Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SPOILERS: Batman #14

As Batman yells at Harley, demanding to know where Joker is, she leaves him to drown in the chemicals that made Joker who he is. Putting his respirator on, Bruce manages to escape the chemical vat just in time, before it at through his suit. Heading back to the cave, he alerts all his allies that Joker may individually target them, then heads up stairs to speak with Alfred. Not getting any response, Bruce begins to search for him, and all he finds is a small little present, wrapped in purple and green.

Inside the present is a cassette tape, the Joker's voice plays through as Bruce listens to it, claiming that he's planning an event, and he needed to "borrow" Alfred. Eventually, Bruce hears Alfred, remaining brave, remarking that it'll take more than a blindfold to scare him. Joker soon corrects Alfred, no blindfold... just ammonia burns, which he intends to do again, just for fun. Bruce crushes the tape before he can listen to anymore of Alfred's screams, and heads back out to search for his loyal friend.

Bruce firsts visits Gordon, informing him of the abduction, and that Joker has target him next. On the tape, a custom label that simply said "Gordon" was found, and Bruce wants to put him into protection. Gordon refuses, telling Bruce that he's faced the fear before, and won't go into hiding while his men are on the front lines. As Gordon looks at old pictures from when they first apprehended the Joker, he begins to start bleeding, and soon enough, blood is literally seeping from his body. Joker had poisoned him some how with a dangerous blood thinner.

Bruce manages to get a coagulant into Gordon's system and gets him to the hospital. Outside of Gordon's room, Bruce meets with Dick, and tells him about Alfred. Bruce keeps referring to him as "Pennyworth" until Dick, visibly distraught, tell shim to drop the act, it's Alfred they're talking about. Bruce tells Dick that he knows, after all Alfred was a father to him. He continues to tell Dick not to let any of the family know, as he feels that the emotion it would stir would cause them to want to hit Joker fast and hard, thus making them lose focus. Despite Dick's disagreement, Bruce asks him to help him out. He knows where Joker is going to strike next, the aqueduct, similar to one of his previous crimes, Bruce needs Dick at the pipeline, to prevent the fallout of what could happen.

On his way to the aqueduct, Bruce tries not to psych himself out by taking notice of how he'd usually be speaking with Alfred at this point. When he arrives, sure enough, the Joker is waiting for him. This time around, Joker has taken some liberties. Instead of the standard way things go down, Joker has already gone out of the way to just kill all the people who would have died from his classic plan anyways, pointing to all the bodies already in the water, and then proceeds to blow up the structure Dick is at.

Bruce loses it for a bit, and does just what he predicted everyone else would do, and gets sloppy. Many of Joker's chatter teeth pop up with wire, tangling up Bruce. With Bruce in a comfortable position, Joker begins to get down to business, and let's Bruce know what's going on. You know, the whole court jester to king thing, family makes him weak... if you paid attention to anything, you've no doubt heard it before. But Joker has another bit of info that he makes sure to say as loudly as he can for the Bat allies he knows are listening in... he knows who they are. He knows every single thing about them, and he's coming for them.

There's one more thing, Joker claims to have a secret that reinforces his claim that even Bruce knows the family makes him weak, a secret between just them, that he keeps in a tiny little book, with a bat-skin cover. Bruce tells the Joker he's lying, and Joker accepts the challenge, telling him, and all his allies that within 72 hours, they'll all be dead, and Batman will be the one to have killed them.

Meanwhile, in the back up, the Penguin has been called to a meet and greet within a church, only to find the top Lt. of each crime family in Gotham dead, and posed in prayer positions, wrapped in barbed wire. The Joker greet's "Ozzy," and clues him into his little plan, and drops off an invitation to the party he's planning.


The Good:

Again, like I said in the Batgirl write up, this is fucked up. I'm pretty cynical when I hear "OH MAN THIS IS GONNA TOTALLY CHANGE THINGS" cus usually, it doesn't, and it's all hype... But Snyder and company are putting their money where their mouth is, and this has already become one of the more twisted Joker stories in recent history. "Twisted" honestly doesn't even begin to describe the story, and I can't even imagine where it will go from here.

And the art... oh man, the art. Last issue we got one panel of Joker from Capullo, but this issue the big reveal so to speak. Not only do you get Joker, fully revealed in all his glory, by the guy who redesigned him, but just the way Capullo has the Joker move, stand, and the look in his eyes speaks volumes on how well he nailed him visually. The scene where Joker has Batman tied up and is just moving so unpredictably is absolutely perfect.

The Bad:

Okay, I spoke of this a bit on twitter this morning. My big complaint with the issue isn't exactly with the issue itself, more so on everything that has been said before it. One of the pivotal scenes in this issue was definitely the one where Joker spoke about the court jester/king relationship which lays out some of the themes in how Snyder views the Joker in this situation. Here's the problem... Snyder has been explaining that monologue, almost word for word, in countless interviews for months. Going into this arc, I knew the whole jester/king dynamic, so when I got to that scene in this issue, it fell pretty flat, and any intended impact was somewhat lost on me. Something similar happened in the Court of Owls story, and I've got to say, it sucks for me as an informed reader. I'd like to read these interviews, and get a sense at what is to come, but not that much!

Yes, I see the irony.

Look, I get why there are so many interviews, Snyder is an in demand guy who probably brings in quite a bit of traffic for any interview with him, and I get why he would be excited about the story, he has good reason to be... but when we get to the next story arc, which will inevitably have to be talked about more within the next few months... someone is reeeeeally going to have to do a better job at not spelling stuff out as much.

Also, small note, Jock's art in the back up was more along the lines of what we saw in The Black Mirror, as compared to last issue's, which he colored himself, and it had more of the style we see in his cover work. Still looks great, I just liked the last issue's style more.

The Bottom Line:

Despite my large "The Bad" section, that was more or less me just getting something off my chest, not really anything at fault with the issue. But in all honesty, what is there left to say? I mean, just two issues in and it's hard to verbalize just how much I'm enjoying this story, already. Thinking about this issue, the one phrase I keep coming back to is "MAN, that's fucked!" because it totally is! All hands are on deck, and team Batman has gone absolutely off the rails, and it's fantastic.



  1. In flipping back to Batman 13's back up, you are right. I want Jock doing his own coloring, at least for these extra couple pages. That cover-esk style really is something striking.

  2. Haha oh man. I agree with you so much about that whole interview info spoiling stuff. When I got to that part in this issue, I was like, ugh this is so old, even though it's the first time we actually hear the Joker talking about it. Geoff Johns does an awesome job however with the whole interviews thing. Meh. I'm glad there are others like me/us out there.

  3. hey gotham spoilers. just wondering, does Joker know that Bruce Wayne is Batman?

  4. Its not much about spoiling stuff, rather than a complete lack of subtlety.
    I mean if Snyder crafted his stories to actually mean something for the future and hold value for re-read purposes, he should not spell out loud the actual THEME in every story of his every time.
    That is something only lame writers do.

  5. I loved this issue for the panels where bruce has to listen to the recording, just beautiful artwork and emotions in that. can't wait to see what happens next