Here Comes Death of the Family

Written on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 by Kyle posted by kyle

After his very successful first story on Batman going against the Court of Owls Scott Snyder has turned his attention to Batman’s greatest foe. The Joker. I’ve taken a special interest in how this all goes since I consider myself something of a fan of the Clown Prince of Crime.

The Joker has fascinated me since I was a 8 and able to see the first Batman movie, and it wasn’t just Jack Nicholson or Mark Hamil later who got me hooked (not that they necessarily hurt either). I’ve got a nice stack of Joker related trades on my shelf and stuck through every major crossover featuring him (I’m looking at you Last Laugh and Emperor Joker) whether I liked them or not. Up until recently I had 2 shelves covered in Joker figures until an incident with a rogue fly a rolled up magazine and a loose shelf screw made me rethink that. The point is that I love me some Joker.

Now as for Scott Snyder, he’s set himself a tall order for what he needs to do here. He’s done a great job starting his run on Batman in the new 52. The court of Owls was a story that showed he knew how to attack Batman right at his core and make him question everything he’s done and everything he’s been. When you also include his time on Detective Comics with the Black Mirror story you have to admit he knows how to build suspense and fear. He also demonstrated an understanding of Gotham and the Batman cast’s assorted histories on The Gates of Gotham miniseries.

Going into the first issue we already have a high bar with a new and popular Batman writer doing a story called ‘Death of the Family’ which harkens back to the classic ‘Death in the Family’ story where then Robin (Jason Todd) is murdered by the Joker. Shortly before that story happened we also have the Killing Joke from Alan Moore (Death in the Family even references how the Joker recently crippled Barbara Gordon). So going on all that Snyder has set for himself to live up to, does the first issue live up to its hype and hope?

Yes. Yes it absolutely does. Here we find a Joker who’s returned to Gotham because he can’t stand how soft Batman’s become. He’s declares that relaying on all his allies has made him soft and Joker is going to remedy that. Even worse (or better for the readers) is that Joker demonstrates that he’s not just going to remove these allies, he’s going to punish them. The opening events call back towards the original Joker stories where he declare his victims on TV but he adds a new twist when instead of killing his targets he poisons and kills every cop protecting them except for commissioner Gordon. Gordon has to watch.

If this is the kind of action we can expect from the rest of this story then I think we might just have the first Joker story in a while that belongs on my and every other comic fans shelf.

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