Joker continues to wreak havoc on Batgirl’s life, forcing her hand (in marriage) in order to save her mother. There are many heroes who have been terrorized by villains in the past, but few have been terrorized to the extent that Batgirl has been terrorized by Joker. He’s hunted her father, paralyzed her, and he continues to do so without abandon. While there isn’t too much progression in the story, there are two things that make this issue worth reading. First, it’s absurd to think Batgirl would marry Joker under any circumstance, and yet Gail Simone has crafted a story where it is a completely believable outcome, and given their history, the emotional toll on Batgirl is infinitely high. Even more important is James Jr.’s role in Joker’s plan. For James, his mother and sister are his own personal play toys, and considering he is the psychopath that he is, Joker may have a huge problem. Gail Simone is writing a fantastic tie-in to the major crossover event, and it looks like it will just keep getting better. 4.5/5
There is nothing scarier than a man on a mission with nothing to lose. Joker wants Batman to be at his best, or at least the best Joker thinks he can be, and he will kidnap, destroy, and kill anyone in order to get what he wants. From the start of this issue, Snyder takes Bruce, as well as the reader, on an emotional roller coaster ride. From the explosive confrontation on the bridge, to the equally explosive confrontation with team Bat-Family, Bruce’s whole word is thrown upside down. It’s come to a point where it’s almost like Joker is right; Batman’s not thinking straight, and he’s definitely walking straight into a trap. Snyder does an amazing job with this issue, transitioning from fast paced action to heavy emotional drama without dropping a beat. Greg Capullo continues to draw a magnificent Batman with a gorgeous Gotham to support its hero. His work looks remarkable during the action scenes, and looks just as great during simple conversations. Jonathan Glapion’s inks and FCO’s colors wrap up the issue with a gorgeous finishing touch. The co-feature story in the back was equally as riveting as the main story, as it brings the Riddler into the mix. 5/5
Last month’s issue of Batman and Robin had many problems stemming from the fact that it had to tie into “Death of the Family.” Luckily, those problems did not seep into this month’s fantastic crossover story. With Bruce otherwise preoccupied, Damian takes it upon himself to find Alfred. Things go wrong, Joker arrives, and the issue takes a dark turn. Peter Tomasi does some excellent things with this story that haven’t consistently appeared in this series. First and foremost, he depicts Damian as a strong willed boy as opposed to a raving psychopath. Damian’s interaction with his dog, his anger towards his siblings, his desire to find Alfred; these aren’t just things that make him appear more childlike, they make him more likeable. The issue is fast paced, it balances humor with horror, and all in all it showcases many, if not all, of Damian’s positive aspects. 4.5/5
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