He had the face 'off' for a year and when he initially came back (before stealing it), and his initial actions weren't 'traditional Joker'. Once the face was back in place he 'returned' to his previously established MO but with added 'twists' (the frowns instead of the smiles, targeting the 'would-be poisoned' before unleashing the poison). The face was put back in place in order to reaffirm that it was 'him', because although the actions were all his he still needed recognition from the 'king', the 'family', the 'court' and the 'people'.Past stories never suggested that the thought of being confronted with his true identity would give Joker a hernia. Before you might have just thought he'd shrug it off or not even be able to recognize it. He talks about removing his face to prove that he is the same underneath, and yet he never actually takes his "mask" off.
There have been allusions to this way of thinking on several occasions prior to Snyder taking the helm.The story also gave an alternative superstitious reason for why Bats doesn't kill the Joker. Snyder's been building up Gotham in to being this breathing, alive, (evil?) city, so Bats having this weird thought about the city creating this perfect adversary to challenge and torment him, fits in with Snyder's myth building, and other past stories (ie. Gotham seems to be a really good place to summon demons).
This is where the story fell flat for me - Bruce's reasoning for not telling them how he knew what he knew actually (to me) establishes that he doubted the veracity of his own conclusions. He didn't even bother taking a moment to explain to the others what he did to make sure that the Joker hadn't been in the cave. Instead, he shows them a supersized version of the card and tells them, basically, 'the little calling card bugged me so I made a big one as a reminder...'.I also think this story, more than any other, really showed how in tune Batman and Joker are. I mean, who didn't think Bats was totally off his rocker when he insisted that Joker couldn't have been in the batcave and didn't know their identities? We all thought he was one arrogant, naive, dumbaSS SOB. It was like CoO all over again. But he turned out to be totally right!! The owl dudes, he didn't know sh't, but Joker, he knew, he kneeeeewww. ANd I think the fact that he knows Joker so well really creeps the Batclan out, and is another source of alienation for them besides Bruce's lies and mistrust.
All it would have taken was a few moments - a few moments to explain what had happened and how he knew the Joker had to have let go. The hardest bit, of course, would have been to tell them that he tried to announce himself to the Joker but, as I said above, that could easily have been passed off as 'disguised as Bruce Wayne', much like he is sometimes 'disguised as Matches Mallone'.
Of course, the reassurance they would have had through Bruce telling them would have meant that they weren't all panicky and 'omigosh, he knows who I really am' when they were confronting him, and the intended narrative would have fallen apart...
And yet, 'it' was still standing. His attempt and driving them to kill themselves failed, and although Snyder forced a situation where they all shunned Bruce (in reality, they're shunning Alfred - poor guy), the walls are merely battered and smoky rather than 'rubble'.And you know this story showed that Joker actually learned something from past events and adapted. He didn't just start hating the batfamily. He killed them, he maimed them. They were still there. They even got bigger. So instead of an assault on the city walls, he snuck in on the Trojan horse and let the whole thing crumble from within.