Finally read THE MAN WHO LAUGHS

Discussion in 'Batman World' started by The Guard, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. The Guard Registered

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    Ed Brubaker is my favorite Batman writer of all time, and I was really looking forward to this. So it arrived yesterday, and I must say, I'm kind of underwhelmed. Though there were some nice moments throughout, overall, I just wasn't impressed with the story or the characterization. And I think he really skimped on The Joker's dialogue and character potential. It pretty much just felt like a rehash of the original story with elements from what we know about Batman/Joker's first encounter from the mythos thrown in. What does everyone else think about this story?
     
  2. Goddamn_Batman Registered

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    I think you're my doppelganger. The book came in yesterday, I was looking forward to it, and it left me with a very "meh" feeling. I still liked it and all, but I didn't love it, mainly because it felt so short and Joker was so underused. You and I, my friend, we are in the same boat, and her name is Unimpressed.
     
  3. Axtech Registered

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    I've gotta agree with you there. I was really looking forward to it, but it's the same old story that's been rehashed over and over again, without too much extra to make it worthwhile. It was an enjoyable read, but didn't meet my expectations.
     
  4. Superman4ever Registered

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    The story is based on Joker's original intro in Batman #1, so it's not a rehash but more like a re-introduction. It's suppose to be a sequel to Batman: Year One.

    Anyways, I thought it was great!
     
  5. Batman Dramatic Example

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    Personally, I like it because I feel it best lends itself to the Year One/Long Halloween continuity, when compared to Batman #1 and Legends Of The Dark Knight #50. I also like the scene where Bruce poisons himself with The Joker's toxin to get out of police protection, as it really shows how far Bruce is willing to go for his mission, and save Gotham.
     
  6. Lex Luthor Evildoer

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    I have to say I quite enjoyed Batman: The Man Who Laughs.

    Personally, it reminded me alot of "Spider-Man Unlimited #3" that expanded upon the origin of Doc Ock while staying true to his origin in Lee/Ditko's "Amazing Spider-Man #3".
    Brubaker achieved this with TMWL, as he incorporated many elements from "Batman #1", but also presented different elements as well, which overall, stayed true to the Clown Prince of Crime's 1940 debut. Which I liked.
     
  7. The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    Joker was underused in it. But when he was used, he was used extremely well, IMO. But, my main gripe was the fact that the media named him The Joker, when it should have been Joker himself who dubbed himself that.
     
  8. Batman Dramatic Example

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    Actually, I think that was the gag. When Joker says "Say, I like my new name... 'The Joker'. Funny I didn't think of that! HAHAHA!", I think it's a slight reference to the fact that it's what he called himself at the end of Year One, when he tried to poison the reservoir. He's mocking the media for coming up with an unoriginal monkier.
     
  9. Buttman Son Of The Demon

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    I have to agree. It's a good read, but I read so, so many amazing reviews for it on here I went in with incrediably high expectations that weren't quite met. I was expecting it to rank up there with Killing Joke as the definitive Joker story, but instead it turned out to be just a fun, good read.

    I think if we all stop looking at it as the comic we thought was going to be the next Year One, we can enjoy it for what it is. At least, thats what I'm going to try to do when I read it next.
     
  10. DeathRaven Another soul for sale

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    This is close to one of my favorite Joker stories ever, besides the killing joke. Mostaly do to them keeping the joker in the dark and not showing things from his point of view.

    It kept the creepy ness that was first shown in his first appearence. Plus it was just a good over all detective story.
     
  11. Mee 2 E's are better than 1

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    I thought it was good, nothing too special though.
     
  12. BubbaGump Bland User

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    I loved TMWL. Guess who's the non-comformist here!!!!
     
  13. Nepenthes Registered

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    With TMWL I was impressed by the Jokers portrayal as being quite lethal with guns and close offensives, prior to this book he was generally a schemer and a scrappy brawler, but rarely a clever combat tactician. Joker appearing in the dark with nightvision goggles and two guns blazing was pretty cool. Apart from that yeah I was very underwhelmed, there's just nothing that stands out. Brubaker can do MUCH better. Definitly not one of my favourite stories on any list.
     
  14. deathfromabove Registered

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    i loved it back when it first came out and its a much more satisfying take on bataman and jokers first encounter thanthe recent confidential arc but now a few years leter the characteization mr. j is a little light.

    still, an excellent book with excellent artwork.
     
  15. The Guard Registered

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    I think overall, my issue with it is The Joker's portrayal. He doesn't feel like a character, he feels like a collection of ideas for one. Rather than present the character in a new light, as he has every opportunity to do, Brubaker sort of just makes him into an anti-Batman, but then gives him some of Batman's skills and methods, and that just ends up falling flat.

    He's got a great backstory and motivation started, and the themes could have been expanded upon...and then Brubaker does nothing with it. He just leaves him "evil and crazy". So it ends up feeling like "classic Joker", but nothing special. Does that make any sense? It's like there's a map of what The Joker SHOULD say and do, but nothing remotely fresh.

    I guess I just expect more delving into the characters' psychology and worldviews from Brubaker.

    It's actually inspired me to rewrite the Third Act of BATMAN: THE MUSICAL and remove the "poisoning the reservoir" angle entirely.
     
  16. Batman Dramatic Example

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    I think that's because it's more of a tale about Bruce/Batman trying to deal with the first real 'freak' he's ever encountered, than it is about The Joker himself. I sort of think The Joker is intentionally left as a sort of background music to motivate Batman into using all of his skills and resources in order to try and stay ahead of this threat he's really never prepared himself for.

    Then again, I have to admit that it would've been alot more kickass if it was half that, and half of The Joker's madness being explored. Sort of like Year One was halfway about Bruce's rise to the mantle, and Gordon's overall storyarc.
     
  17. BubbaGump Bland User

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    I don't think that would've been a good idea. What's great about the story is that it's told through Batman's perspective. He doesn't know who this Joker is, what he's going to do, etc. And if it was told through the Joker's eyes, I think that sense of mystery disappears.

    Even only from Batman's limited POV, we still get an excellent view of the Joker's insanity. Come on--he disfigures a warehouse full of people and releases all the patients at a mental institution, not to mention countless other moments. TMWL is up there with TKJ as the best Joker comic books ever. Brubaker did a great job on this book. I'd also like to see Greg Rucka tackle a monthly Batman title. IMO, he and Brubaker are two of the best writers in comics today. :up:
     
  18. Batman Dramatic Example

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    True. You've got a point.

    And I definitely agree about Rucka. He has one of the best characterizations of Batman I've ever seen.
     
  19. Nepenthes Registered

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    I was just thinking about this last night while I was finishing up Iron Fist. Brubakers moved onto a another level of greatness and calling him one of the best is by no means a stretch when you step back and look at the collection of work. Just to name a few, Catwoman, Gotham Central, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist (!) - these are all amazing, definitive, reinventive turns on a character. Which is why it's sttrange when i look at Broken City and just think WTF, it's got a few decent lines and a nice character turn on Croc but otherwise I don;t know what the hell happened there. He should have another go on Batman soon, not the Joker or the GCPD but BATMAN, Robin and some poor unappreciated villain in need of a comeback. Do a Bucky, Vulcan or Holly on one of the C-grade rogues.

    are talking about any story in particular or just general?
     
  20. Lazlo Panaflex Registered

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    I just got the book myself after hearing good reviews, but like others who felt the same thing I too found the story kind of "meh" and didn't really bring anything new to the Batman/Joker conflict.

    The art was okay but I prefer clean pencilling such as Jim Lee or Alan Davis, the story isn't awful I just wouldn't consider it among my top ten of Batman tales.
     

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