One of the things that I find super jarring in many of the 80s and early 90s comics, is how committed they are to making the stories feel "fresh" by including pop culture references that cement them in an era. They are always clunky, and make the stories feel prematurely dated.
Batman: Dead To Rights is rife with references to Gray's Anatomy and Gnarls Barkley. It's not even a decade after this title came out, and it already feels archaic.
The idea is that this story picks up directly after The Joker is arrested for the first time (which could be after The Man Who Laughs or Lovers And Madmen). Instead of focusing on how The Joker is a dangerous criminal, it focuses on how The Joker is a dangerous prisoner. It's an interesting concept, hampered by the dialogue. You can tell Andrew Kreisberg is a television writer (he went on to create and write for Arrow), as some of his dialog would work better on the small screen.
I didn't know Kreisberg wrote Arrow until I was composing this blog entry but it does make sense to me, as I think both Arrow and this storyarc are well-conceived ideas that creatively rewrite a major DC character's backstory. I also believe they bot fall victim to trying to do too much with characters that I don't think he and I understand the same way. This version of The Joker is too snappy standup comedian for me, similarly in the way Kreisberg's Oliver Queen is too dark and broody for me.
(All that said, I adore Kreisberg's take on The Flash universe, and find it superior to almost every issue of The Flash I've ever read.)
We get some cameos of future GCPD characters, as well as one of the greatest one page uses of The Riddler that I've seen.
We also get the first appearance of Matches Malone (Bruce Wayne's alter alter ego) but in a very unsatisfying scene that makes it appear that Gotham Police don't even bother a gentle pat-down of incoming prisoners, as Matches has the entire Batman outfit, including the utility belt in his possession when The Joker see through the Malone identity.
Scott McDaniel's artwork is very busy with quite a bit of panel busting, but that makes sense for a Joker story. I'm not in love with some of his repeated facial expressions, but I also think that may be a purposeful statement on some of the characters.
Story 2/5. Art 4/5.