The Bat-family, and even Batman himself, start to break a little as things come to head in Batman #15.
From the very moment you get this issue Scott Snyder and Greg Cappulo are playing games with us (similar to the story inside); while the cover may seem more pedestrian than what Capullo is capable of it ends up being a tease of what’s to come, where the Joker literally gets inside Batman’s head.
Even though he seems tough enough to take a kick from the Joker it’s this and the toxin “kiss” that seem to mark the beginning of the mind games for Batman. His first awakening is to a warm scene of his Bat-family crowded around him, safe and sound. Until weirdo-Alfred shows up and we learn it’s a dream (interesting that he was wearing his face, similar to the Joker). When Bruce wakes up again he’s surrounded by his Bat-family, who aren’t as welcoming this time. They want answers, specifically to a secret that goes back to Batman’s early years when the Joker may or may not have left a card for Bruce to find in the Batcave, meaning he’s potentially known this whole time. Bruce is convinced that the Joker couldn’t of made it to the cave, no one else shares his sureness though.
Whatever the answer is it seems to create a rift in the family and we start to see a side of Batman not yet fully explored by Snyder.
Maybe it’s the toxin, or the frustration of losing the Joker again, the family fighting, or the intense pressure, whatever it is Snyder turns up the heat and if you ever have Batman crash through a wall and begin interrogating a guy on his own diner table in front of his family you’ve got my attention. This is the menacing and threatening Batman I don’t think we’ve seen in this series yet. And it’s VERY exciting.
I won’t lie, I like my Batman a little violent. I could get used to seeing this more.
Always a crowd pleaser.
Since returning the Joker has turned up the heat and it finally seems as if Batman’s patience is starting to match it. Which makes sense; the Court of Owls while certainly evil were new and challenged him in a lot of ways he’s accustomed to being challenged, but with the Joker it’s different. It’s a personal attack, it’s emotional, and it’s starting to tear his family apart (whereas Court of Owls brought them together).
Snyder’s story has got to be reaching it’s climax here, the build up of what the Joker has planned has been a long time coming and the idea of Batman walking into a Joker-controlled Akrham is a concept worthy of the hype. The last page gives me chills, can’t wait to see what is in store for us.
Throughout the issue I couldn’t help but be reminded of the age old question “Why doesn’t anyone just kill the Joker?” I mean, when the entire Gotham City PD has Joker in their sites, after he just murdered a couple of them the day before, and no one takes a shot one can’t help but wonder. It’s a little ridiculous. No, a lot ridiculous. Even for a comic book, that the Joker would be able to escape that bridge and have controlled Arkham for months without anyone noticing. But of course, this is a superhero story and the Joker isn’t your ordinary villain. Like Batman being able to disappear whenever he likes or zip around Gotham like Spider-Man the Joker is deserving of some special powers without really having any. And to Snyder’s credit, he plays with those powers effectively.
And as if Capullo’s art wasn’t treat enough he stretches his envelope just a hair with the flashback scene, which was beautifully done. It harkens back in more ways than one; the colorful lights take us away for a moment from the dark and gloom in the rest of the issue, his characters and designs look backwards to Batman’s artistic past, and even the filters help set the stage. Outside of the flashback the rest is gruesome, but in a good way, specifically the Joker’s face beginning to come undone and his close attention to Bruce’s eyes and shadows in others. It’s always fun to see writer and artist as in sync as these two are here.
The backup is especially interesting, involving the Riddler and horses has me more than a little intrigued and Jock’s artistic perspective is always worth it.
Snyder, Capullo and Jonathan Glapion get it done in this issue, and to a standard we’ve come to expect. Things have reached about the highest peak they can and with the set up for whats to come I think all eyes will be on Batman #16.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Batman is starting to unravel and the excitement of the story is beginning to unfold.||The Joker narrative is starting to get a little thick and the Joker has yet to actually do anything to Batman (other than kick him).|