super_man_23's Batman #17 - The Punchline review

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Batman 17

The DEATH OF THE FAMILY ends here!

BEWARE! This is a SPOILER filled review. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
BEWARE! This is a SPOILER filled review. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

DEATH OF THE FAMILY has been an interesting turn of events. Scott Snyder has brought the Joker back from a year-long vacation to rid Batman of excess allies. Which ultimately had lots of action, suspense, and an overall great story from issue-to-issue. However, with the outcome of DEATH OF THE FAMILY, was all the suspense from earlier issues worth the wait for this ending?


Before we get to "this" ending, lets talk about the good in this comic. Scott Snyder did a stupendous job at building suspense in the beginning part of this issue. From the time Batman gained consciousness, Snyder really got the reader glued to their comic as suspense continued to build to see if Batman's allies were okay [especially Alfred]. Greg Capullo's artwork [with the inking by Jonathan Glapion and the colors by FCO] helped capture the suspense in the first few panels as they helped get Scott Snyder's thoughts conveyed and made the beginning one the highlights of this issue.


However, as the beginning panels did have [me] the reader glued to the comic, after Batman breaking free was where it all went south.


It turns out that Joker did NOT cut the faces off of Robin, Red Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing, and Red Hood. After finding out that the faces were not cut off of the allies, I did not think that the issue would redeem itself. Scott Snyder had done a great job with this series [no doubt], however leading to this conclusion was the most anti-climactic thing he's done in this title. Sure in reflection I do not think that DC would allow some of their most iconic character's faces removed. So Snyder favored this outcome then any other. Could this have played out differently? Yes! Having Joker kidnap Batman's allies then building a bunch of suspense to get the reader's expectations set to high then dropping the ball in front of them to show that the allies are okay was not one of his best moves. Scott Snyder could have found a different way to build suspense and then masterfully pull off an excellent ending, however this first climactic ending didn't end well.

"First? Wait, do you mean to tell me that there is another ending?" Yup! Scott Snyder decided to add another ending to this issue, was it more climactic? Yes! Was the ending good? Sadly, no.

After Batman freed his allies he rushed after Joker. The few panels with Joker fighting Batman was EPIC, all credit goes to the art team for continuing to do an outstanding job. As the battle ended with Batman catching Joker before he fell to his doom, Scott Snyder [once again] built up more suspense. Batman revealed to Joker that he knew his secret identity, family, and his entire past. However, as Batman was about to say Joker's identity, Joker [and Snyder] instead shocked Batman in the mouth and the Joker seemingly plummeted to his doom.

I was listening, or reading for that matter.
I was listening, or reading for that matter.
That's how I felt when Snyder and Joker shut Batman up
That's how I felt when Snyder and Joker shut Batman up

Again, Scott Snyder did a great job at getting the reader hooked back into the comic again, and again he did not deliver the reader a jaw dropping moment [much like Glenn's death in the Walking Dead]. Snyder could have easily ended this issue with him making Batman capture the Joker without delivering the "I know your secret..." line. Again, I don't think that DC would allow one of their most unknown [and iconic] character's identity to be known. It's been 73 years (since 1940) and we still don't know anything about the Joker. I still think Scott Snyder didn't have to give readers the possibility of revealing who the Joker really is and then failing to deliver on that possibility.

To be honest, I did not expect to give this issue a 4 star review. However, saying that this issue was the best of the series would be a lie. Sure this issue had its moments [no doubt that this issue was the most climactic], however both endings could have been better. Scott Snyder did a great job at building suspense from the start of this story arc and no doubt it continued to build, however it died down when Batman saved his allies and he did not follow through with Joker's true identity. I still think Snyder is one of the best Batman writers and hopefully in the future there will be a BATMAN issue that will really be nerve-racking and have an outstanding climax and follow through with a jaw dropping ending.

Overall [it pains me to say it again] a 4 out of 5.
Overall [it pains me to say it again] a 4 out of 5.

DEATH OF THE FAMILY [main story] reviews:

Issue 13 - 'Knock, Knock...'

Issue 14 -- 'Funny Bones'

Issue 15 -- 'But Here's the Kicker'

Issue 16 -- 'Castle of Cards'

DEATH OF THE FAMILY [detective comics] reviews:

Detective Comics 16 Review

Detective Comics 17 Review

DEATH OF THE FAMILY [red hood and the outlaws] reviews:

R.H.A.T.O. 17 Review

Next review:

Batman 18 -- '"R"esolve'

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