Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Batman: Detective Comics #17

Comic Review: Batman: Detective Comics #17

Batman: Detective Comics #17 Merrymaker cover New 52 Jason Fabok

Batman: Detective Comics #17 is a worthy Death of the Family tie-in that offers a close look at the madness – and the loyalty – that the Joker inspires in the crazies of Gotham City.

Unlike the other crossover stories, the Joker stays out of this.

Instead, psychiatrist-turned-psychopath Dr. Meredith – who looks a lot like Colonel Sanders – channels the Joker’s influence by creating the Merrymaker as a figurehead persona. Merrymaker’s design is a striking mix between a crow and Freddy Kruger, but it’s an oddly dark and sombre costume for a character inspired by the Clown Prince of Crime.

Aside from the super serious main villain, everything else jives nicely with the story arc. The multitude of Joker gangs from issue #16 have been trimmed down to a more focused look at the League of Smiles, and there’s a definite through line to John Layman’s writing that was sorely missing in the previous installment.

Layman wraps up this two issue tie-in with a good epilogue that flashes back to show Dr. Meredith alongside his professional and psychological predecessor, Arkham psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a.k.a. Harley Quinn.

Jason Fabok is competent and consistent on main story art duties, but Andy Clarke is a marked step below in the backup – particularly in his drawing of Batman.

Ultimately, Batman: Detective Comics #17 addresses most of the problems with issue #16 and provides a solid, well-assembled look at the Joker’s legacy with the ne’er do wells of Batman’s kingdom.

7.5 out of 10

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