It’s been a year since the Clown Prince of Crime has battled Batman. After slicing off his own face and hitting the highway, Joker had disappeared leaving Batman to tangle with a mysterious society bent on Gotham’s destruction. Now, he’s returned and he has grand plans for The Dark Knight and his allies. Will Joker succeed in his most ambitious offensive to date or will Batman put a stop to his plans?
Full disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Scott Snyder’s noggin is full of badass-ery. Not only has he been detailing the adventures of The Dark Knight since its re-launch in 2011 but he’s also been working on American Vampire, got tangled up with Superman, penned a few Swamp Thing issues and worked on a ten issue mini-series dubbed The Wake through IDW publishing. It’s like his head is a leaky faucet that’s constantly dripping out quality storytelling. Bad analogy, I know.
Since taking the reigns on Batman, Snyder has wanted to bring his vision of Joker to the readers. Practicing amazing self restraint, Snyder managed to wait a whole year before putting pen to paper and delivering his own classic Joker tale. Given Snyder’s talent in the way in which he’s handled The Caped Crusader, fans were frothing at the mouth for his take on Joker.
In an interview with Comics Alliance, Snyder noted that he approached Joker by telling himself, “if I only get one chance to write this character, this is the story I would do”. Pouring his heart and soul into this tale, readers will once again be reminded of the depths to which Batman’s most feared villain will lower himself. In Death of the Family, Joker hints that he’s aware of who Batman’s allies are under their masks, intending to make them all suffer unless Batman follows along with his deranged plan. Batman is steadfast in his belief that Joker is bluffing, choosing to keep this threat from his team. Eventually, however, they find out and accuse Batman of taking Joker lightly; that after all these years, he still underestimates him.
In terms of the visuals, Joker has never looked more terrifying. Since regaining his face, he’s stretched it over his disfigured skull using a system of metal clips and straps giving him a unique and unsettling look.
The character of Batman has been around for 74 years and his arch nemesis, The Joker, has been tormenting him for 73. It’s amazing that there are writers who can continue to pen original stories that find a way to shock and entertain an audience. Snyder proves that there’s still a lot left in the tank when it comes to these two battling as his Death of the Family is a standout chapter in their seven-decade war.