Patrick: Joker is one of those characters that resists definition. In fact, we often use that lack of definition as a defining trait. I’m going to do a disservice to whoever made this observation — because I can’t remember where I first encountered it — but the most terrifying thing about Joker is that you never know whether he’s going to murder a child or throw a pie in Batman’s face. Arguably, the only thing that motivates the character is the desire to be a good Batman villain. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have played with this idea before — the Death of the Family even had Joker buying into the importance of their “relationship” — but this latest arc in Batman seems poised to establish Joker as something else entirely. He’s not a instrument of random, but intriguing, chaos, and he’s not in love with Batman. No: he’s Batman’s nemesis, and that means that he’s a sort of anti-detective, setting up mysteries that Batman cannot solve, corrupting superheroes and putting everyone’s lives in danger in the process. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Scott are discussing Batman Annual 2, originally released July 31st, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: In what seems like a parallel universe now, I was once a Psychology student. I learned a lot about how the body and mind interact, and how Psychology impacts our lives every day without us ever even realizing it. One of the lessons that stuck with me was about a study conducted by a group of very brave Psychologists. They wanted to check to see how patients in mental hospitals were treated, so they decided to commit themselves voluntarily to find out first hand. What they discovered truly saddened me. It seems that, for the most part, the patients were completely ignored by hospital staff. Well, the quiet patients anyway. The Psychologists learned that if patients wished to get any attention at all from hospital staff, they would need to learn to start acting up. In other words, they’d need to dial up the “crazy.” I’m not sure if the writers of this Batman Annual are aware of that story, but it seems they have just given voice to a controversy that surrounds mental hospitals to this day. Continue reading