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.
After Having His Face Sliced Off, The Joker Makes His Horrifying Return To Gotham City Shaking Batman To His Core But Even For A Man Who S Committed A Lifetime Of Murder, He S Dangerous Than Ever Before How Can Batman Protect His City And Those He S Closest To This New Hardcover Features An Acetate Dust Jacket Showcasing The Face Of The Joker As It Appeared On The Die Cut Covers Of The Death Of The Family Comics And Under That Dust Jacket Lies The Horror That Is The Joker S Skinless Skull Collecting Batman Let s review key levels of crazy, shall we 1 Quirky e.
, 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.
, talks to an imaginary friend, possibly an anthropomorphic aardvark, while defecating in a public space 4 Batsh t Insane e.
, 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.
, 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.
, 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 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 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 any, 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 Creepy, well written, amazingNot 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 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 any, but I can appreciate the story told I hope the next one is less demented and enjoyable.
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, 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 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.
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 IVIllustrators 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 and 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 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 than just a man Therefore, in certain twisted way, The Joker, his most lethal nemesis, also needs to be 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 dangerous than The Joker.
Welcome to madness Welcome to Gotham City.
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 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.
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