Home > DC Comics > Batman: Gotham Knights #52

Batman: Gotham Knights #52

April 21, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Pushback Book Three

Hush is back in town, and the Joker isn’t happy about it.

Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Pencils: Al Barrionuevo
Inks: Francis Portela
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics

Hush, the man who nearly destroyed Batman, is back on the streets of Gotham. Last issue, he delivered a savage beating to the Riddler. This issue, it’s time for the Joker’s revenge. A.J. Lieberman has some very good ideas here, including what appears to be a link to Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke and the last-page return of one of the best (and most underused) villains of Grant Morrison’s JLA run. The entire Batman family is written well here, and we get to see some good old-fashioned detective work spiked with some good old-fashioned grave robbing. All in all, lots of quality family fun.

The biggest problem with this issue is that Lieberman has chosen to employ the Joker as one of the main characters in this story arc, and frankly, he doesn’t write a very good version of the character. As has been stated elsewhere, his interpretation is too… well… rational. He’s not the clown prince of crime here, he’s just a crook in makeup. He behaves logically and with none of his trademark dark humor. Even the link to the Moore story is the work of an eminently rational man, not the lunatic in purple we all know and love.

Barrionuevo and Portela do a very good job on the artistic side of the series. They have strong characters (save for a Joker that doesn’t smile, but that is to be blamed on the script) and Brad Anderson’s colors work very well: green glows on computer screens, a sort of purple tint to headlights at night. The artwork reminds me of some of the better work of Alan Davis, in terms of its straightforwardness and ability to tell the story and define the characters without excessive detail.

This is an okay book and an okay story, but if Lieberman wants to make a mark as a Batman writer, he’s either got to polish up his interpretation of the Joker or make his mark writing other villains.

Rating: 7/10

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