wessaari's Batman #17 - The Punchline review

Batman #17

PREFACE:

The end has come... at least to Snyder's run on the Joker, and bow does the clown have some surprises. The ending to this suspense ridden, anxiety attacking, and family murdering saga has left me personally excited beyond all reckoning these last few weeks, and I don't think I'll be the only one dying to see the end, but on to the review.

PLOT:

Now, usually I go through a play by play of what happened but the ending to this story is way to important to spoil. In fact, the comic was leaked on the internet and many peeps were spoiled before they bought the comic. Now I know my review will obviously contain spoilers but if you haven't read the comic, DON'T READ AHEAD!

Joker has the family bound and gagged, with sacks over their heads with platters right in front of them. and before we have a good second to guess, dear ole Alfred comes strolling in, with a haunting grin on his face. Immediately, Batman (and a lot of scared fans) all drew a sigh of relief to see him alive. But all is not well with the family, as their faces lie beneath their silver platters. But again, readers are happy to know that this is all a ruse, and that the family is actually ok... that is until Joker attempts to blow up the cave. Quick thinking saves the family, and Joker escapes. Bruce is reluctant to go after Joker, but the Bat-Clan insists. The two-headed cub makes an appearance and explodes with a particularly powerful Joker Venom, and the Bat-Family begins to tear each other apart. Joker and Batman engage in one last battle, and Batman turns the table on Joker, saying that he knows who Joker really was. Joker, tries to shut Batman up, and plunges to the depths of the caves. Batman presumably cures everyone, and makes sure that Alfred is being taken care of. Bruce tells Alfred that he knew the Joker didn't care about his identity, because after one of their earlier encounters, Bruce revealed himself to Joker, and he glanced over him without any care in the world. Bruce tries to meet up with everyone but they all give excuses not to show up, except for Dick. Joker was talking with the Family before Bruce regained consciousness and presumably scared them enough not to talk, which is why Dick doesn't tell Bruce what Joker said to him. Bruce later finds out that there was a trace element in the specific compound found in the Family's blood; Dubinum, otherwise known as Hahnium. The elemental symbol is enlarged on the computer with Bruce staring at the two letters; Ha.

THE GOOD:

It wasn't what I expected, nor what a lot of people were expecting, but it was still a beautifully written and drawn piece of literature. I am glad that Alfred is not dead, and that the Family is still physically intact (Damian might not last much longer). But the purpose of the Death of the Family, was speculated and proven to have two meanings; Figuratively, and Literally. Joker did have intentions for the Family to die, but as always Joker was prepared and now the Family doesn't know if they can trust Bruce anymore. In the end, this was the most likely scenario to occur, and it happened to an extent. But a theory I had on whether or not Joker actually cared on who was who was actually true. The plain simple fact is that Joker does not care, because that would ruin the fun, but he will teeter-totter what he knows until it drives you crazy, which is what he did to the family. I commend Snyder on a job well done in that department, because in the end, we don't know if Joker is alive, but we do know that he still won.

Capullo delivers another spectacle. Joker's deteriorating face is just beyond disgusting, but we know that already. But seeing the Jokerized family is just horrific, especially Alfred. From the opening page to the last, Capullo never slacks, and always delivers.

BEST STORY MOMENT: To know that the Family dynamic has changed is good enough for me to even pick up this issue, and to see the ramifications in the other books as well as this one is well worth to hang on to this series.

BEST ART MOMENT: Capullo's rendition of the Jokerized Bat-Clan, and the final page are just pure gold. He deserves a well deserved break come next month.

THE BAD:

I am sorry to say it, but this wasn't as monumental as it was hyped up to be. Snyder is a master of suspense and dragging out story lines, but I have noticed the same thing with the Court of the Owls arc; his finish isn't the strongest. To say that the Family dynamic is destroyed forever would be wishful thinking, but we could get a better perspective on that if we knew what Joker said to the Family. No one died, no one was seriously injured, we didnt understand how Joker did all the things he did in such a short amount of time and it didn't even take a long time to cure everyone. In Nightwing, the Joke Venom killed it's victims, so for Bruce to have a simple time curing everyone was incredibly frustrating. It just felt like this story could have been such a game changer, but it barely changed anything as of now. I am glad that there is definitely a shift in the dynamic, but I was hoping for more explicit changes to happen.

Though Capullo has been consistent, and I am not really complaining, I am glad that this is over. I am just tired of looking at Joker's face, haha it really is that disgusting. Greg is incredibly talented and his art in this issue is great, but it was expected. I want him to wow me again, and though I am satisfied I want the future to be even more satisfying.

WORST STORY MOMENT: The fact that this ending to a really good story was lackluster is very disappointing. It really didn't hold up to the hype, and the fact that no monumental events happened is even more disappointing.

WORST ART MOMENT: There were several panels that were awesome, gorgeous, and brilliant, but like I said before, I was expecting that. I want Greg to change it up and deliver something we aren't expecting or haven't seen before.

OVERALL:

This issue was good, really good in some departments, and lacking in others. Snyderman is a great writer, and Capullo a great artist, and together they have made a great book, but the endings to these huge and significant arcs don't end on the greatest of terms. I still recommend this issue, and if you haven't picked it up then I recommend the trade once it comes out. I think we are getting some flashback issues, and I know Riddler will make his presence known as well as our old friend Harper Row.

Don't forget to have a happy Valentines Day :P

UPDATE!

After reading an interview with Scott, I want to do 2 things

1) I am not changing the score for what I am about to say, I still feel that this story is 4/5 stars. But I as a reader completely misjudged one certain aspect about Joker.

2) I wan to say something that everyone should know and listen to. All of it was a big joke. I think after listening to what Snyder had to say, it made so much sense. This long drawn out process, the anxiety, and staying up at night (I literally did not sleep Tuesday night) for Snyder to do that, for a Joker story is downright impressive. Many people were saying that the build up wasn't Joker, but that's the thing, it was a gag, it was meant to terrify to the nth degree. So I will improve the story grade to a 4/5, though I feel it truly deserves this, I will not change the overall score any higher or lower.

ART: 4.5/5

STORY: 4/5 (changed to a 4 due to update, will not change the overall scoring of this issue)

SCORE: 4/5

2 Comments
Posted by TeamUnitedNerds

Alright, first of all, the Joker is established to be afraid of his own past. Many times it has been stated that the Joker is in complete denial about what created him, and has created several fake origins to prevent himself from remembering his actual origin.

Edited by wessaari

@TeamUnitedNerds: I dont know why you are saying this when I never said otherwise. If you are referring to what I said in the plot, then I should have mentioned the fact that at the end the computer says the Joker is still unidentified. That is why Joker tried to shut up Batman, so I don't think I am in dispute with your grievance.

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