Some say Batman can defeat anyone. Just because Joker is back, you would think it wouldn't be a problem for Batman. He's fought him many many times. But this isn't the Joker as we've seen him before. He is more focused than ever before. More calculating than ever. This is Joker at his most deadly state. And of course it's Scott Snyder that's bringing this hell to Batman.
From the opening pages, you see Batman take part in one of Joker's schemes. He has a lot of them going, many at the same time. Finding himself trapped in a vat of the same chemicals that turned Joker into...the Joker is haunting and also shows that Batman might not be fully up to this coming battle against the Joker. Will he get out in time? Well, what do you think. The fact is he fell for one of Joker's traps. That's not a good way to start this encounter against Joker.
The overall chill of the issue is the fact that this story is called "Death of the Family." With death in the title, you would think someone would die. Joker has targeted pretty much everyone around Batman. They all might be skilled in their own ways but they might not be prepared for this level of Joker-madness. As you read the issue, you can't help but wonder who might fall next and if they'll be able to survive. Remember how last issue ended? No matter how prepared Batman might be, there are times when he's just a tad too late. There is one page in particular that really stands out. It's a full page spread that is amazing. Great work by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia.
Not only do we get a chilling and amazing story, it is also wrapped up in an amazing package. Everyone involved with this issue should be proud. It's a great read and is an extreme joy to look at.
One of the big questions carrying over from last issue is does he or doesn't know Batman's secret? This has been discussed before and now it's coming full steam. It's a deadly piece of information that would make Joker even more of a threat. The suspense and the way the issue ends will have you immediately craving the next issue. This is how you end an issue.
Clearly I loved the issue. It is a five out of five. But I do have to note that the backup didn't blow me away as much as the Joker/Harley one last issue. It is building up more of the story but perhaps it's because of my lackluster opinion on Penguin that reduced some of my excitement.
Make sure you're in a happy place when you read this issue. We've seen many incarnations of the Joker over the years. We've seen many battles between Batman and Joker. None of that can prepare you for what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo deliver in this issue. Joker is a beast as his plans against Batman unfold. This is a cold and calculating Joker that wants one thing, to rid Batman of all his excess baggage. He wants Batman all to himself. With that notion stuck in his head, he has targeted pretty much everyone around Batman. Throw in the question of whether or not he knows Batman's secret, it's a deadly game on any levels. I don't know how Synder and Capullo (and Glapion and Plascencia) do it month after month. I don't need to know how. Just as long as it keeps happening, I'll be happy. The Joker is a vicious bastard and you'll love every minute of it.