Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
This has been a brilliant series and Scott Snyder has done an amazing job on it. I have been both a Batman and Joker fan for most of my life and there is nothing I love more that a story involving the two of them that's written well, and nothing I dislike more than a bad story involving both of them. This is why I was very excited about this story line as knowing that Snyder has the skills to produce amazing stories I hoped he would do one with Joker, and so far he has.
This issue sees Batman returning to his cave to find that Joker has kidnapped Alfred. Joker has since put Commissioner Gordon in hospital and Batman whilst talking to Nightwing believes he knows were Joker will strike next. With Nightwing's help Batman races to Joker's location to finally face him and find out what Joker will do next.
This was another brilliant issue and this story is shaping up to be one of the best Bat stories in years. Snyder has done a fantastic job with these characters and it seems that no matter what he writes he can understand the characters perfectly. He has done an great job writing the Joker and that is one of the best things about this story. He writes Joker's characteristics exactly like they've always been but he has added more darkness to the character and a lot more unpredictability to him, which isn't easy to do as he's unpredictable as it is. I also loved the way he wrote the encounter between Batman and Nightwing talking about the abduction of Alfred and the Joker's future as you could tell that they both were worried about Alfred but that Batman needing to be strong not showing it.
Greg Capullo has once again done amazing artwork for this issue and his art throughout the series has been truly fascinating to look at. I love how he is able to get all of these different emotions flowing though the issue as we have a sad and confused Harley, a serious Batman and a worried Nightwing whilst Gordon is as stubborn as ever, which is brilliant and not easy to do. The detail in the background and scenery is also amazing, and loved how he was able to do it so well whilst focusing on the characters in the panels. I also thought the way he drew Joker with his face on like a mask was stunning and even though we got a small glimpse of this last issue this is the first time we see it properly which was just amazing.
The addition of Nightwing to this issue was also a nice touch as it is made very clear that Joker is after the entire Bat-family and not just Batman. It was also nice because we get to see someone else who has grew up with Alfred around him and some who will be almost as upset as Batman is himself, and someone who doesn't mind showing that sadness. I will also be interested to see who if any other members of the Bat-family will crop up in this title and how they will react to Alfred's abduction.
The Joker and Batman meet itself was also brilliant and the discussion between the two was very interesting to read. I also enjoyed seeing Batman's anger during this conversation and that although he's not wanting to give anything away he's making sure Joker knows he's not kidding around.
I also like how previous Batman and Joker event's especially some of the earlier ones have been mentioned during this story which is nice for people who haven't read them, a nice reference for people who have and also a very fitting reunion for Batman and Joker themselves. It was also nice to see that Joker is fully prepared this time and that he is making it perfectly clear that he is in charge and not Batman.
WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD!
The biggest question this book leaves is does Joker know the identity of not just Batman but the entire Bat-family. The question whether he knows Batman's secret has been asked in the past but now the question is does Joker know all these secrets or is he just using this to make Batman question himself or trip up. Joker could have very well known Batman's secret for a long time and just had to much fun to reveal it whereas now he is a lot more psychotic and is focused on killing Batman and his family. Whether he does know or not will be an interesting thing for the rest of the story and I for one will be looking forward to seeing what he actually knows and how the other members of the Bat-family will react to the knowledge that Joker may know their secrets.
A brilliant issue and Snyder just keeps making this series better and better. I would highly recommend this comic and the series so far and I for one am really looking forward to seeing the progression of this story and what effects it will have on the other Bat titles or DC titles in general.