by BRONKO on November 15, 2012




           Batman finds himself trapped in a vat of the same nasty brew that birthed his nemesis. It was a good try, Harley, but come on, we’re talking about Bats here. After  the minor inconvenience of being trapped in a tub of toxic doom, Batman is back at it, but first he sends out a group text to the Bat-Team and heads home for a lemonade.

            Batman gets to the mansion and the wet warm brown hits the fan. The Joker has pulled some wild moves in his time, but never anything quite as brazenly diabolical as snatching up the only anything that means half a scribble to Bruce Wayne. That’s right, he took Alfred. Alfred Pennyworth, easily the most wonderful, snarky butler of all time—currently having his eyes burned out with ammonia. All this comes in the form of a cassette tape. Yeah, cassette tape. I didn’t realize this was an early 90’s period piece. The tape has a label that says Gordon, apparently a really smart way of giving away his next target.

            Bats gets the hurry on over to Jim Gordon’s. The man has a great mustache. Gordon is all paranoid and jumpy. Batman tells him about Bruce Wayne’s butler getting grabbed and then they talk about how unpredictable the Joker is. Batman wants Gordon to go underground and stay safe. Jim refuses the protection, touches a picture, and then starts bleeding all over. It is kind of confusing, but I guess Joker got him with a thinner that is a “derivative of heparin.” I gathered from my research—Wikipedia—that heparin is an anticoagulant (it makes you bleed, a lot).  Batman gets Gordon to the hospital all safe and sound. Nightwing is waiting outside the window.

            Batman tells Dick not to let on about Alfred to the other Bat-Kids. You can tell the big guy is shaken before he takes off on the Batpod to catch Joker. I miss the Batcycle, that thing was very cool. There is a tender moment when Batman is en-route and he thinks about how he would normally be talking to Alfred pre-battle. It’s heartwarming until we remember that Alfred is getting his old eyeballs burned out.

            Joker looks all sorts of ugly, his face held together by white tape or something. This is a Joker that I can be scared of, no offense Jack Nicholson. Capullo did a real nice job. Joker and Bats have their confrontation on the bridge, reminiscing about their first date in the same spot. Things start getting all meta when Joker walks Batman through his plan and how Batman would have reacted to each step. But Joker already went ahead and did it all to save some time, blowing the aqueduct and poisoning the water. This was a fun twist on the villain reveal, which usually leaves room for the hero to stop them. Batman gets wrapped up by a bunch of those chattering teeth on ropes. I forget if they have a name.

            The main part of the book ends with Joker’s big reveal; he knows the identity of the whole Bat-Crew. Yeah, it’s a big cliffhanger, but I always kind of thought that Joker knew the whole time. What I’m more interested in is when Joker says that Bats is going to be the one to kill the fam. The book ends with a bit about the Joker playing with The Penguin, it’s fun.

             Like the Snyder Batman’s that came before, this is another solid installment and a nice escalation to the “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” story arc. I’m looking forward to some depraved Joker antics in the issues to come.

Our Score:


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