Comic Crit: Batman #13 – The Return of the Joker


by Gabriel Estrada (@mediiageek)

Even before I picked up my weekly comic books, I knew without a doubt that Batman #13 would be my pick of the week. If I could summarize this story in five words or less, it would be: Damn Joker, you scary!

Batman #13 is the prologue to Death of the Family with the return of the Joker.  It has been a year in-story since the Joker’s defacing (something that I thought I would never say, but hey, it’s comic books), and he begins his return with quite a bang. The number thirteen in itself is a bad omen. In fact, in this issue there are a lot of omens in Gotham that seem to point to someone’s return.

Considering the page count, Batman #13 gets a lot done. Snyder sets up the situation in Gotham brilliantly from the beginning–there’s a strong sense of foreboding that all the characters share. What makes this book take off is the tone, which is the most important thing when it comes to a story like this. The Gotham City Police Department sequence is nothing short of amazing. It shows how well Snyder and Capullo work together, accurately capturing a combination of suspense and slasher horror.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but Capullo is getting better with every issue. What this man can say with an image certainly complements what Snyder can say with a text box. His Joker redesign is just so amazing and original. He deserves praise for making the villain even more terrifying, yet still the essential Joker.

What strikes me the most is how Snyder is able to work with continuity, drawing from influential stories without feeling dependent on them. In this issue alone, you’ll find connections to The Dark Knight, The Man Who Laughs, The Killing Joke, A Death in the Family, and even more. As someone who is a huge fan of those stories, it enhanced my enjoyment of the book even more.

The only thing I hated about this book? Well, that it ends. This is a Scott Snyder Batman book that is certainly worth your time and money. I don’t think there are proper words that can describe how much I loved this issue of Batman. It’s marvelous, wonderfully written and drawn. It’s nothing short of incredible. We’re finally having some of that good old psychopathic, murderous and deadly Clown Prince of Crime. I can already tell that this story arc is going to be amazing, certainly to become a classic Joker tale.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    One Comment

  1. Michael J. PettyOctober 14th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    This issue of Batman was nuts, and by far the best single issue of Batman that I have EVER read! It was written like a horror movie and sets up EVERYTHING for this coming story arc. Cannot wait for next month!!!

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