I love Batman. I can read just about anything Bat-related, but there was a stretch of time during the 90s when my faith wavered. It can be difficult for me to revisit those days. With Detective Comics #673 we are right in the middle of Knightquest. I fully admit thant I am no fan of the Az-Bat, as he looks like some kind of Batman/Shogun Warrior hybrid. The is the final chapter of a very weak Joker story set against a movie set backdrop. Chuck Dixon is playing in Mark Evanier's sandbox here and he is not up to the task. Graham Nolan does his best to bring tired sight gags to life, but it just does not work. The Joker was overused in the years following that first Tim Burton movie, and this overexposure really takes away from the impact of the character. The main problem for me, however, is that Az-Bat is written is such a grim and gritty way that Dixon sets up an unintended paroady. Here's a bit of Jean-Paul's inner monologue: "The Joker is Wayne's intellectual opposite. Chaos in place of order. Nonsense in place of deliberate action. The ardent versus the frivolous. No wonder that they are arch-enemies". Seriously?
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