Where the hell is our good buddy, Alfred? Please don't tell me that he's now turned into 'brown bread'! You know that old English expression. The one that has a bold inflection. Implying that someone is 'now dead'. What? You never heard of it before? Then I suggest you ask the cockney creative team of Writers: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV; Artists: Greg Capullo and Jock; plus Publisher: DC Comics in December 2012.

So what’s the STORY morning glory?
Now in this tale entitled 'Funny Bones', I would like to ask you a series of poignant questions. I'd like to determine who has kidnapped Alfred, or who has poisoned Commissioner Gordon. Moreover, I would also like to ascertain what pale-faced b*stard has gripped the people of Gotham City in blind panic due to his sudden presence.

  • But I won't. I don't need to. Do I. You already know that it's the Joker.
  • Nightwing knows this fact as well when Batman tells him sometime later.
  • However, what Dick doesn't know, is that this 'Harlequin of Hate' has discovered the Bat-clan's secret identities, and is now primed and ready to take them down one at a time.

Meanwhile, in the back-up feature, the 'Clown Prince of Crime' talks to the Penguin in a church about the future of crime.

Damn right to be continued...

What is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
By in large the majority of the dialogue in this issue was a blast to read. And, if truth be told, it was rather difficult to pick one snippet out of the bunch that I thought best.

But I did.

I liked that quiet scene where Batman was on his bike in the middle of the pouring rain, musing to himself...

'Don't think about it, Bruce. Don't think about how quiet it is on the road tonight. Quiet because you're supposed to be talking to Alfred right now. It's when you always call him, on the way to battle. If only you didn't let the Joker get him, you'd be calling to tell him the facts of the case, to reassure him your fine. But not really. No. That's what you tell yourself the reason was. But deep down you'd know you'd be calling to hear his voice. To be ress... Stop it. Focus on the case'.

Wow! Very hard-boiled and personal piece in prose, isn't it? And makes you really feel sorry for Bruce too.  

What was the BEST thing about this issue?
For me, the best thing about this story, were the personal incites embedded within it. Like Batman's discussions with Nightwing and Gordon for instance.  Or as I mentioned previously, Bruce's own feelings towards Alfred.

Also, wasn't it a hoot to hear that the Joker has figured out who the 'Bat-gang' really are? However, whilst saying that...

What was the WORST thing about this issue?
... lets hope this doesn't last for too long. It wouldn't feel natural if the Joker knew who Batman really was. Because in essence, it would dilute this 'age old battle' and hinder the longevity of this feud.

OK, I know that Ra's (and maybe the Riddler and Bane) know who Bruce really is. But this kind of works within the scheme of things -- especially with that whole 'honor amongst men' crap they keen on spouting about.

The Joker has no honor though. Any fool can see that.

What was the most CREATIVE thing about this issue?
STORY: There was a defining feeling to dread scattered throughout this issue, which in many ways was like one man's decent into the abyss, spearheaded by another man who's a couple of slices short of a loaf.

Great Job, Scott and James. Both of you're tales were really engaging and engrossing to follow. Please keep it up

ART: Although I hope it's not a permanent fixture, I have to confess, I do like the look of the Jokers 'skinned' face in this tale. To me, it reminds me of a very baroque and avant-garde painting from some drug addled artist. Not really having that clearly defined quality to it, yet looking spooky enough to scare whoever gazes at it sh*tless.

Bravo to the max.

If you had to CAST TWO CHARACTERS in this comic book, who would they be and why?
THE JOKER: Now keeping in-line with the 'comic-slanted' theme I'm adhering to thought-out this month's casting call, I'd say that the versatile funny-man, Hank Azaria, could do 'a Joker' without a breaking a sweat. Don't you?

JIM GORDON: Ever since I saw Martin Mull in the movie 'Clue', I've always wondered why this satirical-sod looks so much like Gotham's well-groomed Commissioner. Maybe they're brothers? 

If this issue had a MOVIE TAG LINE, what would it be?
Always Remember To Keep Your Friends Close, And Your Enemies Locked In A Cage And Buried In A Far Off Land.

If this issue were a MOVIE, an OBJECT, or a piece of MUSIC, what would that be and why?
An analogy jumped into my mind nigh on straight away whilst reading this comic book. Somehow, it just reminded me of seeing a blind man walking down a slippery staircase. Tentative to watch. But ultimately satisfying at the end of it.

FINAL thoughts...
Dear DC Comics

Wow! What the hell are you doing to me you bunch of evil b*stards? For the last year or so, 'Batman' has gotten better and better and better by the issue, making it very difficult for me to critique at times. I want to say that 'It's not like the good old days. Or that 'Bob Kane and Bill Finger would be doing the splits if they saw what you were doing with their creation'. But I can't. No way. This book is just great.

However, I would like to impart a bit of advice if that's OK with you? Don't get complacent. Don't get stale. Try to encourage your creators to speak with their own voices. And allow them to leave when they've had enough.

Well, let's face it! I'm sure Snyder and Gregg will go onto pastures new one day. I just hope that whoever takes their place isn't impeded by their great-great work though.

Love, Light, and Peace -- The Reviewer

MARKS out of 10? 9.2

The new Batman Vs Superman movie comes out very soon, make sure you watch the trailer and then get your tickets booked, its going to be a great movie.