Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
It’s very odd to be excited for someone so psychotic and evil to come back into your life. Well that’s exactly what happened with the clown prince of crime over these past few months as comic fans eagerly anticipated his year long hiatus.
The last time we heard from Joker was over a year ago in the pages of Detective Comics #1. If you haven’t read the issue, it’s worth it if only as a pseudo prelude to the events of this issue and his subsequent disappearance.
The current “Team Batman” of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have done a masterful job up to this point and have clearly left their mark on the most critical of Batman fans. They have shown the ability to introduce new characters (The Court of Owls), reinvent old ones (Mr.Freeze), and tastefully change Gotham’s history.
This is something else entirely. Many have written Joker stories. Some are considered the best literary works of the genre. Others have completely missed the mark.
There is a sense of dread throughout this whole issue. Snyder has a great way of setting tone with expertly researched points of reference. “Polycephaly”? Are you kidding me? This guy is something else.
Because this is a larger story with multiple titles and characters involved, it’s was important to introduce them while still reminding the audience that this is the Batman book & the focus is on him here. Snyder & Capullo do this beautifully in a multi panel layout that sweeps sideways as characters one by one check in with the Dark Knight for a sit rep. Great stuff.
But the key here is the clown himself. I won’t give it away if you haven’t read previews or are going in blind, but Joker has some serious skin problems. In interviews leading up to this issue, Snyder was very clear this was going to be a disturbing take on the character. This issue backs up those claims. The best part is that there are times when he isn’t even in panel and he’s still terrifying. He clearly has been busy orchestrating a master plan this past year. He wants desperately to be back in Batman’s life and he’s prepared to do his worst to make that a reality.
Readers are also fortunate to get a superb backup story co-authored by James Tynion & Snyder and drawn by Jock. It ties right in to the main story and reintroduces an old friend.
Needless to say, I can’t wait for the next issue. Pick this up ASAP.
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