Martin Deer on the latest issue of Batman…
“The penultimate issue of “Death of the Family” has Batman face up to The Joker yet again in an emotional fueled showdown between hero and foe.“
Last we saw Batman he was heading into Arkham Asylum for a meeting with The Joker, and expectations and suspense were high. Batman #16 does not disappoint.
The story focuses on Batman making his way through Arkham to locate The Joker, and of course, he hasn’t made it easy. Numerous tests are put in Batman’s way to ‘strengthen’ him, and we meet a few familiar faces from the Rogues Gallery. They are far too easily dispensed, however Batman does look like a badass in doing so!
Several times throughout the issue events that take place terrify and shock; a tear on a characters face, some animal cruelty, the anguish and rage on Batman’s face as he closing in on the Joker, and a panel that leaves you in absolute fear at events elsewhere out of Bats’ control. Scott Snyder writes The Joker at his most vicious here, his most venomous, as the playful court jester routine begins to fade away and the raging monster within begins to seep out like the rotten flesh beneath the makeshift “mask”.
It is despairing to see Batman so vulnerable, so at the mercy of the whim of a madman, and Greg Capullo is able to express so many emotions in Bruce through his art – which is particularly stunning in this issue. Snyder’s run on Batman has featured some excellent internal monologues, especially in Death of the Family, and this issue continues that trend with some fantastic – and heart wrenching – looks inside Bruce’s head as he attempts to bring The Joker down and rescue Alfred.
Jonathan Glapion’s inks and FCO Plascencia’s colour gives the issue a gorgeous look, the bright colours really popping off the page and making the events all the more powerful. In fact, the two have both done an excellent job, as when the most horrific events occur the panels are at their most vibrant. Which is not unlike The Joker himself, a dark man dressed in colour and warmth.
Next month sees the culmination of what has been a fantastic story line, and whilst we don’t want our heroes to come to any harm it would be a shame not to live up to the title, and with what occurs in the back-up story, I can’t see it failing to bring death to the family.
So readers, what do you think is in store for Batman inside Arkham Asylum? And does the Joker really know the Bat-family’s identities?