Joking together


RELEASED OUT NOW! Publisher DC Black Label

Writer/artist Marc Silvestri

If you want a comicbook artist whose work screams “’90s excess”, Marc Silvestri is your man. The head of Image imprint Top Cow, and the artist behind comics like Cyber Force and The Darkness, Silvestri is very much in the slick, stylised mould of Todd Mcfarlane and Jim Lee, so it’s not a huge surprise that he’s netted himself a Batman-related Black Label miniseries.

It’s even less of a surprise that the resulting six-issue adventure feels like it’s fallen through a timewarp from 1995, selfconsci­ously over-the-top and edgy. The Deadly Duo wastes little time in setting up its high-concept narrative hook, as a mysterious criminal wreaks havoc in Gotham, kidnapping both Commission­er Gordon and Harley Quinn.

Thanks to this, Batman and the Joker are forced into an unwilling partnershi­p to battle an army of geneticall­y-engineered Jokerenhan­ced monsters, leading to action-packed mayhem and some unexpected­ly bloody violence.

How much entertainm­ent you get from these first three issues will depend on your tolerance for Silvestri’s muscular, amped-up art style. It’s also not hard to imagine how stronger writers like Scott Snyder or Tom King could have handled a Batman/joker team-up, and while Silvestri never lets the pace flag, his characteri­sation is mostly flat and his excesses get a bit much. There are so many more interestin­g and daring Batman comics out there. Saxon Bullock

Silvestri was one of the seven artists who originally founded Image Comics in 1992, and is still a CEO of the company.

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