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"You'll die laughing"
on 19 June 2013
This volume collects two stories by Ed Brubaker - the single issue 66-page story "The Man Who Laughs" and the three-issue "Made of Wood" from Detective Comics #784-786.
"The Man Who Laughs" is a `Batman: Year One' story, (re)telling the Joker's first appearance and encounter with Batman and Captain Jim Gordon. A crime scene is discovered where someone has been conducting chemical experiments on people - with what we recognises as Joker Venom. The Joker then makes a TV broadcast, stealing an outside-broadcast van, and threatening to kill a number of prominent Gotham businessmen, including Bruce Wayne. Batman slowly works his way through the clues to the chemical company where he fought the Red Hood, where he spots some clues that might indicate the Joker was the man in the mask... Meanwhile, the Joker intends to poison the inhabitants of Gotham in revenge for what has happened to him...
This is an excellent story, with superb artwork.
"Made of Wood" is a three-part story guest starring the Golden Age Green Lantern, and now-retired Commissioner Gordon. Gordon discovers a body dumped in front of the statue to the Green Lantern erected in the 1940s. Back in the day, there were a number of similar killings, with the bodies, then and now, marked with the message "made of wood". Gordon starts investigating the original murders while Batman and the Green Lantern investigate the current, and the stories eventually converge, which is good news for Gordon, as he has discovered the killer, the hard way...
This is a good story, with excellent artwork, but I couldn't help thinking "was that it" at the end, but that might have been just me, and should not be taken as a reflection on the quality of the storytelling.