Comic Vine Review


Batman #16 - Castle of Cards; Judgement


Batman is getting closer to finding out what the next part of Joker's crazy scheme is. You might not be prepared for what Batman finds out.

The Good

I have been enjoying the various Death of the Family tie ins but as much as I love the Joker as a villain, we've been getting too much. That isn't a knock against any of the individual issues but we're getting Joker-overload. At least that's how I was feeling until I read this issue. It's been said before once or twice before but Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo make a superb team. You'll remember last issue left off with Batman entering Arkham Asylum to see what Joker was doing there. From the very first page you get a scene of the perverse nature of his twisted mind.

Once again, we get an opening narrative from Batman as the events unfold. We are so used to seeing Batman charge into the fire and that's part of what makes many forget he is a non-super-powered hero. It's a little disturbing in a way to hear a brief bit of concern over Alfred but, at the same time, it'd be a disservice to their relationship if Bruce didn't have the slightest concern over his safety.

Whether it's swollen lips or toes, Capullo makes you feel the grotesque nature of what is going on through his art. How many times have we seen Arkham Asylum in comics? It's Capullo's art along with Jonathan Glapion's inks and FCO Plascencia's colors that make it a memorable visit. It's hard not to gush over this series month after month but we truly are lucky to have such an amazing and talented team working on all aspects of the books.

It is interesting to note that Batman may have been negligent over the state of Arkham. It's always been a curious part of the Batman comics for me. There have been arguments whether or not Batman enjoys hunting down the criminals he locks up when they constantly escape. Obviously that can't be the case but something more should be done. Batman has been busy with the Court of Owls and Joker's recent attacks elsewhere. I just couldn't help but wonder when the last time he visited the place. The result is a creepy and eerie backdrop to the story.

The build up of the story is a fun ride. Snyder and Capullo throw some truly bizarre visuals are way as Batman works his way through Arkham in search of Joker. It's such an insane scenario. How Batman can remain so calm is a true testament to how focused and dedicated he is to being Batman. We all know that Joker's mind is a dark and twisted place but seeing what's on display here is almost disturbing.

There's a two-page spread here that is a sight to see. Joker is looking nastier and nastier.

The Bad

Batman punches a horse. But maybe he did it with such precision and in just the right spot as to not injure it.

There's a little jump between the events of the main story and the back up. Of course because we have art by two different artists (Capullo and Jock), there's bound to be different interpretations of the characters present. It's just unfortunate that there wasn't a little tighter continuity from one page to the next.

The Verdict

We're getting a lot of Joker stories though out this Death of the Family event. This is where we get to see how twisted and ruthless Joker really is. Luring Batman to Arkham Asylum is the perfect setting for what may be the final act in his crazy scheme. It's not often you feel sorry or tired for Batman. That's the feeling you get here. Scott Snyder sets up a disturbing scenario and environment and Capullo, Glapion and Plascencia do an extraordinary job of creating the visuals for it all. You almost have to wonder who is more twisted, Joker or the creators for being able to come up with the all the visuals. BATMAN is always a comic I like to read several times. I always read it at least twice before writing up the review and then pick it up again later. You just can't get enough. We know each issue won't result in the end for Batman but because of the dark tones of the story, you can't help but actually get a little worried for all involved. Part of me doesn't want to know what's going to happen next issue but of course there's no way anything or anyone could stop me from reading it.