Scott Snyder has done something that has not been done in an extremely long time. He has taken a book, with one of the most recognizable characters in the entire world, and perfected it! This issue is completely devoid of banality, it is the pinnacle of great story making and no one should go without sampling it.
Everyone knows that issue #13 is the "return of the Joker", we have all heard the hype for months, and it is well deserved! Everything about this book exudes fear. The art, the pacing, the reveal -- virtually EVERYTHING -- is unnerving! Your heart rate will quicken, palms will sweat and anxiety will rule the day as you tread deeper and deeper into the diabolical world controlled by the Joker. Gone are the hokey gag weapons and the imbecilic henchmen, this is a Joker that likes to get "hands on" with his work -- to truly feel is art being perfected! He is more sinister, more lethal and even more cunning, making the Batman's world a living nightmare that he is always one step behind in. And at the end of the day, the "detective" will fail and brutality will prevail!
Even though the meat of the book lies within the opening story, the back-up tale by Snyder and James Tynion IV, is a quintessential part as well. Revolving around the "Clown Prince" and his love, Harley, we find that their relationship has become as unhinged as the Joker's face! The writing is volatile, making the conversation disturbing to say the least. You will gape in horror as discussion trends towards the removal of skin and you finally realize that this "Clown Prince" is no longer a joke. It is a menacing look at what the future will hold for Gothamites!
THIS style of book is what has kept me reading comics more than half of my life! A tale that resonates with you, that leaves you bewildered and breathless. One that melds scenes from classic tales with current ones, building a richness of history and solidifying it's future. A tale that can truly show how emotional and artistic the medium can be when it is not held down. A book that is pure gold -- tarnished with blood and soot!
Thank you Scott Snyder for creeping the hell out of me! It is amazing!