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ê Read ↠´ Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin ↠´ Finally I ve been wanting to read this one forever, but I ve never been able to find it anywhere free But has kindly included it in their Prime reading section, so I snatched it up and here we are.
Ok, while I did know the basic gist of the story, there were several surprises in here that made it well worth reading, especially since I m a big fan of Red Hood.
Readers actually paid 50 cents to kill off Jason Todd Wow The hatered was real.
I knew they voted him off, I just didn t realize they had to fork over money for the privilege Ok, well likely, they had to ask their parents if they would let them call a 900 number But I remember landline phones, long distance telephone numbers, and how parents felt about paying for calls they didn t make Kids today have no idea how brutal the dark ages were.
Plus, there was such a small window of time to make the call to save kill The Toddster.
Dedication, thy name is Comic Fan.
Although, after reading this, I can see why Jason lost his little cartoon life The kid was annoying.
Still ouch.
I think most people will agree that the crowbar has become a pretty iconic part of Red Hood s origin story But what s been forgotten was the last few panels of that page You know, the part where it was actually his fucking birth mother who turned him over to the Joker.
Holy Twat Tacos, Batman Ok, Batman notices that Jason is a bit out of control, so he attempts to bench him and get him some help Jason simultaneously tells Bruce to piss off and begins an ill fated search for this real mother these things rarely end wellMeanwhile, Batman goes off in search of Joker, who is attempting to sell weapons to some bad guys in the Middle East At some point, the two meet, team up, and discover which one of Jason s Maybe Moms is the one who pushed him out of her womb Oh, Jason.
Another surprise for me was that Joker blackmailed his mother Dr Shelia Haywood into turning Jason over to him with the threat of exposing her part in an illegal abortion that caused the death of a teenage girl The fact that she was painted as evil for performing abortions seemed really weird and dated to me I mean, she was also embezzling from the refugee camp she was working in, but even that doesn t seem like the level of villainy needed to have a smoke while your son is getting beaten to death by a psycho Robin s Mom her actions were off putting and strange, and I actually agree with the subsequent writers who decided to gloss over that whole part of the story Good riddance to Dr Haywood.
The big questions of the day were, of course, whether or not Batman shows up in time to save Jason, or whether or not Jason survives the bomb going off Well, we all know how it turned out.
, Jason Todd world s douchiest Robin 2006 Enter Winnick s Under the Red Hood one of DC s best anti heroes.
Another thing I loved was the alternate ending panel Batman is smiling That s worth the price of admission, right there.
But wait There s I m sure you re all wondering why the hell Batman didn t just go after the Joker and kill the fuck out of him Right Welcome to the second part of this wacko story The old diplomatic immunity trope.
Superman ever the government stooge stops Bruce from going after Iran s newest ambassador.
I can t evenAnyhoo.
The truth is that I thought the story itself was kind of stupid, and it doesn t really hold up over the years if it ever did Just sort of felt slapped together and weird But it s become a linchpin in not only Red Hood s origin story but Batman s, as well Yeah, it s dumb, but you really need to see this shit for yourself.
Required Reading for Batfans.
This best selling 1980s graphic novel let the readers decide if the second Robin, Jason Todd, would live or die after an explosion In this late 80s graphic novel there s an actual copy of the advertisement and the 900 number to call to decide upon the fate of the Boy Wonder The fans decided they didn t like Jason Todd much and voted to kill him and no that isn t a spoiler based on the title and cover Apparently the vote was close Over 10,000 votes were cast, with the final vote being 5,343 votes for Jason to die over 5,271 for him to live Wiki There is a copy of the cover which shows Jason Todd surviving in case the fans voted for him to live The story in of itself ranges from very good to questionable I don t want to give spoilers but some felt the Joker to Africa connection was too coincidental and others didn t like the Joker and Iran connection though back in those days I think there was a lot of hostility towards possible Middle Eastern terrorists and look what happened during 9 11 so maybe it s not so farfetched or maybe it still is Additionally, the graphic novel covered issues that concerned the country world at the time the IRA, Reaganomics, the Lebanese War, nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, Iran, rogue states, the famine in Ethiopia, Iran Contra affair and much.
After the death of Robin II you get to see the Batman going down the wrong road even though his friends try to guide him back to the light he even punches Superman surprisingly It isn t really until Tim Drake the future Robin III obviously takes action on his own and brings Dick Grayson, the first Robin who is now Nightwing, to his senses that Batman begins to recover For those not in the know Robin serves as a reminder of who Batman Bruce Wayne used to be before his parents were horribly murdered before his eyes.
The artwork is traditionally classic with a distinctive almost bright blue coloring to Batman which makes it really hard to believe he can surprise people in the desert by sneaking around which I haven t seen in a while Also, emoting obvious emotions is prevalent than in later comics.
IGN comics ranked this as 15 on the top 25 Batman graphic novels At the time this was presented the killing of superhero characters was a new thing These days they die and then come back with the old bait and switch or when writers want to look for some reason to bring them back Denny O Neil, editor of the Bat comics at the time of Todd s death, stated on the back cover of A Death in the Family trade paperback It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back However, O Neil would later regret his decision Uh huh This is a must read for Batman fans simply for its history Get it ARTWORK PRESENTATION B BATMAN MYTHOLOGY FRESHNESS A minus for its time STORY PLOTTING B to B plus CHARACTERS DIALOGUE B to B plus WHEN read June to July 2012 OVERALL GRADE B to B plus.
Batman Readers Were Allowed To Vote On The Outcome Of The Story And They Decided That Robin Should Die As The Second Person To Assume The Role Of Batman S Sidekick, Jason Todd Had A Completely Different Personality Than The original Robin Rash And Prone To Ignore Batman S Instructions, Jason Was Always Quick To Act Without Regard To Consequences In This Fatal Instance, Robin Ignores His Mentor S Warnings When He Attempts To Take On The Joker By Himself And Pays The Ultimate Price Driven By Anger With Superman By His Side, Batman Seeks His Vengeance As He Looks To End The Joker S Threat Forever SPOILERSJoker busts out of Arkham Asylum the place is useless, really and heads to the Middle East to sell a cruise missile he s had in storage, and Batman follows to stop him Meanwhile Jason Todd aka Robin is working through some emotional issues and finds out that the woman he thought was his mother wasn t his biological mother so he sets off to track down his real mum.
I know this book is always on peoples lists of must read Batman stories but, besides Jason s death, there really isn t anything particularly good about this story There are too many coincidences Jason s search for his mother takes him to Israel, Lebanon, and Ethiopia, to find each of the three women who could potentially be his mum these places also happen to be where the Joker goes to sell his missile make money, and of course Batman and Robin cross paths in each instance Then there s the Joker First off I hate how he s drawn in the 80s, his face is ridiculously long like an Easter Island sculpture Second, I hate how his entire motivation in this book is money I realise the Joker of the 21st century is far cooler, just think of that scene in The Dark Knight when Heath Ledger s Joker burns an enormous pile of money, but did Jim Starlin have to make his Joker so pathetically hung up on cash In one scene when Joker s money is destroyed he slinks away in the shadows whining My lovely money whatever will I do now so pathetic.
And then there are the strange nuances with Batman and Robin In the middle of a desert Batman and Robin take down Arab guards and don their gear, but they manage to pick the guards that suit their superhero outfits so Batman gets a blue robes and Robin red robes Then Batman says something about covering a large amount of terrain using something that will make them invisible hang gliders He reasons that anyone looking at them will think they re birds Yeah, birds have jets don t they Robin s outfit too is really stupid Those bare legs and little green scaly shorts look so daft it s a wonder they got away with it for so long.
When Jason dies, Batman gives a summary of his life and gives a lame reason for wanting to have a child as a sidekick fighting criminals at night I guess I was just lonely But he vows to never again allow a minor to help him fight villains as evil as Joker and Two Face Right, except right after this he meets Tim Drake and trains him to become the new Robin Sigh I don t know why Starlin tried to reason Robin into existence, just accept that it s weird but it is what it is He s a colourful moving target to draw gunfire away from the guy dressed in black or blue in this book Move on.
I ll give credit to Starlin for making the death scene very stark and brutal, though the events afterwards that keep Batman from attacking Joker completely negate any of the impact because you re wondering how on earth such nonsense made it into print The Joker becomes ambassador for Iran, that bugbear of Cold War 1980s America Yes, ambassador What absolute rubbish.
This is such a bad 80s comic book full of poor dialogue and plotting and that cheesy comic book style of drawing that instantly dates it, that it s amazing it s held in the high regard it is It s reputation must be held up by aging fanboys who look back on this era with nostalgia and ignore the fact that the Batman books of this time barring a few exceptions were mostly terrible and can t hope to stand up to the generally high quality of the Batman books being written today I suppose every Batman fan must read this if only for the mythology aspect of it, but it s not even the end of Jason Todd He comes back in Judd Winick s Under the Hood , so that the book s sombre and dark cover underlines the silliness of superhero comics in general characters come back all the time, there are never any real endings.
Anybody looking for a fun Batman read will not find it here, nor is it a deserved classic A Death in the Family is just a book that happens to have an event in it that some consider to be important but really isn t Definitely missable, this is ultimately a disappointing read.
I first knew about Jason Todd through the story Under the Hood written by Judd Winick which turned out to be his resurrection story I watched the animation film with Supernatural s Jensen Ackles as Todd s voice actor and then I read the collected edition a few months after To explain briefly, Jason Todd was the second Robin who succeeded Dick Grayson shortly after the latter quit and then joined the Teen Titans instead Bruce Wayne first met Jason in the infamous Crime Alley when he was on patrol as Batman and he found the boy dismantling his batmobile to steal his gears which understandably annoyed Bruce but he nevertheless felt sorry for the boy when he realized that he was an orphan, living off the streets.
A part of him also connected strongly to the boy upon discovering that his father was brutally murdered Determined to help the boy and because he needed a partner, Bruce then recruited Jason and started training him to become the new Robin Jason was a fast learner but he was highly temperamental and definitely have anger and ego issues He is impulsive when it comes to handling criminals, often driven by rage during fights Still, Bruce thought it will pass Later on, Bruce realized that it was the villain Two Face who murdered Jason s father Upon confrontation, Jason opted not to kill Two Face which made Bruce proud but he would soon see that the boy is far damaged than he could ever anticipated.
In A Death in the Family, we explore the extent of Jason Todd s emotional issues and the strained relationship he has with Bruce The idea of killing the second Robin sprang from the publication s marketing move where readers themselves were asked through survey as to whether or not they still want Jason around as Batman s partner Surprisingly enough, the people voted for Jason s death so DC had writer Jim Starlin conceptualize and deliver the story I suppose many readers are just not too fond of Jason and may also think he is not as likable as Dick Grayson whom Bruce had a better chemistry and rapport with.
The story itself was composed of issues Batman 426 429 and it was a compelling closer look at Jason Todd s final moments leading to his death in the hands of no other than the Joker This was published in 1988 which was also around the time when the entire Batman line up of stories for DC took on a grittier tone The narrative for A Death in the Family was straightforward and serious enough as it explored the growing distance between Bruce and Jason as Bruce decided that Jason needs to take a sabbatical from crime fighting as Robin Bruce does not exactly have the parenting skills to make Jason understand his point of view and have the boy open up to him Since Jason also refuses to talk about it, he became further withdrawn and completely shuts out Bruce from there on.
One day, as he was walking around his old neighborhood reminiscing about the happy past with his parents, a friend of his mother called to him and gave him his old stuff from his previous home This is where Jason found out a shocking truth that the woman who raised him was just his stepmother and his biological mother is alive and still out there Aided only by three names in his father s notebook of contacts, he researched the three possible women who could be his missing mother Naturally, he didn t ask for Bruce s help as he boarded a plane to go to his destination Meanwhile, the Joker is loose and is looking for a way to finance his criminal activities so he basically decided to get into international terrorism Batman has to stop him and coincidentally, both the Joker and Jason are heading for the same place.
What follows is a series of convenient coincidences where each of the three women have some thin connection to the Joker s schemes if not entirely related to it It became unavoidable for Bruce and Jason to meet and Bruce had no other choice but to help Jason alongside trying to apprehend the Joker with his latest nefarious schemes It has to be said that it s pretty grim and humorous at the same time that the candidates for Jason s biological mother are a spy, a mercenary and a volunteer doctor for a relief expedition the last one is the only optimistic choice.
I liked this story It was an important installment concerning a character who eventually becomes a fan favorite once he grew out of his Robin costume and became his own brand of vigilante I have an ongoing love hate relationship with Jason Todd I softened on him only quite recently A Death in the Family was the first time we see a Robin die and where Bruce has to grieve over the loss his partner I thought the story was enjoyable although everything felt like a set up especially the coincidences where the Joker is tied with the search for Jason s missing mother so it easy for Bruce and Jason to still be Batman and Robin and fight him while having that personal side mission on the side.
Jason s death, I think, was only upsetting because it was an abrupt dramatic irony He wasn t well liked by the readers that much and the circumstances leading to his death could have been avoided if only Bruce was perceptive enough to communicate and open himself up to Jason since the boy doesn t even know that Bruce himself had a similar childhood trauma I think if he was honest from the very start then Jason would have trusted him and listened to him But alas, it s not meant to be and Bruce ended up carrying a badly wounded Jason in his arms which became an iconic image in itself A Death in the Family is a prelude to the superior follow up Under the Hood I suggest you read these two stories back to back to really get the sense of the drama, action and conflict that encompasses the entire character arc of Jason Todd when he died as a Robin and was revived as the Red Hood RECOMMENDED 8 10DO read MY BATMAN COMICS REVIEWS AT You should read this if you like retro Batman, Batman Robin, classic comics, Joker, Dick Greyson, Tim Drake, Batman Robin dynamic.
I know this is a classic but some elements of this story just feel so outdated Jason Todd s death happens with some drama but since it was to be expected it didn t really pack much of a punch As someone who would have totally voted yes to put an end to his annoying character I am glad we finally got him out of the picture His death, though, is significant if only for the shift in Joker Batman dynamic, and for what his loss means for the Bat family and the events to follow In case of the latter, I wish we had explored the physiological effects of Todd s loss on Batman and how that changes him in future comics.
I liked the introduction to Tim drake, my favorite Robin after Dick Grayson Tim is a vast improvement over Todd In addition to his intelligence, his maturity in understanding the symbolism of the Batman and Robin duo was particularly striking It will be interesting to see if and how his ideology of Justice might change over time I also enjoyed the glimpses of the Nightwing Batman dynamic and their parallels into their father son relationship Theirs has always been one of my most favorite pairings and I m glad we saw some of that in this comic For these reasons alone, this comic stands out as one of significant turning points in Batman comic history I wish I could have enjoyed the storytelling.
This left a sour taste I just don t feel right about Jason Todd s death It doesn t feel justified Jason is reckless and nihilistic following his parents death, so Bats puts him on the bench Soon after, though, Jason learns that his birth mother is alive, and he s narrowed it down to three women living in Lebanon, Israel and Ethiopia The Joker is raided and he flees toyou guessed itLebanon, to sell a cruise missile to some Shiite terrorists And Bats follows the Joker not knowing Jason is already there I understand that readers voted to kill off Jason soap opera style I just find it in extremely poor taste He s never been my favorite, as far as I ve read He s belligerent, impulsive, lacking strategy But he means well and he fights with passion And his death is so needless and tragic He s actually a very good person, if to a fault, because he trusts his mother far too easily And her characterization is much too convenient How many years apart and she s going to be like that And the Joker is a sick bastard, sure But outright kill someone, where s the fun in that How are they supposed to recover so they can fight again and again in an endless tangle of wits and fists If the dank cloud of unjustified death isn t enough, add to that a very heavy geopolitical satire which severely dates this comic This was published in 1988 I believe, two years before the Gulf War with Iraq And Jim Starlin doesn t seem to think much of Middle Easterners I was barely alive in 1988 so I can t say whether this was a Western consensus Batman comments that he s surprised the American scum are working with Arab terrorists Lady Shiva, American assassin and one possible mother of Jason Todd, is training Shiite terrorists Then later, the most ridiculous moment, the Iranian Ayatollah offers the Joker, a man who s been killing locals and setting off explosives, an ambassadorship which gives him diplomatic immunity in the U.
S Holy shit, if that doesn t require a leap, nay, a quantum lunge of the imagination, I don t know what does Add to that the fact that the Joker, Bats and Robin all speak Farsi, and you can see just how insane this comic can be So this comic is now a canonical classic because of Robin s death But the plot, in my opinion, is razor thin, not unlike the Death of Superman Sure, there s meat than Doomsday tearing up the Midwest Bats and Robin beat up some terrorists There s the mystery of Jason s mother Joker kills Robin Then Joker gets a promotion for being a terrorist, with a nod from the U.
S government But why does Jason s mother s identity matter if he s dead Why create this arc of him looking for redemption if he s crushed by his failure and then he dies because of it I don t know This really bummed me out It felt like DC copped out on a character deserving of attention The I think about it, the less I find I like about this Okay, so I ll try to name some positives There are some fun campy moments Like when Bats and Robin fly jet powered bat hang gliders and Batman says they ll just look like birds if anyone is looking Or when Bats opens the hatch of his Land Rover and pulls out his tiny Batcopter I liked how Superman has a brief cameo here and he and Bats argue like they always do It s sort of funny and ridiculous to watch Bats and Robin karate chop terrorists It reminds me of old spy movies where we assume the ethnic locals are all bad guys deserving of punishment Which of course, in this context, alludes to America being the World Police Overall, not a terrible read It s old, dated, assertively political There s some basic entertainment value But if you re expecting the epic, well paced and heartfelt passing of Batman s protege, you won t find it here.

I was totally amazed when I read this story line when it first came out, I could not believe they would kill off Robin, especially in the way it was done Very intense story plot and even so for the late 1980 s mainstream comics Very recommended Gaynesshe said,is built into Batman I m not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay There s just no denying it Obviously as a fictional character he s intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay I think that s why people like it All these women fancy him He doesn t care he s interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kidGrant Morrison on Batman quote took from The Caped Crusade Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture pg 277 Before we talk about how good this comic is, can we stop for a second to talk about Batman s gayness first If Bruce Wayne Batman s relationship with Dick Garyson the first Robin is enough to raise eyebrows, then I just can t get over how gay Bruce Wayne s relationship with Jason Todd the second Robin is Okay, okay I m not saying the two are in a secret relationship or Bruce wants to bed the younger manbut just looks at how these two interact in A Death in the Family Can t you just see the homoeroticism oozing out from the pages Aside from the gay issues, we just have to talk about how Batman is a horrible mentor Not only he invited a troubled teenager to the dangerous life of crime fighting AND that alone is horrible enough a mistake You don t get underage teens to fight crime No sane person would do that I mean, Dick has the explanation of wanting to avenge his parents, but Jason.
I just can t find any reason for him Plus Bruce really, really didn t know much about how to help said troubled teenager to work out his issues Okay, Batman later regrets his bad decisions with Jason, but hey The damage is already done.
As to the setting, I am not a fan of sending Batman outside of Gotham city and let him wander off to the Middle East to fight crime terrorism, I mean the Bat fighting crime under the broad daylight of the Middle East istotally wrong for me Still, the Jason searching for his mother storyline works out okay for meso I guess the likes and dislikes break even here Thirdly, the artwork is hopelessly outdated the art of comic drawing had came a long way since the 1980s and I m also not a fan of the artist s style, yet the artwork works finely enough for me, I have no complaint.
What I really do appreciate, is the aftermath of Jason s death, how view spoiler shortly after murdering Jason and his mother, the Joker became the Iran s ambassador so Batman and Co can t touch him without creating an international crisis and how the Joker goes on to prepare a speech in the UN, hide spoiler Treasure of the Rubbermaids 8 Dial 1 900 For Murder The on going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent s house and untouched for almost 20 years Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.
The Robin character is something that has been a problem for Batman stories since comics matured As Batman was turned into an increasingly grim and psychologically haunted character by various writers also trying to make him grounded and realistic, the idea that this dark vigilante would have a young sidekick dressed up in bright colors and cracking jokes was increasingly out of sync with the tone of the comics Plus, what kind of grown man dresses up a young boy in green short shorts and a yellow cape And I ve always had a hard time buying the notion that no one in Gotham City would figure out who Batman is just by the presence of a Robin Billionaire Bruce Wayne with the murdered parents adopted a young kid whose parents are also murdered, and now Batman is running around with a young man What a coincidence original Robin Dick Grayson had broken away from Batman and become a new hero, Nightwing Batman found his replacement in Jason Todd, a young orphan and juvenile delinquent However, in 1988 shortly after ultra violent and dark comics The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke came out and with a big budget Tim Burton movie in the works that featured no Robin, the idea of having an increasingly edgy Batman work with a kid seemed just stupid Plus, comic fans had never embraced the Jason Todd character even after one of DC s many continuity reboots revamped his origin story.
So DC cooked up a scheme to put Jason Todd in a hairy predicament, and then let fans call a 1 900 number to vote on if he should live or die It got a lot of attention from the media, and over 10,000 people spent 50 cents to have a say in Robin s fate It was close but the kid got the death penalty The story is pretty powerful for Batman fans, but there s a lot of problems with it There s way too many coincidences with Jason searching for his long lost mother and just happening to end up the Middle East as Batman has trailed the Joker and a hijacked nuclear missile there Then the Joker has an old connection to Jason s mom and tries to blackmail her just as Jason finds her in Ethiopia Apparently it s a small freaking superhero world Then there s an international political storyline that introduces Superman, and it all seems too crazy and farfetched, even by the loose standards of comic stories I did enjoy some of the dated 80s references like the Joker, desperate for cash, complaining that he s another victim of Reaganomics It s still a disturbing scene to watch the Joker beat Robin relentlessly with a crowbar and then leaving him to be finished off by a bomb blast The splash panel with Batman carrying Robin s body out of the rubble is a classic But if they wanted to kill off Robin, they should have done it in Gotham and not in Africa during a pretty standard crazy Joker is selling nukes to terrorists storyline.
Also, DC really screwed the pooch on the secret identity issue here The Joker knows Jason Todd is Robin by the time he kills him Later he gets into a stare off with Bruce Wayne in public So he s gotta know that Bruce is Batman, right Uh, not sure, and it was never addressed later that I m aware of Plus, there s an issue with no one in Gotham realizing that Bruce Wayne s ward was killed in mysterious circumstances and suddenly Batman doesn t have a Robin No one could work that out So this is a groundbreaking comic in a lot of ways, but not a particularly great one other than the actual death of Robin This also started the ugly trend of comic companies stunt killing characters for publicity Usually, they bring them back shortly after that, but for a long time it seemed like Jason Todd would actually stay dead Unfortunately, DC finally gave in and brought back Jason as an unhinged villain recently Too bad because the death of Jason Todd was an event that had hung over the Batman stories and gave them a real sense of loss and consequences.
However, I did get a good laugh when I dug out this collection from 1989 and saw this blurb from legendary DC writer editor Denny O Neil on the back coverIt would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back Oops.