Batman & Joker: Deadly Duo #7 brings Marc Silvestri's opus to a close with a punchline
Marc Silvestri's Batman & Joker: Deadly Duo #7 has finally closed the book on the long-brewing story from writer/artist Silvestri, who began work on the story all the way back in 2014. A labor of love, Deadly Duo represents Silvestri's statement on who and what Batman is, and how he relates to his arch-enemy the Joker through the lens of a once-in-a-lifetime team-up.
But the final issue, while providing an electrifying final showdown between Batman, the Joker, and their common enemy Amanda Simms, ends with the kind of punchline that can only take place between two lifelong arch-foes.
Newsarama spoke to Silvestri on the eve of Batman & Joker: Deadly Duo #7's release, digging deep into the implications of the finale, nearly decade long process of bringing the story to print, and even the potential of more to come.
It all starts with that punchline - Deadly Duo's final moment between Batman and Joker was the crux around which the entire story was built, Silvestri explains.
"Without spoiling, that was the crucial moment of the entire series. The whole setup of how it starts and how Batman and Joker become this duo, this team, is important on a lot of levels," Silvestri tells Newsarama.
"The only way I could do that was if I kept the entire series a mystery, filled with misdirection and twists and turns that I hope make sense," he continues. "That was the key…I wanted to keep readers off balance. But yeah, I had the punchline with the Joker in mind as the end of the story from the beginning."
To bring the two archenemies together, Silvestri concocted Amanda Simms, a creepy, crawly villain whose origin of heartbreak forms the backbone of Deadly Duo. Equal parts Universal Monster and sci-fi villain, Simms became the threat on which Silvestri felt he could build an unlikely team-up between Batman and the Joker.
"I grew up watching classic monster movies, like Universal Monsters and stuff. That's the kind of horror I grew up with. Not slasher horror per se, but the classic monsters - vampires and stuff like that, I loved it," Silvestri explains. "And I also grew up with sci-fi and fantasy, so those were the three elements I wanted to incorporate in this story, right? And it really helped, because in order for me to be convincing about why Batman and the Joker have to work together to begin with. They're fighting something they've never seen before."
One of the most unique - and time consuming - aspects of Batman & Joker: Deadly Duo is Silvestri's art. Rather than simply penciling the story, ready for another inker, Silvestri chose to ink his own work, drawing on influences such as artists Bernie Wrightson and Franklin Booth to capture a different feel for his art.
"I've been at this business for more than 40 years…I wanted to kind of do something different, that was recognizable as me, but with a little twist, right?" he explains. "I thought, what if I take that really like rendering the line heavy style that you would normally see in a horror comic, and applied it to superhero stuff, to my sensibilities. Big double page spreads, and we got a big shot of Batman, the Joker, a big shot of Amanda, big fight stuff, but giving it an illustrative quality."
And to finish the art, Silvestri enlisted colorist Arif Prianto and letterer Troy Peteri - both of whom Silvestri has high praise for.
"It was wonderful collaborating with Arif," states Silvestri. "The pages that came in were just so spectacular. As I looked at them on my monitor, it's like, 'Oh, my God,' it's just beautiful."
"I was just thrilled every time, and it was a lot of work," he continues. "And when you look at that, it's a lot of work. And, you know, he put in the hours and he took the notes, which was more hours. He's very patient. Not only that, he's just a really nice guy, which is great to work with."
Despite the labor intensive process of creating Batman & Joker: Deadly Duo, Silvestri says he's been approached by DC to write a sequel, thanks to the critical and financial success of the limited series. But if Silvestri and DC decide to create a sequel to Deadly Duo, Silvestri will write the script for another artist.
"I leave room for more, and I've already been approached to potentially continue that universe," Silvestri states. "I wouldn't draw it though. I would write it, and I would find an artist to work with that really made sense. If the stars align, it'll happen."
As for his final thoughts on wrapping up Deadly Duo, Silvestri brings it all back to the key question of Batman's identity as Bruce Wayne, and what makes both sides of the Caped Crusader important to who he is.
"Bruce Wayne is Batman. Batman is Bruce Wayne," says Silvestri. "He starts with Bruce Wayne. Without Bruce Wayne, there's no Batman, right? I think people kind of forget that because the focus is often just on Batman saying 'I happen to be Bruce Wayne when I need to be.' And that was kind of what I played with… I just pointed something out. And I hope people get it and enjoy that."
Batman & Joker: Deadly Duo #7 is available now.
Batman & Joker: Deadly Duo may someday find its way to the list of the best Batman and Joker stories of all time.