Now this blog is called New Beginnings and Batman is a thoroughly established character in the DC universe so this week’s blog is slightly different. This week we are not looking at the new beginning of a hero or saviour, this is the return and rebirth of something far darker, deranged and sinister.
Batman #13 welcomes home the quintessential adversary of the caped crusader, the Joker.
For any fans who read Tony Daniels' Detective Comics #1, you would have seen that The Clown Prince of Crime had his face removed by The Dollmaker before disappearing.
|The final page of Detective Comics #1|
Now, a year later, he is marking is return in Scott Snyder’s Batman kicking off the new arc, Death Of The Family. This in itself is a little unsurprising as the Joker was pivotal to the A Death In The Family storyline in the late Eighties.
Snyder’s story opens on a dark and stormy, rain-filled night, with Commissioner Gordon trying to assess how the press are going to use the “omens” that seem to be coming up. Ironically this is also when a psychopath walks in out of the rain with a joke.
The ensuing massacre brings Batman to the scene and with an almost hysterical Jim Gordon confirming it was the Joker, meaning that all the old files are opened and the Bat Family put on high alert. Admittedly this is not how Bruce wants it but he also has no choice too.
With Bruce’s attention firmly grabbed the Joker ups the ante by publicly announcing that Mayor Hady will die, but it’s through astute detective work that the real direction of the Joker is deduced and a showdown at the ACE Chemical plant is arranged.
For a man with no real or apparent plan the Joker certainly has thought things through as Snyder opens the world up to Harley Quinn and Alfred bringing them into the fray as well.
Although there is no clear motive, the Joker is most definitely back. Add to that the loaded connotations of the play on words with the main title, well you know something is going to happen. It’s not clear at all whether this is simply splitting the Bat Family up, or if we will see another death, but this is now wide open for the reader.
After a break for issue #12, Greg Capullo returns to provide us with the artwork and the new look Joker. It’s typical to his style and fits in well with Snyder's work. However, there are some cracking extras in the issue.
Take the cover for example. All of the opening issues for this major arc have a gatefold depicting the main character being masked by the Joker’s staple-riddled face. The back cover provides a list of all the crossover issues for you keep track of them.
Even better is the mini story at the back of the issue, which contains “Tease”, the story behind Harley’s interaction with the returning Joker. Without spoiling anything, it is a short but interesting backstory which is beautifully drawn. The final page artistically trumped the rest of the issue for me.
Snyder is one of my favourite writers right now, so not liking this issue would be a hard thing for me.
Although it is the return of possibly the most significant villain in Batman’s world, there isn’t much more given to where this arc is really going so far. Even so this is a great issue and any Batman fan should be so eager to get their hands on it. If it lives up to it's similarly named predecessor then this will be a run to remember.
Matt Puddy is looking forward to seeing how this one pans out...