Well, this may be the first time I have read comics before the weekend in a while. Batman #14 was a big motivation for that, as my 500+ word thoughts show.
Batman v2 #14
By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Backup by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Jock
The first half of this issue was just weird. I don't know if I am in the wrong frame of mind or this stuff will come back up later, but there are things I just don't get. We are going to dip into more spoilery spoilers here, so you've been double warned. This might be a longer section than usual.
First, when Batman is in the vat of chemicals, Harley says "Maybe you'll be the next one. Like I always thought you would. Maybe you'll come back like he used to be, back then... Beautiful" I'm interpreting this line as Harley thinking that Batman will turn into the next Joker and she can be happy again. Which is crazy, but she is pretty crazy. What I don't get is the "like I always thought you would" this was the first thing that threw me for a loop in this issue. I didn't think it was biting commentary on how Batman is as crazy as the rest of them, I thought it was weird and kind of out of character for her.
Second, When Bruce gets the package from the Joker, he opens it to reveal a cassette. Which he puts in a bag for one panel, and then is standing there in the next panel with no bag and puts it in a tape deck. What was the purpose of the bag? I thought maybe it was an art error. then I thought maybe it was to show that he was just going to take it as evidence, but changed his mind and decided to listen to it, which is weird. For a second I thought maybe he switched it with another tape, but that makes no sense at all considering he then listens to it.
Third, does he pull a gun on Gordon when telling him to get to safety? I can't tell what the hell it's supposed to be from the art, but it looks like he is threatening Gordon with a pistol, which is so insane that I think there has to be something else going on that I'm missing.
Fourth, I sort of get the point of the scene between Nightwing and Batman outside the hospital, but it felt totally off in terms of characterization. As much as Batman is about crushing his emotions he doesn't really fuck around when it comes to Alfred, and he certainly knows that Dick understands how he feels about it. It comes off as just really awkward to read and kind of beating you over the head with Bruce's emotional issues, which continues through the Bat/Tron-Cycle ride to the reservoir.
And then things pick up. I really like that the Joker has Batman's number and has this 'yeah, yeah all that stuff we always do is fun and all, but this is something else.' attitude. And the idea of the Bat-Family making Batman weak is an interesting one. After Morrison spent a few years making Batman realize that he has never really been alone in his crusade, Snyder shows up and has the Joker hate that about Batman. It plays off the idea without erasing or copying it, which is great. I don't know if I like the whole King and Court Jester routine, but maybe it will tie in thematically with the Joker's plans.
Also, I am so tired of the Penguin. Not really the backups fault, but I just sigh when I see him now. I do like the idea of the Backups being the Joker touching base with all the villains, and hinting at some future event.
Batman and Robin v2 #14
By Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
This smells of rewrites. It makes absolutely zero sense for the Joker to be involved in this plot. it seems like this issue was 3/4ths done when Tomasi had to tie it in with Death of the Family. I guess the signs where there all along. Last issue characters could not shut up about how the Joker was back in town, but I just don't buy it. Maybe I hope it's a rewrite, because if this was planned it was just bad.
Demon Knights #14
By Paul Cornell and Bernard Chang