Batman/Joker: Switch

 BAJS   (DC, 2003)

ô and © DC Comics, Inc.

Written by bat-seasoned Devin Grayson (of Nightwing and Batman: Gotham Knights fame) from concepts put forth by artist John Bolton (Batman: Man-Bat), this prestige-format one-shot has interesting (if flawed) ideas, including putting The Clown Prince of Crime in the unlikely role of detective. The villainís clown-like mug has been disfigured (his trademark grin now resides on the back of his neck), and he must search the foggy streets of London for answers. The Dark Knight Detective does a little detective work of his own (with an assist from Oracle), and the beefy, bulky, Simon Bisley-style Batman uncovers decidedly ugly business.

The Joker, who is as pathetic here as he is dangerous, has an inner dialogue (lettered creepily by veteran Todd Klein) that gives readers insight into his warped, rambling, hyperactive mind. Batmanís personality, on the other hand, is comparably underexposed, leaving fans of the character unsatisfied. The story as a whole is at once weirdly hallucinogenic (whatís with the mouth on the back of the neck?) and prosaically by-the-numbers (newspaper articles help clarify the plot), resulting in a healthy dose of madness diffused somewhat (and betrayed somewhat) by a small helping of the mundane.

ó Brett Weiss

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ca. 2003Devin GraysonJohn Bolton