HERE BE SPOILERS as ‘Death of the Family‘ continues.
In my review, of Batman #13 last month, I’d been amazed by Snyder and Capullo’s Joker – charismatic, psychopathic and very scary. The redesign was dramatic, as was his entrance. The creative team, along with Tynion IV and Jock in the spectacular back-up, in which we learnt that even Harley Quinn now feared the Joker, had produced a very special issue.
Here the Joker steps from the shadows and into the limelight – and what a performance it is. After the events of issue 13, in which the Joker slaughtered many a Gotham Detective, how could the masked maniac top it?
Simple, rather than telling Batman what he’s going to do, in a Bond villain-esque style, turns out, he’s done it. The Joker instils dread, in what is an incredibly atmospheric comic, with all the intensity of a Shakespearian soliloquy .
And so it seems the Joker knows everything – EVERYTHING. Alfred’s fate is alluded too but not expanded upon, Batman and Nightwing have a tête à tête, before an epic showdown between the Joker and his ‘darling’ (another nice nod to Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger), in which one gets the better of the other.
What’s most pleasing about Snyder and co’s Joker is the exploration of his relationship with Batman. They are antithetical to one another – from Batman’s scowl to the Joker’s grin – something which Grant Morrison explored in Batman: Arkham Asylum, iluustrated by Dave McKean (interesting fact – the full title A Serious House on Serious Earth is taken from a Philip Larkin poem).
And whilst the Joker looks to enlighten Batman, this week he enrols the Penguin in his plans, in the, once again, excellent back-up by Tynion IV and Jock.
This is the best Batman I’ve read in years.
‘Death of the Family’ continues this month with Catwoman #14.