Batman: The Man Who Laughs …….must read Batman stories …24

A mad man is targeting Gotham’s elite and next on his hit list is millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. This is Batman’s introduction to his most nefarious villain, the Joker. Where Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke tells the origin of the Clown Prince of Crime, The Man Who Laughs details the first tussle between Joker and Batman.

Brubaker is one of the best crime writers in comics. He manages to bring some of that noir flair to The Man Who Laughs while maintaining the proper tone and pace for a good Batman yarn. To my knowledge this is the only story to ever suggest that, like Bruce Wayne, the Joker had to practice to perfect his art. And that’s ultimately what makes the Joker so frightening. His psychosis is not chaotic, not as random as you might think. There’s a methodology and a purposefulness to many of his actions.

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