Batman Death of the Family Arc Brings Life Back to an Old Foe and DC Comics

It’s been a long time since I have enjoyed a Batman title. One of the few series from DC Comics that I would consistantly throw money at every month, it about stopped during Batman’s RIP and subsequent resurrection arc, where we learn he was his own great-great-great grand father and possibly the first human to evolve from a Neanderthal. After that, I just gave up. This week, when picking up my horde of post-AvX tie-ins, I looked over and saw the cover of Catwoman #13. An eerie half-mask of Joker’s face, complete with eye cut out and a twisted smile on his face. Okay DC, I thought, you got my interest.

I grabbed Catwoman, and the Batman issue that came out the week before, picked up more Marvel titles than I should have, and went on my way.

That was the best purchase I have made in months. Batman: Death of the Family begins a twisted new tale for my favorite Clown Prince of Crime. He’s been oddly absent from the  reboot, but DC couldn’t have picked a better time to launch this story. Marvel is gaining a lot of attention for their NOW not-reboot, but DC has returned to what makes them a company that can tell a great story over many different titles.

Joker is back. His face, more twisted and his mind further gone than ever before. We see him revisit crimes of his past with a gut wrenching new way that goes from slapstick to just pure terror. Harley even makes a cameo, in a scene that nearly broke my heart. She’s been a favorite of mine since I watched the Batman Animated Series as a child, and to see her brought out and used in the manner which the Joker does, and to finally see her start to crack under his madness, is some of the best writing I’ve ever seen with her character. In fact, a lot of Death of the Family reminds me of Dini’s run on Detective Comics, but more gritty, dark and a sense of  madness in all of it.

Without giving away too much, Joker visits Jim Gordon and we are treated to some of the best (worst) moments from their shared history. Batman’s desire to save his family from being shattered by the madman may come too late, as the last panel revealed what could be the greatest blow to the Caped Crusader.

If you’ve been shying away from DC since their relaunch, this is the time to come back into the fold. Even the tie-ins, which I’m never keen on having mulch-reaching arcs, are solid and worth the $2.99. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Batgirl title now. If anyone, Babs deserves a reckoning with good ol’ Mistah J.

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