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Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family (The New 52)

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After having his face sliced off, The Joker makes his horrifying return to Gotham City! But even for a man who’s committed a lifetime of murder, he’s more dangerous than ever before. How can Batman protect his city and those he’s closest to?


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After having his face sliced off, The Joker makes his horrifying return to Gotham City! But even for a man who’s committed a lifetime of murder, he’s more dangerous than ever before. How can Batman protect his city and those he’s closest to?

30 review for Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family (The New 52)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jayson

    (A) 86% | Extraordinary Notes: A kaleidoscope of chills and jitters, operatic dread, where Joker is feral, festering, faceless terror: pestilence incarnate.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Disappointing joke… on us, the readers. This collected edition features #13-17 from the comic book “Batman”, along with backup related stories. Creative Team: Writers: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV Illustrators: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion & Jock WILL THE BATMAN’S ARCH-VILLAIN PLEASE STAND UP? Maybe it can be shocking to some people to know that The Joker wasn’t always the most popular villain in DC Comics. In fact, The Joker had several years without appearing in Batman & Detective Comi Disappointing joke… on us, the readers. This collected edition features #13-17 from the comic book “Batman”, along with backup related stories. Creative Team: Writers: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV Illustrators: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion & Jock WILL THE BATMAN’S ARCH-VILLAIN PLEASE STAND UP? Maybe it can be shocking to some people to know that The Joker wasn’t always the most popular villain in DC Comics. In fact, The Joker had several years without appearing in Batman & Detective Comics until the good ol’ Batman 66’ TV Series came up. People without knowledge of history can talk trash about the campy mood of the TV series, even DC Comics tried to tell that that TV series ruined Batman for many years… …BUT… …what some people don’t know is that precisely that campy TV series saved Batman & Detective Comics from being cancelled. In the 60’s, those Bat-Titles were selling so bad that DC Comics seriously thought of cancelling them. However, the hype caused by that campy TV series brought readers again to the comics saving them from disappearing. Even the allegation from DC Comics that the TV series due its campy mood was ruining the character is illogical since precisely DC Comics was using Batman in also campy stories like “The Batman of Planet X” or “The Rainbow Batman” and craps similar to those. So, if the TV series is any guilty of anything is just of translating correctly from the comic books to television what Batman comic books were doing at that moment, even some TV episodes were adaptations of some stories taken from the comic books. Also thanks to the 66´ TV series was created Batgirl Barbara Gordon as a project done in collaboration by the production’s team of the TV series and DC Comics’ staff. At the beginning of the TV series was thought that The Riddler would be the main arch-villain, since obviously he was the closer thing to an intellectual match for Batman, and because of that, The Riddler was the first villain to be used on the pilot episode. But during the first season, the charismatic performance by Burgess Meredith as The Penguin made him so popular that he was the “unnamed leader” of the four villains in the motion picture produced in the middle of first and second season (the goons were of his personal gang and he was the owner of the submarine). In any case, it’s clear that the motion picture was the key vehicle to elevate The Penguin, The Riddler, The Catwoman and The Joker as the four main villains of Batman in the minds of general audience (just think that in the Burton’s era, they were the first four villains to be portraited. Recently, at the beginning of Gotham’s second season you have those four villains (sort of) again, all present for a time, in the cast). But in the 60’s, The Joker was still far from being the most popular villain (just think that in the motion picture, he barely was let to carry the tea to the commodore, even the Riddler was able to fire ICBMs) but thanks to the brilliant performance of Cesar Romero, The Joker was gaining more and more appearances in the TV series, allowing to set the terrain for the idea in the 70s, by Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil, to bring back The Joker to the comics in a big way. And certainly he became so popular in the 70s that he got even his own comic book series, with a brief publication life, but certainly the first villain to get his own comic book title. However, the 70s also introduced new villains like Ra’s al Ghul that complicated to The Joker to get the number one slot as most popular (and deadlier) villain in DC Comics. WHEN THE JOKER USED TO BE BAD IN A GOOD WAY And then, the 1989’s Batman movie came up, but it’s clear (at least to me now) that Warner and DC Comics needed to establish The Joker as the Big Bad Criminal to justify why he would be the “special guest villain” in the film, so… …The Killing Joke and A Death in the Family were published. BANG! CLANK!! KAPOW!!! Just think, that those two key stories, written by masters such as Alan Moore and Jim Starling, focused on The Joker, were published between 1988 and earlies 1989, just in time to rise up The Joker, before the premiere in June 1989, of Burton’s Batman film, getting his undisputable spot as the most popular villain not only of Batman but the entire DC Comics, the Clown Prince of Crime was ruling, totally justifying why he was the selected main villain for the blockbuster movie. The Joker then was the deadlier villain of DC Comics, not even Deathstroke, the Terminator, was able to kill and/or crippling any major DC character as The Joker was able to do in those two key storylines. AND THEN THEY JUST RUINED IT The Joker was the without a question the biggest villain in DC Comics due his cruel acts against major DC characters. BUT… …for some unexplicable reason, they just “undone” (thanks to those never-ending rebooting universes events) the biggest triumphs of The Joker. Dead people were alive once more. Paralytic ones were walking again. That works in The New Testament, but not with The Joker. It was like: “Hey! We have the most popular comic books’ villain, but we will take back the biggest bad things that he did, that made him to gain that title.” Well, to me, it was just a VERY DUMB move. He is a villain. He is a crazy psychopath. He is supposed to do nasty things to relevant characters leaving permanent damage. And sadly, you won’t get that in this volume. GOOD IDEA, PUSILLANIMOUS EXPLOIT Seriously, after 25 years, the best “original” title for the storyline that they can came up was Death of the Family? I can’t argue that due the plot in this particular storyline was a valid title, but hey folks! We had already a memorable storyline called A Death in the Family, so, sorry folks! That title or any variation of the words are “a ship that already sailed”, please employ your neurons and came up with a really original title. Of course, taking in account that this “original title”, Death of the Family, didn’t “live up” (pun intended) to its raw meaning, I guess that it doesn’t really matter what title would be selected to the spineless storyarc. A poor thing was that concept of cutting off the face of The Joker and now he needs to attach it to his head with belts. It’s an unnecesary theft from the movie character “Leatherface” (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and even you may think about “Dr. Hannibal Lecter” due certain scene in Silence of the Lambs, but you don’t need all that! HE IS THE JOKER!!! He doesn’t need to steal the look of another characters to remain cool and scary. Maybe one of the saddest things about this storyline is that they indeed have a good idea. The Joker is worried about The Batman that he became “too soft”, “too slow”, due that now he has a “family” (Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood) to rely on. The Joker thinks that Batman needs to be again the lonely crusader of his dark origins where he hadn’t anybody to help him. So, the “family” has to go. Not even good ol’ Alfred is safe. A valid point. A good idea to develop. However, it seems that Scott Snyder hasn’t the balls that Alan Moore or Jim Starlin have. And don’t take me wrong, Scott Snyder is a brilliant writer with good ideas, superb narrative style, but if you are going to use The Joker, the gloves have to go, morals have to go, there must be consequences, there must be scars, there must be blood, and not any blood, but major relevant blood. If you aren’t up to the challenge to use The Joker as he needs to be used, please go and choose another villain from that vast rogue gallery. Because you are teased along the whole narrative of all those nasty bloody things that The Joker could do, but noooooooo, they haven’t the balls to walk the whole journey to its most unholy endings. The storyline implies that The Joker impacted at some level to the characters, that things change, that the Bat-Team’s chemistry was severed, but honestly I think that that’s a very weak attempt to fool readers about it. Since nothing about The Joker can be felt as weak, he is a smashing blow in your head, he is a afflictive shot in your spine, he is a permanent painful reminder in your body or soul, HE IS THE JOKER. In the worst case scenario, at least, don’t choose the wrong title to a storyline that doesn’t match the most basic expectations. BUT NOT ALL IS WRONG HERE To be fair, the story pointed out some very interesting angles. While Batman vainly tries to explain things to his team, they just don’t believe him, but any single tiny thing that Joker says is believed beyond question. OK, Bruce Wayne isn’t entirely mentally sane (he likes to dress as a bat to beat up to pulp criminals at night) but you can trust that he is enough in control of his mind to believe his explanations about certain situation, but his must trusted allies just don’t believe him and they instead believe in the words of a certified loony case. Another interesting situation is that it’s clear that Batman is always at edge when it’s about The Joker. Batman doesn’t want to involve his team (or even Commisioner Gordon) in his personal battle against The Joker. Because, everybody knows that anything is possible with The Joker. And I think that a brilliant point that you can find if you can read between the lines, it’s that in certain level, Batman needs to believe that The Joker isn’t just a man, because if The Joker resulted just a man at the end… …then Batman is just a man too. And Gotham City can’t be saved by just a man. It’s an impossible task for just a man. Batman needs think of himself as more than just a man. Therefore, in certain twisted way, The Joker, his most lethal nemesis, also needs to be more than a man. Because if The Joker isn’t, then why is Batman’s most dangerous menace? Other topic developed here and an eternal question to many fans is: “Why Batman just doesn’t kill The Joker?” Because, certainly no one is safe while The Joker is still alive. I think that it’s all about an escalation thing. I mean, first was cops vs mobsters, then Batman got in, and mobsters escalated to super-villains, introducing The Joker to the scenario. If Batman removes The Joker from the equation, it’s only natural to think that a new escalation will happen, something deadlier than The Joker will take his position. So, again, in a twisted way, Batman needs The Joker alive to avoid the menace of having to deal with something even more dangerous than The Joker. Welcome to madness. Welcome to Gotham City.

  3. 5 out of 5

    MischaS_

    To byla bomba! <3 To byla bomba! <3

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    When I reviewed the Batman: Court of Owls collection, I noted that while I liked what Scott Snyder did with the character, that I wished he’d turn his attention to some of the classic bat-foes like the Joker. Be careful what you ask for because Snyder just might deliver and creep the living bejesus out of you with it. After a year long absence from Gotham the Joker returns crazier and more homicidal than ever. Just how crazy? Well, his face got sliced off and he now wears it stapled to his head li When I reviewed the Batman: Court of Owls collection, I noted that while I liked what Scott Snyder did with the character, that I wished he’d turn his attention to some of the classic bat-foes like the Joker. Be careful what you ask for because Snyder just might deliver and creep the living bejesus out of you with it. After a year long absence from Gotham the Joker returns crazier and more homicidal than ever. Just how crazy? Well, his face got sliced off and he now wears it stapled to his head like a mask. How homicidal? His opening move is walking into a Gotham police station and killing multiple cops while taunting Commissioner Gordon. As Batman tries to find him Joker leaves a trail of clues and traps that run through his earliest crimes and culminate with a threat to all of the Bat-family including Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, and Batgirl. (Yeah, I know that Jason Todd is in there as Red Hood, but I like to keep pretending that he’s still dead.) With the Joker saying that he knows their real identities Batman tries to reassure the others that it’s all a mind game, but that claim starts to look hollow as the attacks hit closer to home. The story asks some of the enduring questions that come up between the two. Why does the Joker take such delight in death and destruction? Why does Batman hold to the vow of not killing Joker despite the fact he could have saved countless lives by doing so? Is there some kind of bond between the two arch-enemies? And the biggest mystery of them all, who is the Joker? With callbacks to other Joker stories and bits of Batman lore as well as one of the darkest and most violent schemes since the The Killing Joke, Snyder has delivered an instant classic that will probably go down as one of the great Batman tales. Also posted at Leafmarks

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    Let’s review key levels of crazy, shall we? 1) Quirky (e.g., likes to put peanut butter on a hamburger) 2) Mildly OCD (e.g, can only step onto the first step of a staircase, off of a curb, etc., with one’s left foot, never with the right…not that I know anyone with that problem…ahem) 3) Might Need Some Counseling (e.g., talks to an imaginary friend, possibly an anthropomorphic aardvark, while defecating in a public space) 4) [email protected] Insane (e.g., the Joker in this installment of Batman, at least in Let’s review key levels of crazy, shall we? 1) Quirky (e.g., likes to put peanut butter on a hamburger) 2) Mildly OCD (e.g, can only step onto the first step of a staircase, off of a curb, etc., with one’s left foot, never with the right…not that I know anyone with that problem…ahem) 3) Might Need Some Counseling (e.g., talks to an imaginary friend, possibly an anthropomorphic aardvark, while defecating in a public space) 4) [email protected] Insane (e.g., the Joker in this installment of Batman, at least in part because he is using rubber bands to reattach his severed face and seems to find that fact delightful) 5) Are You F*cking Kidding Me? (e.g., planning to vote for Donald Trump) I haven’t read every Joker story ever (in fact, I’ve only read a few), and you have to contextualize Joker’s level of crazy with the era in which the story is written (e.g., lunatic-level Joker behavior in the 1970s would seem like mild-mannered shenanigans by today’s standards), but this particular tale is replete with just the right level of scarily crazy behavior. It’s repulsively reprehensible, which makes it a pretty note-perfect Joker story. Batman aficionados: what seminal Joker stories should I read (beyond The Killing Joke, which I’ve read)? Input and suggestions welcome and appreciated!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    After disappearing for a year, the Joker returns with a vengeance, striking at Batman where it hurts the most: his family! Can Batman stop the Joker from murdering his friends and family without killing him? I got this from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley! Here we are again, another phenomenal Batman tale from Scott Snyder. This time, he utilizes an old Bat-foe, The Joker, and sets him against the Bat-family. How does he do? Snyder passes with flying colors. Death of the Family is the best Joker st After disappearing for a year, the Joker returns with a vengeance, striking at Batman where it hurts the most: his family! Can Batman stop the Joker from murdering his friends and family without killing him? I got this from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley! Here we are again, another phenomenal Batman tale from Scott Snyder. This time, he utilizes an old Bat-foe, The Joker, and sets him against the Bat-family. How does he do? Snyder passes with flying colors. Death of the Family is the best Joker story since The Killing Joke. The Joker hits Batman where he lives, taking out Commissioner Gordon and Alfred with relative ease and sowing the seeds of mistrust within the Bat-family. Snyder did his homework on this one, referencing some early Batman tales and bringing in A-list Batman villains to help, namely Penguin, Two-Face, and the Riddler. I was hoping he'd bring in Catwoman and we'd get an homage to the 60's Batman movie where he had a shark hanging from his leg but we can't have everything. The Joker was a very chilling villain in this volume, capable of taking out members of the GCPD in the police station without seeming like a super hero. There's a fair amount of psychological horror in this one and at the end, it's hard to shake the feeling that the Joker did what he set out to do, to sow discord between Batman and his extended family. The art and writing were superb. Capullo has come a long way since X-Force days and Snyder is still the lone comic writer on my must read list. Four out of five stars. Bat-fans will not want to miss.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Creepy, well-written, amazing... Not sure what I can say that other reviewer's haven't already said? In the future, I think this one will definitely be considered required reading for fans of Batman. Go get it! Creepy, well-written, amazing... Not sure what I can say that other reviewer's haven't already said? In the future, I think this one will definitely be considered required reading for fans of Batman. Go get it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Wow, Snyder was really swinging for the fences on this one wasn’t he? (Harp plays, dream sequence graphics) “Scott, the Joker’s coming back and you’re writing his return!” “Fantastic! I’m gonna write the hell out of this!” “Right, so it’s gotta be big, got that? He’s a Big Deal, he’s our best villain, he’s partly why Batman’s so damn popular, and the fans adore him even though he’s a stone cold psycho” “OK, OK, so we’re talking epic, big entrance, big story, big scenes” “The whole shebang, Scott, thr Wow, Snyder was really swinging for the fences on this one wasn’t he? (Harp plays, dream sequence graphics) “Scott, the Joker’s coming back and you’re writing his return!” “Fantastic! I’m gonna write the hell out of this!” “Right, so it’s gotta be big, got that? He’s a Big Deal, he’s our best villain, he’s partly why Batman’s so damn popular, and the fans adore him even though he’s a stone cold psycho” “OK, OK, so we’re talking epic, big entrance, big story, big scenes” “The whole shebang, Scott, throw the whole damn kitchen sink into this one” (Scribbling furiously in his notebook) “I think I’ve got it. How about a Joker story…” “Yeah…” “... that features EVERY great Joker story. The title will even reference the book where he killed Robin” “I love it! Get going, you and Greg are gonna make a classic, I can feel it!” “Will do, Chief! (Scott puts on his best Columbo impression) Just one last thing though: why did Joker remove his face in the first place?” “...” (Dream sequence fades out as the DC Editors stare dead eyed as Snyder backs away to the door) In the first issue of New 52 Detective Comics Joker breaks out of Arkham and has his face removed by Dollmaker who hangs it in Joker’s cell. That was the last we saw of Joker for over a year. In Death of the Family, Joker returns with a pretty big bombshell - he knows the secret identities of everyone in the Bat family. Not only that but he resents the Bat family and preferred the days when Batman was a solo act, so he’s going to kill them all so it can be like the old days, just him and Bats, together at last. Lock the gates on the kingdom of madness and let the massacre of the innocents begin! Scott Snyder by now has shown just how deeply he understands Batman. This guy has done absolute wonders with the character since he got put on writing the backups of Detective Comics and then got bumped up to the main title. His New 52 stuff with Greg Capullo is damn near flawless, introducing a whole new gang of villains, the Court of Owls, and if, like me, you’re reading the current monthlies, you’ll be eating up the Zero Year storyline like Deadpool gobbles up chimichangas. This dude can write, he has some big stories to tell and he is chocabloc with original new ideas on old characters. This is decidedly a Joker book - and if my proselytizing thus far hasn’t hipped you otherwise, I think Death of the Family is one of the best Joker books ever written - and Snyder comes to the table with all kinds of strange, brilliant ideas about the Joker. He frames Batman and Joker’s relationship, through Joker’s eyes, as a sick bromance, the Joker believing he is doing all that he does out of a shared closeness with Batman, and Death of the Family comes off at times like a hideous love story, or like a Dark King and his most trusted advisor, the Fool. If you’ve ever wondered why Batman doesn’t simply kill Joker, because he’s irredeemable and will surely continue killing ad infinitum, Snyder answers this both from Batman and Joker’s perspectives, with both arriving at the same startling conclusion (in separate scenes). There’s also a simply amazing scene at the end that answers the other question you might have with this book which is why Joker doesn’t attempt to find out who Batman is, rather than just the Bat family, that is something I don’t think I’ve seen in a Joker story before and adds another degree of insanity to Joker’s psyche. And bravo to Greg Capullo for the whole book really but that one panel where Joker looks to the side in that scene and we glimpse the look in his eyes? Wow. Utterly chilling, and does complete justice to Snyder’s idea. Thematically, this is a story of identity, not just the identities of the Bat family which are at stake, but also Joker’s identity, Batman’s identity, and Gotham’s identity. Despite my snide (yuk yuk) imaginary conversation at the start of the review, I can hazard an interpretation for why Joker’s face was removed, namely as a heavy handed metaphor for change and Joker’s new look in the New 52 (a reboot itself). That factors into the Joker of this book who, in his time away, has undergone radical changes to his personality to the point where even his devoted sycophant groupie, Harley Quinn, is terrified of what Joker’s become. Joker has changed and become even more monstrous and cunning in his time away. We learn just how intricate his plans have been as the story goes on, but first: his entrance. It’s pretty damn amazing. In overalls, he shows up at GCPD headquarters in the doorway, his head cloaked in shadow, his figure recognisable just long enough for Gordon to see him - and then the lights go out. Chaos ensues as necks start breaking and laughter echoes in the darkness before the lights turn back on, Batman arrives, and he and Gordon are surrounded by dead policemen with Joker’s face missing. From there, Snyder takes us on a whirlwind tour of Batman and Joker’s greatest hits - the ACE Chemicals Factory from Killing Joke (and the 1989 Batman movie), to Gotham Reservoir from The Man Who Laughs, to Arkham Asylum and culminating in the caves beneath Wayne Manor. Each scene is amazing for different reasons as he utilises his classic Joker toxin, to henchmen with rocket launchers, to some straight up Hannibal Lector insanity in Arkham, and a kind of Sophie’s Choice ending. These are the features of Batman and Joker’s relationship. One last note about identity and, though it concerns the ending it’s not a spoiler, but Batman defeats Joker with the threat of identity and a bluff trumps a bluff. I won’t say anymore, I just wanted to acknowledge the genius of the ending. Which brings me to some critiques of the book. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, I’ve read it several times now and it’s amazing every time, and though there are some things about the book I didn’t like per se, they’re not nearly problematic enough to make me dislike it. It’s like Nolan’s The Dark Knight; it has some issues but the whole is so damn impressive that you can’t help but love it. Joker’s face - now, even if you take the origin of Joker as that in The Killing Joke where an ordinary man falls into a vat of acid and has his hair turned green and his skin turned white, it’s still human skin. Acidically changed, yes, but still human skin. It’s been lifted off of his face for over a year - and yet still its malleable enough to retain the shape of Joker’s face and hasn’t dried out!? How Joker’s survived so long without skin covering his face is bizarre enough, but I guess that’s the character. But when he gets it back, he puts a strap on it and wears it like a party mask! He doesn’t even try getting Dollmaker to stitch it back on, which presumably Dollmaker could do given his skill shown in this book, instead opting for a weird mask look. Anyway, that’s the last I’m going to mention Joker’s face, it just annoys me is all. Joker is far too powerful in this book - Joker manages to do everything right in this book to an uncanny degree. He’s going up against Batman, a man who once prepared for his own mind to be wiped by creating a backup Batman identity in his own brain (granted this was pre-New 52, but still) - Batman is no idiot, he is insanely prepared for every eventuality, but can’t seem to catch Joker and stay with him, or ahead of him, in this book. In every scene I mentioned earlier, Batman’s at a disadvantage, even right at the end at the dinner scene - Joker is incredibly prepared to an insane degree that it’s too uncanny, he’s too good. I do know why Snyder chose to do this, because his ideas about the character and his relationship with Batman won’t play out and won’t work unless Joker is superhumanly prepared in every instance, and has managed to concoct ridiculously elaborate setups. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but in no other book, ever, is Joker quite so infallible than he is in Death of the Family, and that bugged me a bit. The unpleasantness of it all - Snyder’s background is horror. He created American Vampire, his big break in comics, he wrote an amazing and underrated book with Scott Tuft called Severed about a serial killing cannibal who targets kids, and he’s currently writing The Wake, an underwater horror story starring murderous mermaids. His entire work with Batman could also be called horror and it’s arguably why he’s been so successful with the character - Batman is a figure rooted in horror, whose entire appearance is aimed toward instilling fear. But did we need to see that scene in Arkham? The tapestry scene. It’s very unpleasant and involves Dollmaker. Does Joker’s face need to be peeling off and held on by straps so we get peeks at his raw flesh beneath? Or that church scene? Over-the-top gruesomeness isn’t something that’s going to bother everyone but I feel Snyder, in his effort to go really, really big on his Joker story, went a bit overboard with the gore and unpleasantness that surrounds the character. Parents thinking of buying this for your kids: warning, this is definitely not a kids’ book. I’d say the audience would be 15 and over at least. Also, there’s this weird panel where Joker yells at Batman to “sit his ass down” and “ass” is censored - so they can show that tapestry scene in a comic but not the word “ass”? What a strange rule! Those are my complaints and really they’re negligible at best when considering the scope of this story. The title of the book is both in keeping with Snyder’s referencing of Batman/Joker stories but is also about the story itself and the resolution. There’s even a reference to Joker’s first victim from way back in 1940 - it’s such a layered, incredibly detailed book, from soup to nuts, that you can’t help but give it to Snyder. He really went for it in this one and he really pulled it off. So before we close up, let’s talk about Greg Capullo. Who honestly would’ve thought a Spawn artist would be the perfect guy to draw Batman? Snyder apparently, and it was an inspired choice because Capullo is the man. The way he frames the scenes is perfect, from the GCPD HQ scene, to the Gotham Reservoir scene to the finale that riffs on the detective angle and feels like Holmes/Moriarty’s last bow over the Reichenbach Falls - he knows how to frame a scene, he knows how best to present it, and he can draw like a god. Individual pages that stuck out for me was the one where Batman is sat atop a horse (that he just punched!) looking like a chess piece that was so beautiful, and the faux-Sword in the Stone scene in Arkham was mesmerising. Batman: Death of the Family is a fantastic Joker story and easily ranks among the character’s best books, not to mention that it’s yet another triumphant feather in the cap for the finest creative team at DC right now, Snyder/Capullo, whose run on this series will surely go down as one of the greatest runs on any comic book character ever. The book ends the only way it can with Batman defeating Joker – but, brilliantly, Joker still has the last laugh. Look at Batman’s expression on the last page as he realises that after everything, Joker actually won right at the end. Ha. Ha. Ha…

  9. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    I have to say, I hate the cover of this volume. It is wicked gross. I hate the whole idea of someone ripping their face off. This was a new kind of twisted. It was a very sick story. The story is very well written and well told. Joker is at his utmost crazy in this story. I don't think he can come back from this. The whole bat family shows up in this one and all of them are brutalized by the Joker. Joker psychologically assaults them all leaving deep scars. I must say that I enjoyed the story abo I have to say, I hate the cover of this volume. It is wicked gross. I hate the whole idea of someone ripping their face off. This was a new kind of twisted. It was a very sick story. The story is very well written and well told. Joker is at his utmost crazy in this story. I don't think he can come back from this. The whole bat family shows up in this one and all of them are brutalized by the Joker. Joker psychologically assaults them all leaving deep scars. I must say that I enjoyed the story about the Court of Owls much better, but I have to give this twisted story it's due. It was an intense experience. It's a story that is brutal. I don't particularly enjoy brutal anymore, but I can appreciate the story told. I hope the next one is less demented and more enjoyable.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    I feel like there's a very good chance that Death of the Family will one day be remembered as a classic, one of the great Joker stories. Maybe even one of the great Batman stories. Snyder's Joker is as terrifying as ever, more frightening even than many writers manage. And yet he hasn't lost his twisted sense of humor, or his love of chaos and symbol. Calculating and unpredictable. It's perfect. And Joker's goal, to drive a wedge between Batman and his extended family, makes complete sense. The r I feel like there's a very good chance that Death of the Family will one day be remembered as a classic, one of the great Joker stories. Maybe even one of the great Batman stories. Snyder's Joker is as terrifying as ever, more frightening even than many writers manage. And yet he hasn't lost his twisted sense of humor, or his love of chaos and symbol. Calculating and unpredictable. It's perfect. And Joker's goal, to drive a wedge between Batman and his extended family, makes complete sense. The relationship between the two of them has been built to epic proportions, and nobody believes that more than Joker himself. Of course he wants to get rid of the extraneous elements. And he understands Batman just enough to come up with a workable plan. Snyder is really at the top of his Batman game here. Fairly light on continuity, so that even casual readers can enjoy themselves without confusion. Guest stars that work, that make sense. A good half dozen chilling, memorable scenes. Harley's meeting with Joker will make my skin crawl for months to come. Tangible, sky-high stakes. A sense that this really might not work out after all. And best of all, an ending that I really didn't see coming, with questions I couldn't begin to answer. Quite simply, this is an excellent book. Even if you've been avoiding the rest of New 52, or have drifted away, this is well worth a read. For fans of Batman, and Joker fans in particular, this is a must read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    One of my favorite Batman comics.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    i don’t like this Joker. what a sadistic little shit, my god.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael Britt

    The Joker is one of the most interesting villains I've come across. Any time I read his parts I read them in Mark Hamill's voice. I love how dark and twisted this one was. I mean, how much darker can it get than Joker coming and stealing his face back after he let it be cut off and left it for the GCPD? The story was great and the artwork was amazing. My only complaint is the same as with the Berserk mangas: the stories are so short. But that's to be expected with comics. The Joker is one of the most interesting villains I've come across. Any time I read his parts I read them in Mark Hamill's voice. I love how dark and twisted this one was. I mean, how much darker can it get than Joker coming and stealing his face back after he let it be cut off and left it for the GCPD? The story was great and the artwork was amazing. My only complaint is the same as with the Berserk mangas: the stories are so short. But that's to be expected with comics.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    rating: 5 stars this shit is intense. and i fucking love it. this, right here, is one of the many reasons why i read comic books. death of the family got me at the edge of my seat the entire time. it got me so hyped up i was turning the pages like there was no tomorrow. this volume's main focus is batman's relationship with the joker as well as the rest of the bat family. the joker. what a sick fucking bastard. i could talk about him all day. the joker is most fascinating villain i have ever come a rating: 5 stars this shit is intense. and i fucking love it. this, right here, is one of the many reasons why i read comic books. death of the family got me at the edge of my seat the entire time. it got me so hyped up i was turning the pages like there was no tomorrow. this volume's main focus is batman's relationship with the joker as well as the rest of the bat family. the joker. what a sick fucking bastard. i could talk about him all day. the joker is most fascinating villain i have ever come across. the way he talks. the way he thinks. the actions he takes. each and every one of them is a surprise. you do not really know what he has up his sleeve. and he got batman fucking bad in this. so fucking bad. long story short: the joker's back and he is out to create chaos. batman would stop at nothing to catch him and put him back where he belongs. but the joker's agenda is not to bring turmoil to gotham city. his purpose of coming back was to make sure batman does not forget who he really is. thoughts: - this shit was disturbing as hell. - after reading a court of owls, scott snyder easily became my favorite batman writer. he understands who batman is. he understands who bruce wayne is. similarly, he understand how to handle the villains, too. - i want to talk about batman, but i think it's important we talk about the joker first. the joker. holy shit. this dude is one sick, twisted, sadistic motherfucker. we all know this dude is crazy. however, he is crazy with a purpose. his sole purpose on coming back to gotham was to make sure batman knows that he was changing - the joker doesn't like it. snyder does an amazing job showing us why the joker is batman's most formidable foe. - because of the things that happened in batman's past (which we all know about), he tends to be a bit more careful now with the people he care about, to the point that he might be putting them more at risk than protecting them. this was something he learned the hard way here. while he thinks it is for the best interest of the others that he try to haunt down the joker himself, this backfired on him. instead of keeping them safe, it put them in even more danger. - the reason why the joker and batman works so well is because they understand each other. years of facing off with the joker, familiarized batman with how the joker acts and thinks. this could also be said for the joker. they play off each other so well. the question also came up, why doesn't batman just kill him off if he was so devastating to society? why does he allow the joker to continue wreaking havoc? - the title itself is a big indicator of what the story could be about. the joker wants to destroy the bat family. did he succeed? that's for you to find out. - the joker has a number of origin stories. i don't think it is revealed yet, who this joker is in this run. but it seems like batman already know. he whispered it. didn't even bother to tell us about it. wtf. - the joker did a lot of shitty things here. but one of the things that bothered me the most was how badly he treated harley. i know their relationship is already abusive from the get go. this has already been established in previous iterations of this couple. it's just that, seeing how the joker treats her here, made my stomach churn. it made me fucking sick. i guess it's because in some way, i know there are women out there who are being treated the exact same way, which is what makes this 10 times more bothering than anything else he's done in this. - let's not forget about greg capullo's amazing artwork as well as the other artists who contributed to this volume. i am in love with how they draw the characters as well as gotham. and the joker's face - i have no words. overall thoughts: wow. snyder and capullo never failed me - so far at least. i'll be continuing on with this run, no doubt about it. i'll have to say, if you're a batman fan, this is a title i would highly recommend reading.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cheese

    I've still not been disappointed by Snyder, but this Batman run is just something else. This was incredible! The Joker, the ultimate villain across all comics, known to everyone. Joker's opposite....Batman? I really love what Snyder does here with joker and his relationship with Bats. I thought "how can you bring the joker back convincingly and create an original story that hasn't been done before?", well that's it isn't it? That's the answer, do what was done before but put a "sick twisted joke" I've still not been disappointed by Snyder, but this Batman run is just something else. This was incredible! The Joker, the ultimate villain across all comics, known to everyone. Joker's opposite....Batman? I really love what Snyder does here with joker and his relationship with Bats. I thought "how can you bring the joker back convincingly and create an original story that hasn't been done before?", well that's it isn't it? That's the answer, do what was done before but put a "sick twisted joke" in it. Twist it. Just like the joker would. I really think Snyder gets their relationship. I kind of look at Snyder himself as a detective/ strategist, because the way he writes Batman is in my opinion (from what Batman I've read, and I've read all the classics) is the best I've ever seen. He looks ten moves ahead and plans everything to the smallest detail and I adore the psychological aspect. Batman sees love in his eyes....wow! Just when you think it's over, when you think you can't be tricked anymore, or you think there are no more twists he drops the mother load on you. The ending! Om my god that ending, was sublime. I just sat and enjoyed that bit for a while. Joy. So the story of the joker coming back is recreating and copying his first meetings with Batman. His first crimes. His first murders. His creation! He's already set the plan in motion, what can Bats do? Well that again was a lovely twist. To own up, man that guy has some kahoonas! One of the things they address in this comic, which i find refreshing, is why does Batman not kill him? It's such a cliche in comics, and this it's slightly different in the fact that they do address it, but it still ends with the same results. He will be back and he will kill again. Lastly, I thought the artwork was fabulous. The arkham artwork was reminiscent of Morrisons Arkhum asylum. Dark and frightful. Batman does not get better than this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I'm coming into this book with a whole lot of expectations. I've heard everybody rave about it, call Scott Snyder the heir apparent to biblical powers, and want to bear his children (or at least his heavy MacBook). Plus I've read the earlier Snyder Batman books and liked them, even if I took an unreasonable dislike to his Iron Man Noir story. I generally respect his work and want to like it. So to say the least, I was ready to be blown away - AND to be punched in the gut by a sweet mess. Hype is s I'm coming into this book with a whole lot of expectations. I've heard everybody rave about it, call Scott Snyder the heir apparent to biblical powers, and want to bear his children (or at least his heavy MacBook). Plus I've read the earlier Snyder Batman books and liked them, even if I took an unreasonable dislike to his Iron Man Noir story. I generally respect his work and want to like it. So to say the least, I was ready to be blown away - AND to be punched in the gut by a sweet mess. Hype is such a delicate flower eh? I've raved about some books to the point where I winced when friends couldn't understand me when they hated them so much. I know that feeling, and I braced for a dose of my own medicine. Does not disappoint, at least up to the climax. Aside from so many great layers in this horror story, Snyder wallows in the psychological - Joker's unbelievably shattered mind; Batman's self-torture at walking the tightrope of protecting others, curbing his instincts and desperately trying to catch up to something well beyond his usual methods; and the pain others have ladled on their plates by these two cooks in the gallows kitchen. I'm fascinated by an experiment that this run does with shorter main stories and eight-page backups. It takes the same effort for Snyder to write all those pages (maybe more for the context switch), and it obviously gives Capullo some breathing room so he doesn't fall behind his monthly deadlines. However, these backups aren't just quick filler - they're deepening the menace and brooding tone of the storyline, and the art is by Jock, a first-rate madman in his own right. The reason the Joker in these tales is so fucking scary is he plans ahead at *least* as much as Batman does. He's Batman in an insane suit. Scratch that, in a homicidal insane suit (as Batman's clearly insane as well). Joker's real power is he is playing the board ten moves ahead, and doesn't telegraph his moves. Few other villains can match Batman's OCD and make him pull out some other aspect of his warped persona with which to beat them. Snyder writes one of the most eloquent, thoughtful and perceptive Jokers I've ever seen. The insights into Batman's psyche - he's as deep in Batman's head as Bullseye ever gets in Aaron's Punisher MAX. It's truly beautiful to listen to Joker talk - and terrifying to imagine how Snyder got that far into character. Couple of reasons I find this story disappointing: 1. No fun. No comic relief, no zaniness, just a slow constant build-up of horror, madness and excruciating raw psychological confrontation. ************************** SPOILERS AHEAD ************************** 2. In the end, Joker pulls away for no sellable reason. He's clearly shown he'll kill dozens just for show, and commit horrid acts when he feels like it. But when he kidnaps together the Bat-family (including one he paralyzed previously), and makes a show of sawing off their faces, suddenly that was just a ruse? As a matter of convenience for storytelling - for preserving the immutable beauty of our heroes - I get why this couldn't really happen, but as an act Joker couldn't stomach/wasn't willing to commit to, it's so obviously retarded I thought Snyder must've had a stroke. *************************** SPOILERS BEHIND *************************** Capullo earns every accolade he's received - his art is clear yet moody, grand in action and minimalist in creating moments, and absolutely creepy when showing us the Joker up close. The skin mask is almost rubbery - at one point Batman gets a corner trapped in his fist, and it slides askew on Joker's face like a big piece of cellophane, like the layer below is fresh meat slick with ooze.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Wiswell

    This is more of a spectacle story than I was led to believe, as The Joker returns and grievously tortures Batman's allies in an attempt to screw with him. There's lots of blood, and dozens upon dozens of no-name dead victims, teasing toward a "surprise party" that will be the story's endgame. If The Joker doesn't have reality-warping powers, I don't see how he kills the top lieutenants of every crime family in Gotham without a paranoid police department and superhero squad ever hearing about it. This is more of a spectacle story than I was led to believe, as The Joker returns and grievously tortures Batman's allies in an attempt to screw with him. There's lots of blood, and dozens upon dozens of no-name dead victims, teasing toward a "surprise party" that will be the story's endgame. If The Joker doesn't have reality-warping powers, I don't see how he kills the top lieutenants of every crime family in Gotham without a paranoid police department and superhero squad ever hearing about it. And yet that's a footnote in his killing secret spree, also apparently abducting everyone in a condo center and dumping them into the reservoir, taking over Arkham, colluding with every famous Gotham villain for even more carnage, and so-on. If that spectacle is all you want, then you're golden. It's all chalked up to the Batman joke of "prep-time," this time turned against him. Perhaps I'm getting older, but treating crazy as a superpower bothers me. Crazy goes on a shooting spree or abducts a runaway every two years; it doesn't rig the city with explosives without anyone noticing. And if anything is shocking about the story, it's that seeing Jim Gordon bleed, Alfred beaten and bat-themed heroes in distress feels done already. The revelation that Batman doesn't kill Joker because he's afraid of what will replace him ought to be an entire story, not a punchline at the end. Death of the Family also springs two or three false endgames on us in earlier chapters, not really accomplishing anything other than minimizing the importance of other heroes or villains. The handling of Two-Face is particularly disappointing. It makes the plot tread water until Joker finally tips his hand and we finally get some neat dialogue between him and his nemesis about their motives and what they mean to each other. The payoff to his grand plan of ruining the Bat-family doesn't quite resonate, and if anything, will work based on how other writers use it in the future. Greg Capullo's art does the story no favors, bouncing between almost as stripped down as the cartoons and gruesomely detailed, usually leaving pages up to the faces. Few of those faces look right. Batgirl wonders if she was deliberately targeted to be crippled with an expression like she's worrying about a date. Batman frequently makes googly-romance eyes when he's supposed to be analyzing evidence. The only affecting face is Joker's, but it's mangled meat under flesh that's been strapped on, so it's never particularly readable and defaults to grotesque no matter what it's doing. It might shock some readers, and shock value is really what this story traffics in. It begs to have been something much longer and more contemplative. [Posted August 2014; fixed for a typo in August 2014]

  18. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Scott Snyder jump-started his run on Batman by putting his own stamp on it, Introducing a compelling new antagonist of his own original creation in the Court of Owls, and putting his own spin on Gotham mythology. It was well-received but many were bummed that he didn't include more popular and established Gotham villains in the first year of his run. But, after wrapping up that story, he goes full bore by utilizing the ultimate Batman villain. And man, does he! The product here is one of the mos Scott Snyder jump-started his run on Batman by putting his own stamp on it, Introducing a compelling new antagonist of his own original creation in the Court of Owls, and putting his own spin on Gotham mythology. It was well-received but many were bummed that he didn't include more popular and established Gotham villains in the first year of his run. But, after wrapping up that story, he goes full bore by utilizing the ultimate Batman villain. And man, does he! The product here is one of the most disturbing depictions of the Joker ever. Snyder's Joker is even more of a complete madman than you would expect, not only allowing his face to be sliced off and put on ice, but then tying that face back onto his head like a mask before he embarks on an elaborate scheme to rid his favorite buddy Batman of his silly distractions, his closest allies! The Joker's plan is gleefully depraved and the plot development is well thought out by Snyder. I had to keep reading to see how far The Joker would go and how it would all end. I've never been a fan of the whole Bat-family idea though. I feel like the Batman character works best as a solitary hero. I don't mind a small number of dedicated non-vigilante Gotham allies like Alfred or Jim Gordon, or even sometime reluctant partners like Catwoman, but do we really need Robin, Nightwing, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl? It just seems silly after a while. And The Joker monologues a little too much here, even for him! But if you want a creepy, nasty story featuring one of the most iconic villains out there, check this one out. It'll probably go down as one of the most insane, dangerous versions of The Joker to date.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    I'm pretty speechless wOW!! This story was absolutely incredible! It was just so creepy and well written that I was literally gripped! This comic features joker at his finest! The art work portrayed him in such a terrifying light, especially now his face has been peeled off!! We really get to explore the character's true personalities which was really interesting and entertaining! Loved how other famous villains were brought into the plot, they really added to it! When I was reading it I could hones I'm pretty speechless wOW!! This story was absolutely incredible! It was just so creepy and well written that I was literally gripped! This comic features joker at his finest! The art work portrayed him in such a terrifying light, especially now his face has been peeled off!! We really get to explore the character's true personalities which was really interesting and entertaining! Loved how other famous villains were brought into the plot, they really added to it! When I was reading it I could honestly visualise it as a film! The way it was written and drawn made it seem so real and believable. But let me tell you now, this would make one creepy movie!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    This was my favorite of the three volumes so far, as we get The Joker to return, and he is as darkly crazy as he has been in the last decade, scary crazy, as we expect, and this is one of the best Joker stories ever, with some surprises in his motivation, but J always has complicated relations with the Manbat. This is, for superhero comics, for the history of Batman, very good stuff.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gianfranco Mancini

    4,5 stars. Most gory and disturbing Joker story ever.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Frank Eldritch

    This was marketed as the most exciting and best Joker story yet which actually hurts its chances to survive and be appreciated as its own story, really. The hype built around it will mislead readers who tend to have overblown expectations. So I suggest you adjust your expectations and don't expect this to be an instant classic or whatever it is being marketed as. It's not. But it's still a very enjoyable read. Like any avid Batman fan, finding out that the Joker will be returning in the New 52 l This was marketed as the most exciting and best Joker story yet which actually hurts its chances to survive and be appreciated as its own story, really. The hype built around it will mislead readers who tend to have overblown expectations. So I suggest you adjust your expectations and don't expect this to be an instant classic or whatever it is being marketed as. It's not. But it's still a very enjoyable read. Like any avid Batman fan, finding out that the Joker will be returning in the New 52 line-up was instantly gratifying, especially since I consider him my most favorite Batman villain ever since Mark Hamill's version in Batman: The Animated Series. But DC did not make having the Joker back a walk-in-the-park either. The entire point of the Joker's massively tormented (and, may I add, drawn out) return is to destroy the family that has made Batman weak because they humanized him. The Joker strongly believes that such relationships had reduced Batman into an ordinary and fallible man, and since the Joker's vanity is centered around the fact that he is unique and his nemesis is exactly as that too; and they are locked into an eternal battle of will and wits forever and ever (it's worth noting that there are lots of accidental homoerotic layers to the way the Joker pines over the Batman in Snyder's narrative framework), he thinks he's actually doing Batman a favor by eliminating his surrogate children and own son and heir. It makes perfect sense for the Joker to be this possessive and entitled to Batman. There's something vaguely pitiful about it too. The last issue of this collection was personally satisfying if you focus on the echoing thematic dissonance between the Batman and the Joker as the dichotomy that they've always been: order and chaos; and placing that in a more humanistic context where they are more than just mere concepts but also people who are afraid to own up and face the flaws of their humanity and how much they have alienated and often damaged the few people who are important to them. There is that poignant scene where Batman threatens to reveal to the Joker his real identity and the Joker actually flats-out refuses. That for me was a significant look at how the Joker wants to operate; he desperately wants to cut himself off from any kind of humanity including his own, but there is loneliness to that so it would be comforting for him to know that Batman will do the same as well, considering the only lasting and meaningful connection he ever had was with the Dark Knight. If you don't believe the hype created around this story and the entire crossover event then The Joker: Death of the Family will be an impressive accomplishment that is worth the purchase. Snyder wanted to reveal just how much Batman and the Joker are intrinsically tied to one another. This for me is also a major milestone among Batman and his children and I'm interested to see how it plays out for everyone concerned since they basically just endured another traumatic event that should re-define their relationships. RECOMMENDED: 8/10 DO READ MY BATMAN COMICS REVIEWS AT:

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    It’s been a year since the Clown Prince of Crime has battled Batman. After slicing off his own face and hitting the highway, Joker had disappeared leaving Batman to tangle with a mysterious society bent on Gotham’s destruction. Now, he’s returned and he has grand plans for The Dark Knight and his allies. Will Joker succeed in his most ambitious offensive to date or will Batman put a stop to his plans? Full disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for a fair r It’s been a year since the Clown Prince of Crime has battled Batman. After slicing off his own face and hitting the highway, Joker had disappeared leaving Batman to tangle with a mysterious society bent on Gotham’s destruction. Now, he’s returned and he has grand plans for The Dark Knight and his allies. Will Joker succeed in his most ambitious offensive to date or will Batman put a stop to his plans? Full disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for a fair review. Scott Snyder’s noggin is full of badass-ery. Not only has he been detailing the adventures of The Dark Knight since its re-launch in 2011 but he’s also been working on American Vampire, got tangled up with Superman, penned a few Swamp Thing issues and worked on a ten issue mini-series dubbed The Wake through IDW publishing. It’s like his head is a leaky faucet that’s constantly dripping out quality storytelling. Bad analogy, I know. Since taking the reigns on Batman, Snyder has wanted to bring his vision of Joker to the readers. Practicing amazing self restraint, Snyder managed to wait a whole year before putting pen to paper and delivering his own classic Joker tale. Given Snyder’s talent in the way in which he’s handled The Caped Crusader, fans were frothing at the mouth for his take on Joker. In an interview with Comics Alliance, Snyder noted that he approached Joker by telling himself, "if I only get one chance to write this character, this is the story I would do". Pouring his heart and soul into this tale, readers will once again be reminded of the depths to which Batman’s most feared villain will lower himself. In Death of the Family, Joker hints that he’s aware of who Batman’s allies are under their masks, intending to make them all suffer unless Batman follows along with his deranged plan. Batman is steadfast in his belief that Joker is bluffing, choosing to keep this threat from his team. Eventually, however, they find out and accuse Batman of taking Joker lightly; that after all these years, he still underestimates him. In terms of the visuals, Joker has never looked more terrifying. Since regaining his face, he’s stretched it over his disfigured skull using a system of metal clips and straps giving him a unique and unsettling look. The character of Batman has been around for 74 years and his arch nemesis, The Joker, has been tormenting him for 73. It's amazing that there are writers who can continue to pen original stories that find a way to shock and entertain an audience. Snyder proves that there’s still a lot left in the tank when it comes to these two battling as his Death of the Family is a standout chapter in their seven-decade war. Cross Posted @ Every Read Thing

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    Holy. Cow. Scott Snyder wrote one dark, fucked up Joker story, and I loved it! I’m not sure exactly how my Puddin lost his face, as I only read Batman comics sporadically and out of sequence, but it happened, and he’s been off the grid ever since. But you can’t keep the Joker far from Gotham, and you can’t keep him from trying to drive Batman insane/kill him. In “Death of the Family”, he comes back with a vengeance, as maniacal as ever, but I must say Snyder definitely pushed the envelope and made Holy. Cow. Scott Snyder wrote one dark, fucked up Joker story, and I loved it! I’m not sure exactly how my Puddin lost his face, as I only read Batman comics sporadically and out of sequence, but it happened, and he’s been off the grid ever since. But you can’t keep the Joker far from Gotham, and you can’t keep him from trying to drive Batman insane/kill him. In “Death of the Family”, he comes back with a vengeance, as maniacal as ever, but I must say Snyder definitely pushed the envelope and made him into a terrifying monster. He hasn’t lost his signature style of dark whimsy and psychological torture, but there’s an edge to this Joker that makes him downright chilling (the horse!!). And I liked the new outfit – less colorful, but more functional. My favorite Joker stories are always about the ways he poisons the minds of Batman’s allies, by simply sowing seeds of doubt or mistrust before stepping back and watching it all blossom horribly (like he does with Catwoman in Tom King’s “The Wedding: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), and this is a great example of his evil manipulations, trying to turn the Bat-family against Batman by recreating some of his most famous... "jokes". I do love the idea of the Joker being deeply convinced he is there to make Batman the best Batman he can be; I always saw them as two perfect opposites, two sides of the same coin (Heath Ledger’s amazing line: “I don’t want to kill you! What would I do without you? You complete me!” captures their relationship perfectly) and Snyder’s Joker plays with this symbiosis beautifully. I imagine some will think this a sacrilege, but I enjoyed it more than “The Killing Joke” (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)... In some ways, it's more burtal, the artwork is incredible (if occasionally disgusting) and creepy, the dialogue is solid - even when it falls into silly Bat-monologues. A truly excellent graphic novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    Snyder and Co. does a lot better with this volume, which contains Snyder's take on the Joker. The Joker certainly comes across as a true homicidal nut here, and the way he tries to manipulate Batman's emotions is pretty clever. The title of the volume, Death of the Family, is exactly that. The Joker tries to find a way to turn Batman against his family (Nightwing, Robin, et al.) because he believes that he and Batman were truly made for each other and exist only because the other needs him. The h Snyder and Co. does a lot better with this volume, which contains Snyder's take on the Joker. The Joker certainly comes across as a true homicidal nut here, and the way he tries to manipulate Batman's emotions is pretty clever. The title of the volume, Death of the Family, is exactly that. The Joker tries to find a way to turn Batman against his family (Nightwing, Robin, et al.) because he believes that he and Batman were truly made for each other and exist only because the other needs him. The homoerotic undertones of the Joker's obsession with Batman are subtly displayed here. It's a rather interesting spin on the classic super-hero/villain relationship, and makes sense in this context. Snyder really sets up some interesting conflicts between Batman and the Batman Family, and I will be interested to see if this subplot goes anywhere, particularly in the other Batman books. I don't have much hope that it will, and it's not like the banter between Batman and Nightwing is all that original. We've seen that quite a bit over the years. Capullo definitely sets himself up as one of the greatest Joker artists of all time. Scary and hideous at the same time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    This one did everything right for me. Gritty and absolutely bonkers insane, this story is the perfect level of crazy for the Joker. Now I need to read more from Scott Snyder.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    I read this in singles when it was first published a few years ago, but it's only re-reading it now in a collected format that I appreciate how good it is. I mean, I really liked it when it first came out, but when you read it in close to one sitting - it's a fantastic Joker story. After being gone for a year, The Joker is back and this time he's after the whole Batman family. It works as a good story of Batman with allies because they're the main targets but also as Batman as the loner because h I read this in singles when it was first published a few years ago, but it's only re-reading it now in a collected format that I appreciate how good it is. I mean, I really liked it when it first came out, but when you read it in close to one sitting - it's a fantastic Joker story. After being gone for a year, The Joker is back and this time he's after the whole Batman family. It works as a good story of Batman with allies because they're the main targets but also as Batman as the loner because he wants to go after The Joker himself because with The Joker it's always personal. Greg Capullo does a great job of making the Joker looking menacing with the face attached to his face and there's some art by Jock in here which is also good. This is a high point for Snyder and Capullo and a really good Joker story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    This was a particularly brutal and violent episode with the return of Batman's archnemisis. The plot is awesome with lots of other DC superheroes helping out to save Gotham. Definitely one to keep away from your underage kids, but a fascinating and spellbinding story with great artwork. This was a particularly brutal and violent episode with the return of Batman's archnemisis. The plot is awesome with lots of other DC superheroes helping out to save Gotham. Definitely one to keep away from your underage kids, but a fascinating and spellbinding story with great artwork.

  29. 5 out of 5

    RG

    Psychotic, distributing and messed up. The joker is back and causing a load of issues. The first scene where the joker enters the story was awesome. Loved it!! It did slow towards the middle but still a great story from Snyder.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    ***Buddyread with the Shallow Readers! Criteria: Read some Batman weeks after the fact and rub some shit on his face. Is that right?*** This wasn't my first Death of the Family. Batgirl began this for me. And after reading Batman's part, I can safely say that I am making it a goal to read them all. This story line seems to work well everyone involved because they rotate so much around Bats. I am super excited. Obviously Joker is a main player in this story line (see my review Batgirl). But in this ***Buddyread with the Shallow Readers! Criteria: Read some Batman weeks after the fact and rub some shit on his face. Is that right?*** This wasn't my first Death of the Family. Batgirl began this for me. And after reading Batman's part, I can safely say that I am making it a goal to read them all. This story line seems to work well everyone involved because they rotate so much around Bats. I am super excited. Obviously Joker is a main player in this story line (see my review Batgirl). But in this volume a lot of history is given about Joker, which for Bat newbies like me is more than welcome. You get told about how he became Joker, about how his face was cut off, about why he went missing for a year. You also get an intense story about why Joker is so irrevocably obsessed with Batman. Joker is an awesome player in this story arc. Finally he is twenty steps ahead of Batman, and he's plotted out any and all tricks that Bats may throw at him (except for maybe, you know, the ending). He also, as always, plays his tricks to get inside Bruce's head. But not only that, he drags down the entire Bat family with them. He is so insanely theatrical in this that you're practically watching him dance through the frames. The last issue was included in Babs' volume, but having Batman's leading issues made that story so much better the second time around. Batman is Joker's king in so many ways, and rejection only makes him try harder for the relationship that he so desperately craves. Bruce is also surprisingly human in this volume. The past two volumes showed him entirely consumed by the Court of Owls, so much so that he more or less ignored any conversations with his Bat family. In this one, however, he is a protective father again, not wanting to scare them, hurt their feelings, or even give them the opportunity to feel threatened and act out. Did I say protective? Let's go with OVER protective. And of course, it backfires in a major way. Another strong point for me was the inclusion of Bats other baddies. The Riddler (who I still think is lame, but whatever) and Penguin added to this. They both had their own reasons for jumping aboard Joker's plan, and well, we saw how it played it. Overall: WOWZA. I am loving Bruce. I am love Batman. And man, am I loving Joker. I want more DotF right now. Btw: Did anyone else feel like the Joker was after Bats dick? Because I think Bruce should have been standing in the skating rink with a white veil instead of Babs. Just saying.

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