Featured Review: Detective Comics #16

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Nothin' But Smiles

Image will be added soon.

John Layman has taken the reigns of Detective Comics, and he has delivered three good issues. However, the last one left a little something to be desired with the “Death of the Family” cross over feeling extremely forced and undermining the strength of the original narrative. Furthermore, the lack of resolution between Ivy and Clayface was a bit irritating. Still, it was a pretty good issue, and I am eager to see what Layman has in store. I am a little cynical for just by viewing the cover I see that this issue continues the “Death of the Family” cross over event. I had hoped last issue would contain the only crossover, but it appears I have no such luck. Does this issue deliver a meaningful tie in that strengthens the issue, or does Joker's menace strain the fabric of the story?

In this issue, Ogilvy furthers his empire as Batman tries to deal with a new level of Joker threat.

The League of Smiles

This issue deals with the introduction of the League of Smiles, a group dedicated to worshiping Joker and creating crimes in his honor. I knew the League of Smiles were on their way due to solicitations, but for some reason, I had the impression that they would appear after “Death of the Family” concluded. Apparently I was wrong.

The League is an eccentric group who worship and mimic the methods of Joker. In some ways, this has been done most notably with the Jokerz in Batman Beyond, but unlike Batman Beyond's comical, cannon fodder, Joker imitating thugs, the League of Smiles seems to have some actual intellect and bloodlust. Adding to the intrigue of these killers is Batman's monologue which delivers and excellent examination of the psyche involved in a Joker worshipers head. Indirectly, it explains how Joker so often finds a group of people willing to fight and die for him despite his unpredictable and despicable nature.

There is also something larger at work with the League of Smiles as indicated by the final panel of the main story. I have no worthwhile predictions to make on the subject, but I do find the visual design quite interesting and distinct. I am interested to see how this develops.

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