All Hail the Bat King — Batman #16 Review

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By now, we’ve all seen the exceedingly creepy new Joker and a peek inside his disturbed mind in Scott Snyder’s Batman run. If you’re like me, that probably left you either with some sleepless nights or the overwhelming urge to watch a Batman Animated Series marathon.

However you slice it, this issue was one that will not soon be forgotten. It’s Joker at his darkest and most twisted as he puts Batman through the ringer and forces him to endure plenty of gruesome sights, including a rather alarming tapestry. Part of the dark beauty is the lengths that Joker has gone to in order to put Batman through the proverbial wringer. It may be the biggest surprise that Batman has yet gotten from the Joker in this new continuity.

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Before we’re mentally scarred forever, on to the rest of the review!!

As the writer for this insanity, Snyder is scaring me right now with his take on the Joker. It feels like he blended Hannibal Lecter and Pennywise the Clown into one big murdering ball of colorful scary crazy.

For that, Mr Snyder, I salute you.

Snyder’s taken an iconic character and put his own wonderfully insane spin on it. As Batman runs through the newly redecorated halls of Arkham Asylum, Snyder and the Joker have given him a crazy prison full of unchained inmates to deal with before claiming the crown of the “Bat King.” These are Joker’s words, not mine. The pacing is spectacular and the dialogue is crisp as I can’t help but hear the voices of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and Joker, respectively.

Let’s tackle the art now, shall we? The pencils from Greg Capullo are exactly as they should be, without a single stray stroke. The panels are far more elaborate than he is likely use to drawing, in recent memory. From the inmates to the faux Justice League, everything here looks superb.

Jonathan Glapion’s inks have added to the awesomeness of the art in Batman. I have rarely seen such perfect shadows in a Batman Family title, much less the main. Then, there are the colors from FCO Plascencia, which really set the whole thing off and give it those great dark hues that we always see in Batman. There are the occasional bright lights and odd equine flambé — yes, you read that right. These things happen when the Joker visits Gotham.

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This gets a 5/5 because of the sheer gravity of it. One look at the ending will tell you what I’m referring to, but only read just that page. The pages should also be a clue to the kind of wacky-go-nuts evil that will force you to remember this issue for quite a while.

No actual horses were harmed in the making of this issue.

(I don’t think so, at least.)


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Batman #16 (2011)
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DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

Previous Issue: Batman #15 Review
Next Issue: Batman #17 Review

Buy Batman #16 from Things From Another World!

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