Maybe it’s easiest to explain my love of comics by telling you my first word was “Batman.” No really it was, just as my parents. Sure I grew out of DC and into Marvel but still the Bats has held a soft place in my heart. I didn’t jump on the New 52 bandwagon when DC did their whole redo. I just wasn’t certain what line I wanted of the Bats there were choices and I hadn’t a clue. Then on Free Comic Book Day 2011 I got a Batman. I liked it, I really liked it though I was learning the extended Bat family (the Robins have matured dead ones haven’t stayed dead etc.) So I jumped in mid arc. A big multi-title arc “Death Of The Family” Just like in the AvX Interruptus I didn’t chase the story about – I just took what crossed the ONE title I got. Which was Batman issues 13 – 17. Let me tell you I got a good ‘un.
The ever present US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Now credit to the creators: Written by Scott Snyder, Adam Glass, Kyle Higgins, John Layman, Scott Lobdell, Ann Nocenti, Gail Simone, Peter J. Tomasi, and James Tynion IV Issue 13 – Scott Snyder, Writer Issue 14-16, Illustrated by Greg Capullo, Eddy Barrows, Ed Benes, Brett Booth, Andy Clarke, Fernando Dagnion, Jason Fabok, Patrick Gleason, Jock, Timothy Green, Rafa Sadoval, Issue 13 – Greg Capullo, Penciler Issue 14 -16 – Jonathan Glapion, Inker Issue 14-16 – FCO Plascencia, Colorist Issue 14-16 – Richard Starkings & Comiccraft’s Jimmy Betancourt, Letterer Issue 14-16 – Greg Capullo & FCO Plascencia, Main & Variant covers Issue 13, 15, Greg Capullo & FCO Plascencia, Cover #14, 16 & 17, Trevor McCarthy, Variant Cover Issue 14, Alex Garner, Variant Cover Issue 16, Tony Daniel, Matt Banning & Tomeu Morey, Variant Issue 17- Katie Kubert, Asst. Editor- Mike Marts, Editor – Batman, created by Bob Kane.
At the end of each issue is a tie-in story featuring the Joker making plans for the finale. Issue 13 Story Knock, Knock Brought to you by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, Richard Starkings and Comic Craft’s Jimmy Betancourt, Katie Kubert, Mike Marts, Cover by Capullo and Plascencia, Varient cover by Aaron Kuder and Nathan Fairbairn, Batman created by Bob Kane. Issue 14 Men of Worship Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV, Writers, Jock, Artwork, Dave Baron, Colors, Sal Cipriano, LEtters, Katie Kubert, Assistant Editor, Mike Marts, Editor. Issue 15 Red Light, Green Light Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV, Writers – Jock, Artwork – Dave Baron, Colors – Taylor Esposito, Letters – Katie Kubert, Assistant Editor – Mike Marts, Editor. Issue 16 Judgement Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV, Writers – Jock , Artwork – David Baron, Colors – Taylor Esposito, Letters – Kate Kubers, Assistant Editor – Mike Marts, Editor.
WHEW That’s some credits on who did what where!
I jumped in on the big return of Joker story-line. He looks different and through some research I learned why he looked different – he had his face cut off and now wears it as a mask. As a result he is more gruesome than ever adding to the creep factor in his “jokes.” The main story is between Joker and Batman – Joker starts leading Batman back to the places of their big battles. Except this time the Joker has the upper hand, finally in order to lure the Bats to the final finally he kidnaps a member of the Bat family. The final battle is at the Arkham Asylum where Joker was imprisoned after each caper.
I will say this is a fresh new take on the oft repeated battle between Bats and Joker. It is well written and pulls many emotional strings not just of Batman but the readers too along the way. There isn’t shying away from a large body count here of guilty as well as innocents making the stakes grow higher with each issue. In the end I felt Batman proved to be who we know him to be but instead we learned something very important about the Joker – his weakness. If DC keeps up with the power and tight writing of this story they have got fodder for many story lines to come. The Bat family has been deeply changed by the results, if not Batman himself. The Joker has shown he knows more than he lets on but his ultimate weakness kept him from using it. So I was left wanting to know – how will the Bat family be after such horrid experiences? will the Joker have the guts to use his knowledge when he returns from wounds? Because he’s gotta come back, right? I mean that’s what he DOES right?
There were more aspects to the story than the interactions between the main guys. Joker’s interactions with the various members of the Bat family appeared in their comics. The bonus story at the end of each Bat comic showed the Joker recruiting various villains to help him complete the final showdown in the asylum. It makes for an excellent two page splash piece in Issue 16 complete with Faux DC superheroes. I like the insight to each villain. I was reminded that a good villain is a hero in his own head – sure they see what they are doing as right and have to be coerced into going along with the Joker’s plan. Admittedly some needed more than others. It is interesting to see a story were both are villains. Here it leads you to wondering just what is Joker’s grand plan? When we see it, it’s chilling but follows a certain twisted logic. That’s good writing. That’s staying true to what makes the twisted mind of the Joker the best comic book villain ever. Cudos to the writers!
Now to the art – It was wonderful. I can say it supported the story didn’t make me wince or gawk, instead I saw the movie in my head. Isn’t that what comic books are supposed to do? Here the art and the story worked perfectly together. There were small touches I like – the flies increasing around Joker’s rotting skin mask. The slight touches of how Alfred puts his arms around the Robins when they are in danger. Images like that add to the story, increase the depth of the characters and make the comic experience complete.
To be my arc venturing back into the DC and Batman world I have to say this hit a home run for me. I only hope it can keep up these high standards.
Okay you know what comes next… scans from the comics
I’m gonna be spoilery
So if yo don’t want to be SPOILED
One thing you don’t often hear a hero admit… fear.
Joker thinks family weakens Bats – the question is does it? or does it strengthen others?
The recruitment of the Riddler. I love the juxtaposition of the cunning calculator against the chaotic madman in this story.
The Joker gets to Batman… not just by having Alfred but he gets inside Bat’s head.
Just who is the craziest of the crazy? I’ve heard it said that true psychopaths are always geniuses. Mental illness has nothing to do with intelligence. It has been pondered if having super genius status causes insanity or severe addiction – living in a world of people who are the equivalent of jabbering toddlers to you. Could this explain the Joker?
IF he is a genius psychopath the last thing he ever wants to be brought down to – is a mere man…just another human no longer the super villain THE JOKER.
nor do you want your archenemy to the lame millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. It spoils it all that way doesn’t it?
Until next time.