Writer: John Layman
Artist: Jason Fabok
Since John Layman, and Jason Fabok have taken over as creative team on this series it has been much better, and although it's not been quite perfect it hasn't been far off, with one of the issues comic very close.
This issue shows Batman going round different parts of Gotham City, stopping groups that have been influenced by the return of the Joker. Whilst Batman is busy the most organized group the League of Smiles initiate their plans.
The back-up story shows Ogilvy making his position as the head of Penguin's organization clear to the others, and also making it clear that from now on he's the Emperor Penguin.
This was a brilliant issue and finally Detective Comics is part of the Death of the Family crossover. Although the last issue was technically a part of the Death of the Family crossover it didn't really feel like it, but this issue does. This is also a brilliant jumping on point for new readers, as although it's connected to the previous story it is the start of a new chapter, and doesn't really feature much of the previous story in it. Layman continues to do a fabulous job on this series, and I have high hopes that he will continue doing a brilliant job further on in the series. I think Layman has handled this crossover brilliantly using it to kick start a new chapter in his run, and involve a new group. I also liked how he added some fun to the issue, something you don't see too often in a Batman story, as he's added groups that are a joke (no pun intended), and that run away scared at the sight of Batman, realising that they've made a mistake. I liked this because it was something I loved in the Batman Animated series from the 90's, as every now and again Batman would run into a group that are way out of his league.
Fabok continues to produce some amazing art on this series, and I think this has been his best to date. Although Fabok's art isn't necessarily the most beautiful to look at, it is very realistic, and I'd prefer he worked on Batman over some of the artists who produce the beautiful artwork. The detail in Fabok's art is just phenomenal, also putting brilliant detail in the backgrounds, which is something that I enjoy in comics. The facial expressions are also great, as you can really see the grit, and determination in some of the Joker inspired goons faces, and the shock in others. You can also easily see the psychotic look in the faces of most of the League of Smiles, which is also brilliant.
I loved the League of Smiles, and I was actually quite surprised, as I usually dislike groups similar to them (Joker rip-off's). What I think I liked about the League of Smiles more than the other Joker wannabe groups was that they didn't so much want to copy Joker, but serve Joker. I also think that they came about at the right time, as due to Joker running riot it was the perfect time for all the psychopaths to have an excuse to put their deep desires into actions. Another thing I liked about the League of Smiles was that they were very eccentric, and although Joker himself is eccentric this group is eccentric in a different way. The thing I probably loved the most about this group was Rodney Spurman, A.K.A. Rodney the Torch, as he seemed the most remorseful about their actions, and didn't actually want to kill anyone, showing that although Joker has affected people that some still have a concious. It was also nice to see a Death of the Family crossover issue without Joker involved. Don't get me wrong I have enjoyed seeing Joker spread chaos around Gotham, but I have felt that he's been a little over used, and have questioned how he finds the time for it all. Due to his absence in this issue it gives room for a different ans more unique addition to the crossover.
|The League of Smiles|
Also this issue Batman is all over the place taking down different groups that have been inspired by the Joker giving the League of Smiles more time to work. I really liked this sequence, as although it did slightly slow the story down, it did show all the different ways people were influenced by the Joker, and how some were more resourceful than others. It also provided as a good build-up to Batman actually finding the League of Smiles, as it wouldn't look as good if Batman had dealt with the League first, and went after the smaller groups after. It was also nice to see that Batman actually made comparisons between the League of Smiles, and Joker, and that he also pointed out their differences.
The back-up story in this issue was also very good, and I liked how it expanded on Ogilvy's assention to Emperor Penguin, and how he plans to take over the Penguin'n enterprise. I was happy that this was the back-up story as I felt that the issue needed an bigger appearance from Ogilvy, as after the way Layman has built up Ogilvy's transition into the Emperor Penguin it's obvious that this wasn't the last we'd see of him. I liked how this issue focused on Ogilvy cementing his spot as the head of the Penguin's enterprise, and that he showed that he wasn't to be messed with. Although not much happened in this issue it does show that Ogilvy means business, and also shows ton's of promise for the future role Ogilvy will play in this series.
|The Emperor Penguin|
A fantastic issue, and a brilliant addition to the Death of the Family crossover. I would highly recommend this issue, as it start's the new chapter of Layman's run on the series perfectly, making it a brilliant starting point for new readers, and for anyone who feels that the Death of the Family crossover's used Joker too much will like this, as it's quite different from any other series'.