The Joker is back, and he’s darker and more violent than ever! (Oh, boy!) This week I focus on the astounding Batman #13.
Here’s the book’s description: “The Joker returns in ‘DEATH OF THE FAMILY!’ He crippled Batgirl. He killed Robin. What will The Joker do now that he’s returned to Gotham City? What must Batman do to protect his secret identity and that of those who fight alongside him?!”
Tony S. Daniel ended Detective Comics #1 with THE most talked-about final page in the “New 52,” showing the skin from the Joker’s face hanging on a wall! Well, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are picking up on that plot in this issue, Batman #13.
As long as I’ve been a Batman fan, I’ve been less than thrilled with the Joker. So much of the time, Batman’s arch-nemesis has been much less than scary. He ends up spending time with kids and others, and hasn’t been very threatening or at all frightening. There have been exceptions to the rule, such as Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ version. But the incarnation that scared me the most was in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, with Heath Ledger making it tough for me to even look at the movie screen sometimes.
The book begins with the Joker appearing at GCPD headquarters, and he wreaks havoc there before Batman arrives. There’s an interesting comparison when the Joker appears in the darkness, then Batman is seen in the light. THAT I didn’t expect! And I did hear Mark Hamill’s voice whenever the Joker spoke!
Snyder again crafts a psychological thriller that keeps the reader on the edge of one’s seat. Also, Capullo’s art is strong and gripping, so what is likely the best writer/artist team on Batman in recent memory just keeps creating amazing stories! And what Mr. Capullo has done with the Joker’s skin-mask is creepy to the max, flies and all! I did love the die-cut cover, too!
I’d read a lot on the Internet about how great the final page of this issue is, and honestly, it is truly amazing (part of it is to the right and above)! It left me with a LOT of questions and concerns, so I am going to be left breathless until Batman #14 arrives an agonizing month away! Wow!
Rating: 5 out of 5
This Week’s “New 52” Reviews: Batgirl also has the cool die-cut cover, and she takes on Knightfall! Batman and Robin shows Damien taking on zombies. Next, I enjoyed Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. as the main character delves into the “Rotworld” event. Demon Knights by Paul Cornell brings Lucifer into the mix! Green Lantern Corps shows Guy getting a promotion and the Third Army beginning to spread more quickly into the galaxy. Legion Lost has the team taking on the Cosmic Butcher. Also, Superboy is discovered by Jimmy Olsen. Deathstroke fights Deadborn. The Phantom Stranger brings Raven from the Teen Titans into the “New 52.” Suicide Squad shows the non-heroes battling Regulus. Ravagers continues the story from Superboy, so read it after that issue. Team 7 brings an old DC villain into the “New 52.” Grifter features Stormwatch taking on the book’s main character.
Out this week of note are Batman: Arkham Unhinged #7, Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #2 and Green Lantern: The Animated Series #7 from DC; Divine Wind graphic novel from Kickstart; First X-Men #3 and Uncanny Avengers #1 from Marvel; Hoax Hunters #4, Morning Glories #22 and The Walking Dead: Michonne Special #1 from Image; Stumptown V2 #2 from Oni Press; as well as Archer and Armstrong #3 and Bloodshot #4 from Valiant.