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See I read a lot of these situations completely differently. Yes the fake out of the faces was a fake out but it was a pretty damn good one that sent chills down my spine, Alfred might not have gotten better, The joker could've simply lied about the torture and instead just filled him full of joker gas. Joker definitely knows that Bruce is Batman, he just doesn't care. He doesn't want to mess with Bruce, he wants to mess with Batman. Batman gambled with Joker and Joker couldn't handle it. And rather than Batman coming close to killing him and not I see it as Batman driving the Joker crazy and Joker pulling away and falling(yes this is how all Joker storylines will end) rather than call Batmans bluff.
I really liked this issue and the story, and am really not looking forward to the next issue.
I agree with most of this. The suspense was great and I didn't feel let down that nobody was defaced.
But if you liked it why are you "not looking forward to the next issue"?