Batman vs People Dressed As Clowns (No, Not That Clown)
While not a direct tie in to the larger ongoing Death of the Family story this book definitely seeks to capitalize off of the Jokers return. If you were looking to purchase this book just because you feel it necessary to collect everything Joker related that DC puts out this year I would caution you that this book is 100% not necessary. Nothing that happens in this book will give you any insights into the main story that has engulfed the rest of the bat-universe.
Concluding the story that began last issue, Batman confronts the Joker themed gangs of Gotham that have taken up arms since the sadistic clown's return. Batman tracks down and confronting the League of Smiles a deadly new group of clown themed psychotics while piecing together the identity of their leader the Merrymaker and his hidden agenda.
Regardless of any other possible complaints one may have with Batman: Detective Comics the art is amazing. Fabok and Cox give us a gritty realistic take on a Batman striking in the shadows of Gotham. Fabok's and Cox deliver the quintessential Batman but they really shine with the new characters the story delivers. The Merrymaker and his gang aren't necessarily the most scary of people but you can tell they are people trying to be scary. The Merrymaker looks like a person dressing up as a super villain and his gang look like they assembled their outfits with whatever clown garb they could find at a party supply store. Their thrown together look perfectly suits the characters as we begin to understand their motivations and backstories.
While not every Batman book has to revolve around Batman's skills as a detective I still expect the character to be smarter than I am. That being said the "secret identity" of the Merrymaker should be obvious to anyone with basic deductive reasoning and I was surprised there wasn't more to figure out. While the character's master plan proved interesting I can't help but feel this was a missed opportunity.
A fun, even if ultimately forgettable, issue.