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Review: Detective Comics #868

Step right into Gotham, where the thrillometer's always maxed-out.

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The emergence of the Jokerz erupts into a full-blown "impostor war" between armies of weekend warriors imitating Batman and the Joker. 
 

The Good   

McDaniel, Owens and Major collaborative effort on this title reminds me of just how much fun comics art can be in itself. The linework, the texture, the colors, the storytelling... it all makes this so much more exciting and involving. I just love the way they render everything. Even though their version of Gotham City's highly removed from reality, it still feels like a fully-fleshed out place than you can just walk into. It actually reminds me of a good Judge Dredd story in the sense that there's a real urban scope and sense of community. Some of these concepts are borrowed from Batman Beyond and the Dark Knight and it's fun to see them collide and get explored in greater detail. The notion of average citizens turning willingly into raving maniacs for kicks is fascinating and the surprise about the mastermind behind this madness was quite a twist - - I've wondered what would ever happen if somebody survived a joker venom attack.

The Bad   

I'm kind of on the fence about the scene where Batman injects himself with Joker venom to get a better perspective on the investigation. I understand the reasoning behind it - - it's a lot like that scene in V for Vendetta where the detective takes drugs to think like V - - but it also seems out of stride for Batman, a character whose discipline is one of his strongest traits. You'd think he'd be against polluting himself, even for an investigation. Then again, maybe this is supposed to be Dick Grayson, not Bruce Wayne (they haven't made clear which one it is.)

The Verdict - 4.5/5  

This is just really well done and a lot of fun. As morbid as the plot line is, I actually get the kind of warm escapism here that I've rarely enjoyed since watching the Batman animated series as it kid. If you like your Batman to be consistently maxing out the "thrillometer" then this is the title you need to get. And the art is a pure joy!