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Batman #37

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By Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, Fco Plascencia, James Tynion IV, John McCrea, Michelle Esposito

There’s a scene in Batman: Year One where Batman crashes Carmine Falcone’s dinner party. The candles blow out, signifying the end of an era. It’s enough to give any Bat-fan chills. Miller and Mazzuchelli were on top of their game in those moments like these were no big deal to them.

Apparently, these moments are no big deal to Snyder and Capullo either because this issue is full of moments that are genuinely stunning.  The Joker has attacked the city with a new Joker Toxin that’s so advanced, even Batman can’t figure out an antidote for it.  This plot is just window dressing for the real themes being beautifully swirled around on every page.  Snyder implies that laughing and clowns have some sort of deep connection to Gotham City.  It’s a terrifying way to tie things in and Capullo really brings this point home with some borderline disturbing images.

Speaking of disturbing, this is the scariest Joker we have seen in years.  After this issue, Snyder’s Joker is easily up there with Moore and Morrison’s interpretations.  Bringing him into Gotham’s past with some eerie photos found by Jim Gordon, only to come face to face with the very terror he just unearthed puts Joker on a whole other level (like the guy needed any help being awesome).  Naturally, Capullo throws in his cryptic symbolism to drive the point home, as Plascencia turns in his best coloring work to date.  This Clown Prince of Crime is not messing around.  This reviewer can watch any horror movie and not bat an eye, but this Joker is truly creepy.

Heck, even James Tynion IV’s backup story keeps the scares rolling.  His story is a little more abstract, but it fits well with what Snyder and Capullo presented.  John McCrea’s art is a mix of different styles that bring us in and out of subjects quite seamlessly.  Great job, guys.

This may sound like we’re stroking Snyder and Capullo’s egos, but that’s not the case.  Hands down, this is one of the greatest Joker stories in history and that’s a history that goes back a long way.  Take it from a guy that has read plenty of Batman stories from every era, this is truly one of the best.

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