Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
I have been enjoying this series overall since it started, but this story in particular has been one of the best Batman stories in the last few years. Scott Snyder has really done something wonderful in this story, and he's written Joker excellently, bringing him back to the Batman series in shocking fashion.
This issue sees the continuation from the last with Batman tied up on the bridge with Joker. After an explosion Batman captures Joker but is affected by his Joker Toxin. He latter wakes up to find the whole Bat-Family waiting for him, looking for answers.
The backup story shows Joker in Arkham Asylum persuading the Riddler to break out and join in on the fun.
Another amazing issue, in this fabulous story. Snyder has continued what he's been doing throughout this series, and kept the suspense, and drama in this issue. The way Snyder introduced the remaining members of the Bat-Family into the main part of Death of the Family was brilliant, and he write all the different characters perfectly. He continues to show Joker's psychotic side, as well as his unpredictability, and he's doing a great job in making the Joker more sadistic. He also done a brilliant job of introducing Riddler into this story along with James Tynion IV in the backup story, but I'll talk more about that later.
Greg Capullo's artwork continues to amaze me, and it really suits both this series, and story. He does an excellent job of drawing all the characters, and although I probably prefer the art in their own series, I like how Capillo has made them fit into his style of art, whilst keeping there characteristics, and newer character designs from their own series. Capullo also draws action sequences brilliantly, and I loved how he drew Batman coming out of the flames. The emotion he puts into his artwork is also amazing, and I like how you can easily tell what the characters feeling, whether joy, laughter, or fear. The way Capullo has drawn Joker over this story line as also been fantastic, and I love how Joker looks really gruesome, and deranged in his artwork. Even the first page is brilliant, in it's own right, as it shows a really sinister Joker, and due to him being in the shadows it makes him appear even more evil, if that's possible.
The thing I was most looking forward to in this issue was that all the Bat-Family would not only be together in the same issue for the first time in this story, but since the New 52 started. I loved the clash of personalities in this sequence as we have characters like Jason Todd who feels like Batman has betrayed him again, Tim Drake, and Dick Grayson just wanting answers, Barbara Gordon not happy that Batman's kept this from her, and Damian Wayne defending his father, and hoping that Batman's doing the right thing. Believe it or not another reason I loved this sequence was because this cut down Joker's appearance in this issue. I've loved seeing him throughout this story, and he needs to be in most of it due to being centred around him, but it's nice to get a small break, and see what other Bat characters have to say.
When Batman explains what Joker meant about him having his calling card, it shows a past encounter between Batman and Joker in the early years. Batman is fighting Joker on top of a blimp, and later on he finds Joker's calling card in the Batcave. The sequence itself showing Batman's fight with Joker was brilliant, and I've been loving seeing all these different flashbacks. The way it was drawn was also brilliant, and I liked how Joker looked dramatically different, and actually looked similar to the earlier Joker. I also loved how the pages had faint lines through them, making them look like scratched tapes, and easily showed that this fight took place in the past.
The backup story featuring the Riddler was very good, and I liked seeing Riddler for the first time sine the New 52 started. Riddler has been one of my favourite villains of all time, just falling behind Joker, so his absence in the New 52 Universe upset me a bit. I know that Snyder has already mentioned that he planed to reintroduce Riddler into the DC Universe after he was done writing this story, but to see him in this issue was a very nice surprise. The story itself was very good, and I loved how it showed both Riddler and Joker's personalities brilliantly, and how Riddler was forced to use his genius.
Another brilliant issue, in what's shaping up to be DC's best story in the New 52 so far. I would highly recommend this issue, and am looking forward to seeing what Joker has in store for Batman and the Bat-Family next issue.