“The Punchline,” written by Scott Snyder, penciled by Greg Capullo, and inked by Jonathan Glapion, is the aptly named title of the conclusion to the “Death of a Family” story arc that’s been running through the Bat titles since October 2012 beginning with issue #13, and ending with #17.
I don’t like spoilers. I hate having the ending ruined for me by someone intentionally or not, and there are so many great moments in this comic–so for fear of saying too much I will keep my review brief. If you haven’t been following the “Death of the Family” story I’d advise you to try and get your hands on Batman issues 13-16; the story is brilliant. A quick summary: Joker feels that Batman is relying too much on his partners (Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl etc) and that Batman’s extended “family” is making him weak. In order to prove his point he’s determined to destroy them…by making Batman abandon them. Watching his plans unfold in the last couple of issues left me fascinated, and horrified.
This is one of the best comics I have read all year. Synder understands the dynamic between Batman and Joker completely and it shows. It is such a great ending, I wanted more but was totally satisfied by the conclusion. My hats off to this Batman creative team. The art fits the writing and tone of the story perfectly, Capullo and Glapion make a fantastic visual team. The portrayal of emotions range in this book from heartfelt and tender, to horror and disgust and they seamlessly jump from one end to the other. Not only does this issue stand out individually, reading #13-16 makes it so much better. That in itself is a rare find now-a-days with so much emphasis being put on story-arcs and writing for trade, very rarely do single issues tell a complete story.
In addition, this particular story-arc also touches on some things that I enjoy about the New 52. By DC doing this relaunch it gives an opportunity to expand upon the characters we thought we knew and by showcasing subtle differences in their origins, if told correctly it can have lasting effects on the current continuity.
My advice? Go get a copy of this issue and read it before someone spoils it for you. It’s an instant classic that fans will be talking about for a long time.
Jeremiah is one cool guy. Ask him about the comic he’s drawing.
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