I’ve made it a bit of a habit to criticize DC’s silly cover choices, and it must be said: that banner does a good job of ruining Jock’s beautiful cover. Speaking of ol’ Jock, I praised him pretty heavily last issue, so I guess I can go back to criticizing his interiors now. He occasionally shows off his brilliant design sense, but most of his actual linework is unimpressive. His highlight here is a double page splash of Batman in the foreground, with a conversation formatting the outsides. However, even that may be more of a demonstration of Dave Baron’s coloring. Baron’s really impressive here, utilizing those lush purples and reds again.
Scott Snyder does an amusing job of working in an education on the real roadrunner into the script. He also has a comical bit involving Dick and Tim. Snyder’s handling of Dick has been unquestionably strong during this run. He’s done his homework (There’s another Year One callback here), and he has good instincts. The only problem I’m seeing with this arc, and perhaps Dick’s entire story during this run, is that the stakes don’t seem all that high. I commend Snyder for introducing us to new villains, and trying to work some good ol’ fashion detective work in, but there’s a moment in this issue where he really tries to sell us on Dick’s impending death, and it just falls flat. How could some petty thug cause Dick’s demise?
All that said, the Joker’s being teased as the crescendo to Snyder’s run, and that guy tends to stack the stakes sky high. So, I could be proved entirely wrong, but at this point, Gordon’s story feels stronger, and the two haven’t intertwined in a wonderful way yet. I’ll definitely be there to find out if they do.