Saturday, 16 February 2013

Batman #17 Review

There are spoilers in this review.

Batman #17 marks the end of Scott Snyder's second big story on the title: Death of the Family. Unfortunately this story goes out with more of a whimper than a bang, with all the build-up and tension of the last four chapters never quite paying off.

Batman #17 is meant to shock, but I just found it very anti-climatic. All this time Snyder has been teasing about how awful the Joker's plan was, but really I didn't feel like there was much that differentiated it from any other Joker story. The Riddler's response to seeing what Joker had planned was shock, but all he really did was kidnap the Bat-Family, pretend he'd cut their faces off, and become the cause of mistrust in the family. Am I the only one who doesn't find that very shocking?
I'm not saying that in order for this story to meet expectations it had to live up to its name and kill off a character, but I wish something a little more ground-breaking happened than this. The Joker will be back within a few years for another scheme, and the Bat-Family will just move on.

What burns me most about this is that this is the second arc in Snyder's Batman title, and also the second to disappoint me. I'm not going to go into too many details on the Court of Owls but I will just say I found it to be stretched out too thin across eleven issues, and another tale with a very disappointing ending.
Criticising Snyder seems to be blasphemy in the comic-book world at the moment, but I've got to say I'm really not understanding the hype and acclaim.

Now, this book wasn't all bad. There were some cool moments, and I did feel a sense of despair at the end with the idea that no matter what happens the Joker always wins. Additionally, the art remains well done by Greg Capullo who remains a great fit for Batman. But this just wasn't enough in the end for me to call Batman #17 a satisfying end to Death of the Family.
It pains me to say it after such a strong build-up in previous issues, but Death of the Family is a huge disappointment.


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