My favourite Batman comic. The art is absolutely breathtaking. It’s a surreal nightmare of a story. I like Batman stories that expose him for being just as crazy and unhinged as the villains he fights, and this is one of the best stories for showcasing that facet of him. The comic is rife with allusions and attempts to visually communicate the themes; it’s clear Morrison and McKean were going for something more literary than standard comic fare here, and I think they absolutely, triumphantly succeeded.
If one wants to really dig into the the allusions and themes behind the story, I recommend the anniversary trade paperback edition which includes the original script and annotations, very valuable if one is interested in “decoding” the story in that way.
Personally, I prefer more naturally experiencing the story as the bizarre, unsettling, surrealist, Lynchian nightmare that it is.
I give it five madmen, and an April Fools joke.