Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, Jock, and Dave Baron
Lettering by Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt, and Taylor Esposito
Published by DC Comics
Review by Lan Pitts
'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10
This issue is no joke.
Since the relaunch of Batman, it has been praised and and put on a pedestal as the best book DC is publishing today. From the Court of the Owls arc, to now the Death of the Family, it's kept that acclaim with this issue. Bringing out Batman's most notorious and well-known rogue to the new universe probably put pressure on Snyder and the rest of Team Batman that only a guy like Atlas would know. Batman #16 is nothing short of jaw-dropping, and the best issue yet.
What Snyder has done here is take a slice of every past decade of Bat mythos and swirled it around and created a contemporary masterpiece. Snyder's Joker isn't a man without a plan. He's calculating and sinister. He's the guy other villains tell stories about to scare each other. Reading this, each page turn becomes another skipped breath and heart beat because the suspense is layered so thickly. Each previous issue, we've seen Joker top himself, but here and now, he might have topped all past incarnations of the character. Snyder hasn't just crafted a great Batman story, but something worthy of a prized detective story. The thing that Snyder gets is that Joker is chaos and unpredictable. Gone are the days of traps set in giant typewriters, but what Joker throws at Batman page after page is imagery we'll not soon forget.
Along with singing Snyder's praises and accolades, there could not have been a better artist than Greg Capullo for this job. Doubt was cast aside long ago when he won over audiences with this cinematic style and bonafide rockstar take on Batman and Gotham. In this issue, Capullo gives us strong visuals and polite nods to other eras of Batman history. There are a few panels that didn't need words at all. His panel layouts are the most dynamic they've ever been with some of his best art to date. Every page in this issue is deserving of every expression of admiration this title has ever received. It's masterful, and at the same time, haunting. This issue could not have been easy on the art team, but inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist FCO Plascencia came through in spades. Even FCO's coloring of the Joker's face as it's beginning to rot is a nice, yet macabre touch to things.
The back-up feature by Snyder and collaborator/former protege, James Tynion IV gives us a glimpse of how the Gotham rogues interact with one another as well that last bit of intensity we've come to expect. While talented in his own right, Jock delivers some great art here, assisted by Dave Baron on colors, but after what Capullo served us earlier, it doesn't feel on the same level. It's interesting to see Penguin, Riddler (sans his question mark mohawk) and Two-Face being portrayed in both parts of the issue, with both Capullo and Jock having very distinct differences in presentation.
It's hard to not sit back in awe after reading Batman #16. There's so much being thrown at you, but how Capullo constructs things, it's easy to swallow. It deserves another read the second after you finish it the first time, just to be sure you didn't miss anything. Possibly a third. Snyder and company have given us something comic fans will be talking about for years to come and possibly then some. Batman is often called the pinnacle of human perfection, and this issue gives the character and the legend justice.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!