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Author: Jett
April 18, 2009

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I’m here today to review the recently released Batman trade paperback (henceforth to be referred to as a “TPB”) LOVERS AND MADMEN. Before I “critique,” let me quickly explain the back story on L&M

You know DC’s Batman monthly BATMAN CONFINDENTAL? OK, that’s the source of this particular TPB. This title has been more hit than miss since it debuted back in 2006. "Lovers And Madmen" was the second story arc of this new monthly and was publicized as the very first meeting between The Batman, the “Pre-Joker Joker, and THE Joker.

This particular arc of BC was a 7-parter (issues 6-12) and ran the latter half of 2007 -- conveniently as the hype for the yet-released THE DARK KNIGHT was at its peak.

Go figure. Anyway…

The plot in a nutshell is that you’ve got a sorta YEAR ONE-ish Batman finding a little satisfaction in the fact that he’s been kicking ass in Gotham as of late. Of course, this period of “Job well done!” doesn’t last long as a new criminal element will soon emerge and change The Dark Knight and Gotham forever.

Enter The Joker.

And therein lies the major problem with this storyline: TOO MUCH JOKER INFORMATION!

Do we really need to know who The Joker was before he became “The Joker?” On top of that, his origin has been rehashed so many times previously, that there’s a big element of “Why do it AGAIN” blanketing this story!

Look, I’m not going to spoil anything for anyone, but you’re going to get a very contrived Joker/Batman relationship that frankly isn’t worth your time.

From what I’ve been told, this story, by Micheal Green of HEROES fame, isn’t Batman “canon” -- nor should it be cause it's not very good and totally unnecessary. Denys Cowan's artwork is gritty, violent, and "scratchy." While not terrible, it simply was not very appealing to me.

I’ll be honest here. I was reviewing BC when “Lovers and Madmen” was making its run. If memory serves me right, I think I gave each issue a somewhat positive review. (CLICK HERE to read Jett's BC reviews.) Well, you know what? I was WRONG.

Looking back, I was SO hoping that this title took off and would be good that it got the best of me. “Lovers and Madmen” isn't worth the $20, I promise.

Maybe it's just me, but The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT and the classic BATMAN #1 with the "One doesn't NEED to know about The Joker other than the fact that he’s 'The Joker'" angle is the way to go. Hey, I’ll cut THE KILLING JOKE some slack because -- as The Joker says -- his origin is “multiple choice.” Brilliant!

"You want to know how I got these scars?"

On the other hand, if you want to be Joker spoon-fed and desire to know every single detail about WHY he's The Joker, then LOVERS AND MADMEN may be right up your alley.

THE BOTTOM LINE: LOVERS AND MADMEN is unneeded and unnecessary. My recommendation is to pass on this one as there are much better Joker stories out there. You would be much better off pulling one of those off your bookshelf and re-reading it as opposed to plunking down $20 on this one. I suggest the following...

"Jett" is the founder of BATMAN ON FILM.

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