Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV, Jock
Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Greg Capullo’s first page is enough to make this a great comic. Scott Snyder starts with Batman talking himself into not being afraid of the Joker, reminding himself that he’s only human. After he threatens the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime says “I sooo love it when you talk dirty,” just in time for Sgt. Bullock and the GCPD to show up. Not missing a beat, Joker asks him if he’s fallen off the wagon again, showing that he’s everywhere and no one is off limits. Then Joker’s thugs (unseen until now) open fire on the cops and Batman punches him, knocking his face… well, almost completely off. A few laughs later, Joker reveals that he can poison people who touch him, temporarily paralyzing them, allowing him to easily escape.
Later we are treated to a scene with the whole Batman family, assembled and all judgy-faced, telling Bruce to stop with the secrets and explain just how the hell Joker knows who they all are underneath their capes and cowls. So he does, going back to his constant fear that Joker might have followed him into the cave years ago, meaning he could potentially know who Batman and the rest of the family really are. But he says that that’s impossible and dismisses the group, basically telling them to shut up and stay put while he finishes this.
So he does some detective work and finds out that Joker’s base of operations is – and always has been – Arkham Asylum. Apparently, he’s been in control the whole time and might have never left Gotham, making the inmates, doctors, and guards go home each night and act as if nothing had changed. Which makes sense why a lot of these backup stories involve the asylum, just like this one. Here we get another awesome backup by Snyder and co-writer James Tynion IV and artist Jock, which is disturbing to say the very least. Joker is recruiting again, but this time he’s going after the Riddler. Whatever happens next, just like this scene, there’s going to be a lot of killing. Whether it’s for a reason or because he thinks it’s funny is beside the point. So, as Batman enters the Asylum, he’s asking himself what the Joker is planning, and why, when he looks into the dark jester’s eyes, it’s never evil that he sees, but love.