Sometimes it's difficult to cut a deal. It's like a wound that just won't heal. It's scratchy at first. And then comes' a burst. Of a substance that smells of raw veal. Sniff! Sniff! Can you smell them too? The Writer: John Layman; The Artists: Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke; plus the Publisher: DC Comics. Especially in February 2013!! Peee-youuuu!

Out of the following 6 scenarios, which 2 have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this STORY entitled, 'Nothing But Smiles'?
  1. All of a sudden Gotham City goes bonkers when it is revealed that the Joker is on the loose, prompting a gang of goon's -- called 'The League of Smiles' -- to come under Batman's watch full eye.
  2. Inadvertently, this event leads Jodie Foster to win a Golden Globe award, also prompts another gang of goon's -- including Anthony Hopkins -- to come under Batman's watch full eye as well.
  3. Now to combat this deterrent, Damien -- Batman's son and heir -- quickly informs his Daddy that a member of the aforementioned gang once worked in Arkham Asylum. Moreover, that they are planning to kill a groups of kids at a youth center later that same night.
  4. However, just prior the Dark Knight arriving at the scene, one of the gang member's suddenly has a change of heart in mid-ploy, causing him to chop off the lower portion of his face...
  5. ... whilst singing the Beatles song 'Let It Be', and helping the caped crusader capture his cohort's in the process.
  6. Finally, once the day has been put to rest, it is revealed that the mastermind behind this crime is some plonka called the MerryMaker.

Meanwhile, in the backup feature, Ogilvy gathers together select members of the Penguins vast empire, and informs them of their new state of play.

What is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
There was one single word that stuck out like a sore thumb for me when I read this issue. It was the word 'Tributes'; when one gang member struck another gang member, saying to him in the process...

'You let them go? Our tributes for the Joker? What's wrong with you?'.

I felt like saying back at him 'Nothings wrong with him, mate. He doesn't use Latin inspired words when he's angry'. Ha!

What was the BEST thing about this issue?
Now not to take anything away from John Layman's dialogue, but when Jason Fabok puts down some pencils, he really does 'put down' some mean looking pencils.

Look at his opening splash page for instance. The one where old 'pointy-ears' is ready to kick some ass and take some names. Well, without being too esoteric about it, his Batman is to die for. He's menacing in pose. He's bold in stature. He's brooding in temperament. And he doesn't look like a cheep knock off of some other artist's depictions.

Also, the back-up artist, Andy Clarke, really shows he's not second fiddle to the main tale either; by the way his wares are up to Jason's very-very high standards. Amazing.

What was the WORST thing about this issue?
My one slight gripe with this tale is that I felt I've already read it before. Come on. Let's face facts. Who hasn't read a comic book about a gang of crooks trying to make a name for themselves during a difficult time? Granted, the story in question does try to give itself a new spin, by stating that the gang in question has been inspired by the Joker's past antics. Still, this not enough in my eyes. Not at the moment anyway.

What was the most INNOVATIVE thing about this issue?
I did like the fact that when the solitary 'gang member' suddenly changed his mind about what he was doing, he then went and done something else completely stupid not so long thereafter.

Well, consistency is the key to good characterization, isn't it, dear reader? Plus a surprise that's been staring you in the face all along. Ha!

Pick TWO CHARACTERS out this comic book, and compare them individually to a SIMPSONS CAST MEMBER.
BARNEY as HARVEY BULLOCK: Do I even need to write anything here? No! Oh! I didn't think so. Thank you most kindly.

SIDESHOW MEL as THAT IDIOT WHO DAMAGED HIS FACE: Look at the picture provided and you can see that Mel has inflicted harm on himself by sticking a bone in his hair, which is not too far removed from sticking a knife in his face.

What WORD or PHRASE could you use to sum-up this story?
'Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward' -- Kurt Vonnegut

What SONG, THEME-TUNE, or MELODY, would complement this tale, as well as add and extra dimension to it by default?
Now being a bit somewhat of an 'old school' musical buff, I couldn't help but compare this tale with the Charles Penrose 1922 classic slice of silliness, 'The Laughing Policeman' song.

See what I mean?

Within the last two installments of 'Detective Comics', I've started to notice a 'cheesy' quality to John Layman's style of writing. Admittedly, not a brash or harsh type of cheese. More like a milder brand of cheese with a samey aftertaste. Like a high-street brand of pizza for example. The frozen variety.

Well, that's how I currently perceive Johns story's. Frozen. Samey. Yet edible at the same time.

Now I'm nigh on positive that he can transpose his tales from 'high street' to 'A la carte' in the next couple of months or so. But, for him to be able to do this, I prey that he can work his way around giving his rouges silly names -- like 'King Penguin' or 'The League of Smiles' -- whilst innovating upon a classic framework as he has done so in the past.

Come on buddy, John. I have every faith in you. Next issue I want to be praising you like I'm doing to your great-great artists, Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke.
GIVE IT, IT'S DUES: So-so story complemented by some amazing art. 50-50