t know if the Ranger or Wingman survive, we know that they made the choices they thought were best.
As for Raven Red, killing Dusty Bronco is a no brainer. Yes, avenging his father’s attempted murder isn’t justice, it’s revenge, but there is no chance in hell he should let him live. Batman’s rule may come from a place of heroic sentiment, but the argument against the Joker is way past turning the other cheek. I admire Batman’s belief in rehabilitation, but there comes a point where you can’t just tell terrorists and war criminals “good game” and wait for the next crime. It shouldn’t be hard to admit that this excuse has lost it’s worth in the DCU. The more often writers point out the disparity, the harder it gets to defend the ideology. In real life, comic book prison is more akin to a waiting room, and consistently pointing it out makes your heroes look ineffectual.
- You want to see Ghost-Maker and Batman Inc. struggle with Batman’s one rule.
- You would get a kick out of a supercar racing a clown on horseback.
- Keeping up with Batman Incorporated thus far.
The biggest question here isn’t “should we be willing to kill the Joker,” but “why are we still talking about it?” Nearly every modern Joker story asks the same question over and over with readers capable of reciting the “correct ideology” back like the national anthem. Sadly, Ed Brisson isn’t breaking any new ground here. On a positive note, this is one of the best issues of this story. Outside of the goofy chase sequence, every member of Batman Inc. gets to face meaningful peril. We even get a cool look at Brisson’s version of Grant Morrison’s Dai Laffyn. However, there is little to gain in bringing up the “no kill rule” without having a new answer for it.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman-News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.