Anything you can do, I can do better. When it comes to Marvel and DC, this has always been the case.
You’ve got the obvious ones, like Deathstroke/Deadpool, Namor/Aquaman and Darkseid/Thanos, but you could make the argument that Iron Man is a spinoff of Batman. The point is, DC and Marvel have always played a game of tit-for-tat with characters and stories that resemble each other if not directly copy one another.
And so where Marvel recently debuted the Hulk/Wolverine combination, Weapon H (AKA “Hulkverine”), DC has had their own combinations of characters as of late, all of whom are featured in “Dark Nights: Metal.”
Instead of one mashup of popular characters, DC has given us Batman merged with all of the Justice League, with the exception of Superman. Instead, we’re given a Batman/Doomsday combo. The main villain in “Metal” is Barbatos, who is a mixture of Batman and the Spectre (but with a name like “Barbatos,” which sounds so close to Barbados, I expected him to be a fun-loving islander).
But the most popular among these so far has been the merging of Batman and the Joker.
DARK NIGHTS: THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS
Next month, you’ll want to be on the lookout for “The Batman Who Laughs” #1. Scheduled for release on November 15, this is a one-shot tie-in to this year’s DC crossover “Dark Nights: Metal.” I’ve read the first three issues of “Metal,” and I’ve picked up a couple of the cross-overs with the Batman mashups, and it’s been interesting. However, I haven’t been blown away by the story. So far, it’s just been your standard apocalyptic wasteland/Hell-on-Earth summer crossover, which we’ve seen before (Grant Morrison’s “Final Crisis” comes to mind).
However, of all the evil Batman mixes we’ve seen, the Batman Who Laughs has been the most intriguing. With an obvious leather bondage vibe (he even has his own animalistic Robins on leashes for a huge S&M wink), the spiked visor he wears is reminiscent of the Mutants from Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns.”
Like Weapon H, all of these Batman mashups are destined to be action figures and the like. In fact, I’m curious if all these combo characters are at least partially meant for the purpose of selling action figures.
We all know that, like all the other crossover events, once the bad guy is defeated, everything will go back to normal. However, with the popularity of the Batman/Joker already, I wouldn’t be surprised if this character hung around in the main DC continuity. That will mean that “The Batman Who Laughs” one-shot will be a good investment, especially since you’ll be able to grab it at cover price.
Besides picking up “The Batman Who Laughs” #1, you’ll want to backtrack and pick up “Batman: Metal” #2 and “Teen Titans” #12 where the character makes his debut in both comics that were released simultaneously. He cameos in a silhouette with the other evil Batmen in “Dark Nights: Metal” #1, so you’ll want that one, too.
If the Weapon H first appearance is any indication (a CGC 9.8 sold for $250), then the Batman/Joker combination will sell a lot of comics and be highly collectible very quickly.