Batman: Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, Richard Starkings, Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt, Aaron Kuder, Nathan Fairbairn
Tease: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jock, Sal Cipriano
Behold! The creepiest comic cover ever! All this hype has built up about the return of the Joker to DC proper. He disappeared close to the beginning of the New 52 in Detective Comics, and hasn’t been truly seen since. For a year I’ve been wondering where the hell the Joker’s been? How come the last we see is his face tacked to a wall, and it’s never resolved? It’s been unsettling. Then DC started teasing the crap out of this “Death of the Family” crossover story featuring all the “Batman” titles…and the long-anticipated return of Batman’s greatest enemy.
To say that this issue is worth the wait is an unmeasurable understatement.
If you’re not reading this title - first of all, what’s wrong with you? - second, please keep in mind that this book has been delivering on every single issue since it’s inception. So with all the hype that’s been building, did you really think Snyder and the team was going to take a momentous occasion like this to suddenly disappoint? You cray.
I won’t spoil anything, as per normal, but this issue begins with such a seemingly harmless, though hintingly ominous conversation between Commissioner Gordon and Bullock. Bullock is talking about the weirdness happening around Gotham, and how the press will take it as a “sign” of any bad things that may or may not happen soon. Gordon agrees, but is preoccupied with Barbara’s always finding his cigarette stashes and taking them from him. This is signature Snyder style, a very realistic conversation about realistic issues between two very believable characters, and I love it.
Well we don’t have long to enjoy this false sense of security until, you guessed it, the Joker shows up to cause havoc. The scene is nothing but chaos, and is brilliantly plotted, and perfectly articulated in the art. It’s probably the most I’ve ever actually been scared of the Joker. I understand he’s a madman, and he always puts hundreds, if not more, lives in danger with his schemes…but when I watch the cartoons, or read the comics, I just never get this sense of impending doom and heart-stopping fear. Not so, here. I finally understand why Joker is cause for widespread panic.
Joker then makes a public announcement that he will kill Mayor Hady that night, using a very twisted and terrifying way to delivery his message. Of course, Gordon and Batman do everything they can - and it is an impressive attempt - at making sure the Mayor is kept safe. You’ll have to read the issue to find out how that goes.
Finally, there’s a “full circle” feeling introduced when an iconic Gotham location is selected as the place where Batman is to meet Joker again after his disappearance. And there’s also a “full circle” feeling when the oddities at the beginning of the issue are showed to us yet again, at the end. Overall, an EXCELLENT delivery on the reemergence of this timeless character.
Capullo’s art, along with the work of Glapion and Plascencia, is incredible here. I have to give out the highest of props for, on the first page, the panel where the rain drops are reflected in the headlights of the car. I, literally, have never seen anything like that in a comic book before…and it struck me as soon as I saw it. Outstanding. Joker’s new look (remember, he did have his face carved off) is even more horrifying than it ever was. It’s a great way to reinvent the character, and remind everyone of just how scary he is. Now, no one will forget.
The backup story, Tease, featuring Harley Quinn was AMAZING as well. I was honestly terrified. Very well done. Very good job. More of this, please. Now. You really expected to write something this good, and then make us wait another month? Hahahaha, no.
Batman #13, the verdict: This was, all around, amazing. Astounding. Astonishing. And other Marvel superlatives. I honestly couldn’t have expected it to be any better. I couldn’t even ask it to be better. To try to improve upon it at all would suddenly make it worse. Snyder and Capullo work magic in these pages, and the art team is killing it with every panel. The lettering deserves special mention, too, what with the Joker’s speech bubbles taking on a “mad” quality similar to his own mental illness. All I can say is, over the next 4 months, I will be looking forward to every Bat-title DC has.
(Photo Source: Dangermart.Blogspot.com)