Batman #13 – #17 “Death of the Family”

So after the Court of Owls, which I thought could never be topped, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo team up for this amazing arch which completely blew my mind. It was their first run at Joker, and since the New 52 relaunch I’ve been missing him. They are my favorite matchup I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for us. The Joker makes his triumphant return to Gotham by getting his face skinned off by the Dollmaker, and when trying to get it back he makes his first attack on the GCPD, giving Gordon a good scare again. Of course he doesn’t stop there, and in a series of events leading up to his final blow, of course aimed towards Batman. The Clown Prince of Crime wants to destroy Batman by targeting his “family.” What had me going crazy was the question of what would the ultimate fate of Alfred be? Right!? What the Joker does is sick, and evil, and well everything you’d expect from a homicidal maniac, but the underlying message that Snyder really wanted to craft up came out in such a unsettling, elaborate manner.

I’ve never had a problem with Greg Capullo’s art, it is fantastic and I love everything about it. He has a way of telling a story clearly and with such emotion looking at the imagery alone. The only thing I really kind of wanted and was let down about, was the fate of Alfred and the family. It makes me feel a little evil saying that, because Alfred is basically like Bruce’s father, but I kind of want to see how Batman/Bruce would struggle with that pain. Does that make me a sick person? And also, the fact that everything was basically a dream. I mean it all just was gone in a quick dusting of the hands. Nothing really happened to any of the family. Does that make me upset? A little, but I understand what Snyder was getting at.

I mean I guess that the Joker wanted to say, at the end of the day Batman, you choose me. By keeping me alive like you always do, you will eventually see the end of your family. And in that, you are choosing my life over theirs. I am showing you that it would be way too easy to take their lives, but you make it so I don’t have to, because you are keeping me around, choosing me. In your own sick way, you need me around, you need someone crazier than you. Someone who also had one life-changing event which led you to be who you are. And the cat and mouse game will never end. Because as long as there is the Batman, there is the Joker.