Batman continues his battle with the cohorts of the demented Dollmaker. The Dollmaker’s plan is to sell mutilated bodies and replicas to rich and presumably perverse people. I mean… who wants a dead Joker replica, really? The latest conquest on the Dollmaker’s agenda is none other than Gotham’s caped crusader himself. Batman was attempting to rescue a kidnapped Jim Gordon, only to find himself in the middle of a battle against replica Jokers.

While Batman deals with the faux Jokers, Gordon plans his own escape with the help of Olivia, the mysterious young girl that he met wandering around the abandoned hospital last issue. Olivia proves herself to be more than useful in getting Gordon revived and on his way to freedom.

Batman’s melee with the Jokers is cut short when the Dollmaker gets an unusual offer from a certain short “legitimate” businessman who wants to take Batman for 24 hours. Naturally, Batman has other plans and this deal is just the opening he needs.

As the issue screams to a close, Batman is no closer to stopping the Dollmaker than he was when this started. He has to rest his head now that at least Gordon and Olivia are safe. Meanwhile, the real Joker has yet to appear since having his face amputated back in ‘Detective Comics’ #1 but he’s apparently developing a following and his face has become a sort of holy relic for the Joker’s desciples.

Tony Daniel, taking double duties on writing and artwork, has crafted a very different take on the Batman. He’s created a story that reads like someone tossed a Batman tale into the blender with a very twisted episode of CSI. The end result is somewhat… unique. I said it last issue and I’ll say it again. Daniel’s Batman is good but the Dollmaker story, while interesting enough on its own, doesn’t deliver on what Daniel promised with the Joker’s appearance at the start of this arc. Of course, I’m hoping that Daniels is just treating us to a slow fuse before the truth behind the Joker’s plan explodes all over Gotham City. If the payoff is good enough, this buildup might be worth it. But until that’s revealed, the final verdict on this series has to continue to be…

Verdict: Borrow

Written by TONY S. DANIEL
Art and Cover by TONY S. DANIEL and SANDU FLOREA