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Batman: Confidential #22 Review

Batman: Confidential #22 Review by Hugo Bravo

Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Scott McDaniel

Batman: Confidential has carved a nice little, if slightly unnecessary, niche in DC, visiting different events in the Batman's history and rewriting them for a new generation. The book's quality has been dictated by the ever-changing lineup of writers and artists. The last storyline, recalling the first encounter between Batgirl Barbara Gordon and Catwoman, was a treat in both writing and artwork, but the arc before it, drastically rewriting the origin of the Joker, took some liberties to the fan-approved Alan Moore origin that might have rubbed longtime readers the wrong way.

Speaking of which, the Joker is all over the place this year, isn't he? From his role in the year's biggest movie, his appearance in Batman R.I.P., the story that has promised to change the world of Bruce Wayne forever, and his upcoming self-titled graphic novel by Brian Azarello, the Clown Prince of Crime has reclaimed his position as DC's greatest villain. He may not have the resources of Lex Luthor or the cosmic power of Darkseid, but no one has pushed the buttons of their adversaries like the Joker has to Batman. But if you're reading this, I'm sure you knew all that already. The first issue of “Do You Understand These Rights” shows that even a happy, hard-working everyday man is not free from the Joker's insanity. If the Joker wants to get under your skin, it's never a matter of when, it's a matter of how. As a detective reminisces over his recent honeymoon and his beautiful new wife, Batman brings in the Joker to Gotham P.D., as he would with any common thug on the street. The nameless clown is fingerprinted, interrogated, and thrown in a cell with other petty criminals. Eventually, the P.D. and Batman discover that this is a new brand of criminal, one that cannot be handled or contained in the usual methods.

Hollywood writer Andrew Kreisberg, who has written for shows like Mission Hill, The Simpsons, and Boston Legal, seems to play it safe with his first attempt at comic books. The storyline looks like it will lead to the tried-and-true theme of what effect Batman is truly having in Gotham and the criminal community. In fact, one could be forgiven for seeing this book almost as a spiritual sequel to The Dark Knight, with Batman dropping the recently captured Joker off at Gotham P.D., then speeding off before the cops realize that Batman himself is a wanted criminal too. Though the story takes a pretty outrageous, very televisionesque twist in the final act, the build-up is great. Kreisberg uses some good dialogue for that Joker that would seem perfectly in place in Batman: The Animated Series. The issue has the wisecracking smartass, the self-mutilating sadist, and the evil, murderous psychopath. The Joker gets the last laugh here, even if it is oddly far-fatched. Longtime DC artist Scott McDaniel's hard strokes give the Joker a younger look that fits the tone of the book. Nothing overly impressive, but it gets the job done. The cover by Stephane Roux, on the other hand, is gorgeous.

You'd have to be a genius to put Batman into anything truly groundbreaking these days. Is it any wonder why writers like Paul Dini, Grant Morrison, and soon Kevin Smith and Neil Gaiman are helming future Bat-books? Nothing of Batman: Confidential screams out original, but Kreisberg and McDaniel will give us one more look into the Joker's insane, murderous shenanigans, and that is never a bad thing.

Rating: 6

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