Main Story: Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo
Backup Story: Written by James Tynion IV with art by Jock
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
He’s definitely back, that’s for sure. This is a Joker we can all take seriously again. He’s funny, yes, but he’s real, he’s evil, and he’s ruthless. He kills his hostages before Batman even arrives just to prove a point. He beats, tortures, kidnaps, and possibly even blinds poor Alfred just to prove a point. And he’s back and deadlier than ever in this story, all in an effort to prove his point. And that point is that Batman is weak and he, the loyal court jester, will restore the kingdom by exposing the phonies and fakes and killing anyone and everyone he sees as a distraction. In a sense, Joker’s just a jealous ex-girlfriend. Who kills people. While laughing.
There are a few other questions raised by the Joker’s return. Most readers are wondering why he is back. Some are even questioning the validity of his plan and whether he’s even crazy or not. But everyone reading this book is asking one main question: Who will get out alive? Things are not looking good for anyone in the Bat-family, what with Commissioner Gordon now hospitalized after an attack at his home and the Joker seemingly popping up all over Gotham City, but there is always a twist with the Joker. Things are never quite what they seem. And I’m thrilled to see just how far he goes. It’s a scary concept that is very rarely touched on in comics, but what’s scarier than a villain that all of the other villains are afraid of?
The story is great, but it is in a sense another well-crafted part of a larger story. The true strength of this issue is the last six pages. The backup feature was a nice addition yet again. Month after month, James Tynion IV is proving that he has what it takes to bring the Bat-family and rogue’s gallery to life. And that Jock artwork is just the right amount of chaotic action mixed with the shadows and creepy imagery that make this story seem not only terrifying, but also personal and realistic. Capullo’s Joker is cool, but Jock’s is downright scary. I almost forgot I was reading a comic book when I get to the backup story. And I believe that is the highest form of compliment for an artist.