Friday, November 16, 2012

Batman #14

Every comic book would kill to have a character like the Joker on tap.

He's Batman's ultimate opponent, his opposite number - and an instant sales draw, which is no doubt why he's part of a big, multi-issue crossover event called "Death of the Family."

He's the perfect enemy for the Dark Knight. Where Batman is grim and deliberate, the Joker is zany and chaotic.

But he's far from being just another insane opponent - the Joker, as depicted in this issue, is evil personified.

That, and his unpredictable nature, make him a fascinating foe. Gone is the comical funny man, no more the bandit - this is a character who lives to match wits with Batman.

His latest plot - which is only beginning to be revealed - has him planning to (somehow) do away with the Bat Family.

And I have to admit - I almost hope he succeeds.

Oh, I don't want to see any more characters die. That's so 1990s.

But I do think Batman as a character suffers a bit by being weighed down with this extended Bat-family. Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman, Batwing, Batman Inc., the Justice League - you get the idea. Batman is a busy guy.

It takes away from the Batman who's a loner, matching his wits against crime's worst elements. When he has an army standing behind him, he seems less formidable somehow.

Scott Snyder again crafts a smart, fast-paced story with lots of twists and turns, and Greg Capullo crafts some amazing artwork.

This is grim stuff and not really suited for young readers (is anything DC publishes as a "new 52" book ok for kids?) - but mature readers will love it.

Grade: A


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