Batman #13 (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion)
Scott Snyder and his team mark the first anniversary of the New 52 by bringing one of DC’s most iconic characters back into the spotlight. Last seen in Detective Comics #1 last year, he’s been laying low, planning something big, and to celebrate Snyder is once more taking the reins of the Bat-family titles with a crossover event with an ominous title. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Joker’s back in Gotham, and there’s going to be a Death in the Family…
Scott Snyder has done an amazing job writing for Batman in the past year. The Court of Owls saga built up its tension perfectly and at times was genuinely quite frightening. Gotham has become a menacing, horrifying haven for evil, and in this issue its reigning Clown Prince makes his triumphant return. You know how whenever someone talks about Jaws they always say it was so scary because you don’t fully see the shark until the end? Snyder uses that technique here, teasing at the big reveal of everyone’s favorite psychopath, and his introduction scene is chilling. Not going to spoil it, but not since Alan Moore has Joker told a joke so scary. The climax of the issue also provides alarming information with unnerving implications, which I won’t spoil either. The middle of the story is a bit weak, but the rest makes up for it.
Once again, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion handle the artwork with care and consideration. There aren’t many standout panels in this issue art-wise, but the art certainly gets points for working with the story. I mentioned earlier a comparison to Jaws; until the very end, Joker’s face is either hidden in shadow or obscured by something, making his actions even more terrifying. There’s one point in the story where we think we’re seeing the Joker but it’s actually someone made up to look like the Joker and being manipulated by him in a disturbing scene. The colors are a little more varied than they have been in the past. For the past year, it seems like Gotham has been fairly sepia or black and white, or at the very least drained of color. I suppose it’s only fitting that the colors should make a return with Batman’s most colorful enemy.
For anyone who’s been waiting to get into Batman, either for the first time or after some time away, I would highly recommend picking up here. 9.5 out of 10, I’m going to keep reading this series until it goes sour, which doesn’t seem to be any time soon.
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