Batman #13 marks the return of the Joker and the beginning of a the new crossover “The Death of the Family.” After missing for a year the Joker returns in style attacking Police Headquarters, retrieving his face and beginning a new murder spree that reenacts his first appearance in Gotham City years ago.
Although Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo keep the Joker mainly to the shadows here, their version of him, the brilliant psychopath with an odd attachment to Batman and a need to create chaos, works quite well. I’m still not a fan of the whole face off idea. One could argue having the face re-stapled to his skull makes the Joker more creepy, but I think it just makes him look like a B-movie horror villain.
I also enjoyed the discussion among the Bat-Family as Batman warns them the Joker has returned but takes it solely on himself to catch him. I’m surprised we don’t get a an appearance from Red Hood (given his history with the madman) but the next four months will give us tie-ins to all the Bat-books including Catwoman, Teen Titans, and Red Hood and the Outlaws.
The main story ends with a twist as the Joker chooses his first victim, but the issue’s back-up story between the Joker and Harley Quinn (whose appearance helps sell how brutal the Joker has become in his time away from Gotham) takes their perverted relationship to disturbing levels I don’t need to see. Worth a look.