Wednesday, December 12, 2012

REVIEW: BATMAN #15

(w) Scott Snyder
(a) Greg Capullo
(i) Jonathan Glapion

"Death of the Family" marches along this week in Batman #15 with a sort-of interlude issue for the whole event. This month, nearly all the Bat-books have a connection to "DotF", meaning there's a whole lot more narrative going on all around Scott Snyder's central plot. Of course, this isn't to say that this issue is boring, or any lesser quality than any other issue, it's just not as action-packed and/or thrilling as last issue's edge-of-the-seat chapter. Snyder knows how this story has to play out and what that means for Batman and his extended crime-fighting family. Batman #15 is really what this Joker-centric story is all about: the disintegration of Batman's support system. 

We know the Joker sees Batman as a king of Gotham who can't be his best because he has weights tying him down in the form of his allies. Each new Bat-hero that emerges becomes one more person Bruce has to worry about, just one more body to inevitably find, according to the Joker. He's not wrong. The best part of "Death of the Family" is that the Joker is absolutely right--while Batman might consider himself a loner (along with DC's editorial staff), the evidence of decades of sidekicks, allies, and frenemies says differently. Bruce's penchant for taking in outcasts and turning them into shadowy vigilantes points more to his obsessive need for family rather than his isolationism. Sure, every time a new Robin pops up, Bats gets pretty defensive about taking on a new partner, and he never really approved of Barbara becoming Batgirl, but the end result says that Batman needs a strong, extensive support system to maintain his desired crime-fighting lifestyle. Heck, he created Batman, Inc. just to have more allies/soldiers around the world. Bruce needs his family, and Joker knows it.

This month, Bruce reveals a shocking secret about his history with the Joker than sends Nightwing, Red Robin, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Robin into a hissy fit. The actual information isn't so important as the fact that Bruce kept a major secret from his allies. Bruce attempts to convince the others that Joker doesn't actually know anyone's identity and that it's all just a twisted mind game. The revelations from the past make Bruce's words somewhat hollow in the eyes of the others, and they start to question Bruce's ability to keep a clear head in the midst of this chaos. It very much feels like a turning point for Batman and his allies, that they might never fully trust each other ever again, that this is how the family falls apart.

GRADE
9/10

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