Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #4 Review

Written by: Marc Silvestri
Art by: Marc Silvestri
Colors by: Arif Prianto
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Marc Silvestri (cover A)
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: February 7, 2023

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #4 finds Batman and Joker racing to complete Jigsaw's... err, Donald Simms's next challenge before a bunch of people die.
Is It Good?

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #4 is a serviceable entry in the otherwise stellar series by superstar creator Marc Silvestri. There's nothing inherently wrong with the issue, as it checks all the boxes in terms of pacing, dialog, jaw-dropping art quality, and the like. However, the story doesn't reveal anything new or make any significant developments in the plot, so it feels like a rehash.

When last we left the Caped Crusader and his Comical Compadre, they figured out that Simm tech was behind the unstoppable monsters and that Donald Simms may (or may not) be behind the killings as a revenge quest against everyone involved in his daughter's death.

Now, we see the details of Simms's daughter's tragic end in a lengthy flashback, we understand why Simms blames everyone (not just the Joker), and we get a better idea of who's next on the kill list. In truth, this is a great issue for filling in backstories and selling the emotional hook that motivates the villain, so the plot doesn't move forward much, but the story is richer for the backstory.

In the present, Batman and Joker are sent on a mission to stop a runaway train while Nightwing and Catwoman engage in a little corporate espionage to hack Simms's corporate systems for intel. The interaction between Nightwing and Catwoman is amusing (Captain America may have America's ass, but according to Catwoman, Nightwing has Gotham's ass). The stolen data gives more technical clarity to Simms' experiments but doesn't reveal anything meaningful to the story, and the runaway train sequence is thrilling, albeit seemingly pointless.

In short, this issue gives more context and nuance to the plot, which is good. However, the runaway train scene and the revelations from the stolen data feel like filler.

But enough about plot semantics. Odds are you came for the art, and boy, are you getting it. Silvestri is at the top of his game with gritty, mean (in a good way) figure work, exquisite panel compositions, and a masterful eye for a dramatic impact. As with the previous issue, if you buy this series simply for the art, you'll get your money's worth and more.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #4 breaks from the plot progression to fill in Simms's backstory and add more detail to the monster-making process. The details are interesting and give the story texture and death, but the story's forward momentum loses steam.


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