Continuing with his exploration of Joker's influence on a band of
deranged Gothamites calling themselves the League of Smiles, and
their boss, the Merrymaker, John Layman takes Batman to the scene of
their latest crime and to darker corners of the human psyche. The
old-book atmosphere, and noir feel that Tony Daniel brought during
his tenure to the title is channeled in "The Pursuit of Happiness"
through the narrative style and the way the caped crusader's
detective work and process are fleshed out.
In the backup feature "Doctor's Orders," the origin of Merrymaker
and his connection to the clown prince of crime are revealed, in a
story that serves both as prequel and sequel to the two-parter that
just concluded. Other than proving how crazy everyone in Gotham is,
the tale is not of much consequence, although it leaves a small
window open for anyone who wants to revisit this short-lived villain
that has not only the potential, but also the motivation and
capability to be a major troublemaker.