Thursday, June 6, 2013

Batman: Faces of Death

Batman:  Faces of Death (New 52 Detective Comics, vol. 1), by Tony S. Daniel; graphic novel; 176 pages

This rounds out the last of the New 52 Batman collections to which I currently have access (until Death of the Family comes out in October--I'm just throwing that out there, collection development librarians...).  The story here doesn't cross over with the Owls story playing out in the other Batman titles, so I thought that was interesting.  I have to give DC props for introducing the new Joker in a completely terrifying way:  after a brief and bloody confrontation with Batman, the Joker surgically removes his face and leaves it for the police to find.  The Clown Prince himself is absent for the rest of the book (indeed, until his reappearance in Death of the Family), but the mask-like face, enshrined in an evidence locker at police HQ, more than makes up for his disappearance.  The introduction of the Dollmaker as a new villain is also really well done (and every bit as creepy as no-face Joker). 

The last piece of the book follows a slightly different story arc:  Batman goes after the Penguin, who is in the midst of a long con of his own.  The pages play out like Ocean's Eleven, with games within games, all set against a casino backdrop.  There are so many players that it got a little confusing in places, and there are a few points where Batman makes reference to something that happened previously, but that I swear wasn't in this collection.  Overall, though, it was good.  Gritty and hard-boiled, and definitely not for the kids. 

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