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Batman: A Death in the Family PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Batman: A Death in the Family
Author: Jim Starlin
Publisher: Published December 1st 1995 by DC Comics (first published 1988)
ISBN: 9780930289447
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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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, 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.

30 review for Batman: A Death in the Family

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    As someone who has written a serialized story that solicited input from the reading public to determine the course of the plot (see the greatest adventure tale ever told, The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple), I fully appreciate the gimmick of canvassing readers to help shape a story. On the other hand, there’s something so horrifically impersonal about the idea of comic readers calling a 900 number to weigh in on whether Robin/Jason Todd should live or die (as opposed to their usual reason fo As someone who has written a serialized story that solicited input from the reading public to determine the course of the plot (see the greatest adventure tale ever told, The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple), I fully appreciate the gimmick of canvassing readers to help shape a story. On the other hand, there’s something so horrifically impersonal about the idea of comic readers calling a 900 number to weigh in on whether Robin/Jason Todd should live or die (as opposed to their usual reason for calling a 900 number, which would be to indulge in erotic audio fantasies, perhaps related to mommy delivering a firm spanking, whilst attached to a tube sock…not that there’s anything wrong with that, and does anyone know how to get stains out of tube socks?). (I’ll note that this story came out in the 1980s, incidentally, which may or may not go a long way toward explaining why this went down the way it did.) Did the Romans have their own, far more terrible real-life version of this in the gladiator pits? Sure. So, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re talking about comic book characters here. Still, putting aside that whole big-picture perspective issue (because no one likes a big-picture perspective killjoy), and ignoring the fact that death is essentially meaningless in comics (particularly now that the Bucky Barnes rule has been so egregiously violated), there’s something more than a little unsettling about having fans vote on whether a character suffers an untimely demise. There’s an unspoken pact between readers and writers and artists to at least try to pretend that comic characters aren’t corporate brands, and that there really is the possibility that anything can happen to them (when the reality is that nothing can happen to them—or be done by them—that will potentially harm a company’s ability to leverage that character across different platforms to maximize revenue—granted, this was less of an issue in the ‘80s when no one was monetizing any aspect of comics (notwithstanding the early ‘90s speculater/alternate cover boom, but that’s a whole different story), but it was still the case that writers and artists only had so much latitude, particularly within the confines of a book that’s based in a company’s primary continuity). When a company advertises the potential death of a character, however, and solicits votes from readers as to whether that character should live or die, it destroys the illusion of that pact, and, as a reader, you’re reminded that, contrary to what we want to believe, all major comic book events are contrived as ways to spike sales rather than as natural evolutions of a character’s story. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be such evolutions, or even high-quality stories, mind you; simply that the impetus for them is more corporate than creative. And, that can make you feel, to use a highly technical term, a little icky when you’re reading. I’m not going to preface with a spoiler alert the fact that the Joker bludgeons poor Robin to death in a scene that is chilling despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that we don’t actually see the blows strike Robin’s body (the reasons I’m not calling this out as a spoiler are 1) it happened almost 30 years ago (and Jason Todd has since resurfaced as the Red Hood); 2) the outcome is already spoiled by the title of the book; and 3) anyone who has ever read a Batman story couldn’t honestly think that the reading public could be given a vote as to whether or not Jason Todd would bite it and vote for him to remain amongst the living). The story is contrived to create maximum mawkish sentiment, as Robin bucks the kicket only hours after meeting his real mother, one he didn’t know was alive until the beginning of the story, and one can’t help but think that it was crafted with the presumption that his death would, indeed, be the outcome. Were it not for the unsavory voting aspect, this would be a potentially affecting tale (especially given Tim Drake’s appearance in the aftermath in a story that drives at the heart of why Robin exists in the first place); as it stands, however, it goes down with chrome covers, multiple variant covers, polybagged black arm bands, and Rob Liefeld’s art as a questionable curiosity of the weird time that was the late 80s/early 90s in the world of mainstream superhero comics. We’ll call it 2.5 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    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 increasing 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 more 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 cover: “It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back.” Oops.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    "Gayness" he 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 more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid." -Grant Morrison on Batman (quote took from The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Cul "Gayness" he 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 more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid." -Grant 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 man......but 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 is...totally wrong for me. Still, the 'Jason searching for his mother' storyline works out okay for me......so 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)] and guess what? The Joker's speech is just perfect! PS: but how come the Joker still didn't realize Bruce Wayne is Batman after he found out Jason Todd, Bruce's wand, is Robin!? LOL PSS: We definitely need an Under the Hood live-action movie!!!! Batman v.s. Jason Todd/Red Hood! YEAH! Fun Facts: (1) In this story, Commissioner Gordon knows Batman is Bruce. (2) Batman and Superman look so alike that they can very well be long-lost brothers. LOL

  4. 4 out of 5

    StoryTellerShannon

    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 v 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 more. 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 more 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Delirious Disquisitions

    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 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 more significant turning points in Batman comic history. I wish I could have enjoyed the storytelling more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    SPOILERS Joker 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 a SPOILERS Joker 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Nash

    I've always enjoyed this story and how truly insane the Joker really is. I grew up on the late 70's and early 80's comics and even tho the art is nowhere near where it is today, I just love the nostalgic feel they have. These oldies but goodies will always have a place in my heart! When I was little, my grandfather, "Papps" (God rest his soul), took me and my brother every Friday to the comic book store, without fail, and bought us whatever we wanted. So every time I reread one of these stories, I've always enjoyed this story and how truly insane the Joker really is. I grew up on the late 70's and early 80's comics and even tho the art is nowhere near where it is today, I just love the nostalgic feel they have. These oldies but goodies will always have a place in my heart! When I was little, my grandfather, "Papps" (God rest his soul), took me and my brother every Friday to the comic book store, without fail, and bought us whatever we wanted. So every time I reread one of these stories, I have fun, I smile, and I think of my awesome Grandfather and my wonderful childhood! 5 stars!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lᴀʏᴀ Rᴀɴɪ

    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 p 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 more 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 more. 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 more 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: 8/10 DO READ MY BATMAN COMICS REVIEWS AT:

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aya

    SO Batman: A Death in the family is a classic I really get that fact, I really do. It's a "must-read" Graphic novel, you love Batman! Then you should probably read it. So, I did it. I read the whole thing, unfortunately, it hasn't been a good time reading through it. I really couldn't care less about Robin's death. I'm not a big fan of Jason as the wonder boy, His death was a bit of relief actually. They made him to be the most annoyingly in the history of the " Robins", he can't help it. So the SO Batman: A Death in the family is a classic I really get that fact, I really do. It's a "must-read" Graphic novel, you love Batman! Then you should probably read it. So, I did it. I read the whole thing, unfortunately, it hasn't been a good time reading through it. I really couldn't care less about Robin's death. I'm not a big fan of Jason as the wonder boy, His death was a bit of relief actually. They made him to be the most annoyingly in the history of the " Robins", he can't help it. So the the first 120 pages was a hard time on me. After that the clouds were gone. I really like how tim was introduced. I love tim as Robin, more than Dick sometimes, so it was a really good thing reading his first time being Robin. I can give the second part of this novel a solid five, for me it was great. the first part, 🤔 Not that much🤷‍♀ I have mixed feelings about it, confused as i am, i don't love it. So There stars will do.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I didn't read the "A Death in the Family" storyline when it was first published, but I was certainly aware of it from the media coverage surrounding it. D.C. decided to allow the fans to determine whether the current Robin, Jason Todd, would live or die following a devastating attack at the hands of the Joker. Readers voted to let Jason shuffle off this mortal coil (though apparently it wasn't for long. I've heard he comes back down the line). There was an outcry in the media about the direction I didn't read the "A Death in the Family" storyline when it was first published, but I was certainly aware of it from the media coverage surrounding it. D.C. decided to allow the fans to determine whether the current Robin, Jason Todd, would live or die following a devastating attack at the hands of the Joker. Readers voted to let Jason shuffle off this mortal coil (though apparently it wasn't for long. I've heard he comes back down the line). There was an outcry in the media about the direction comic books were taken and how they weren't for kids anymore. It's just too bad some of the outcry wasn't for the story itself leading up to and following the death of Jason Todd. Deciding that Jason is too emotionally unstable to continue being Robin, Bruce Wayne puts him on sabbatical. While wandering the streets and brooding about this, Jason wanders by his old apartment where conveniently enough the land lady has found a big box of stuff Jason left behind. Included in the box is his birth certificate and his dad's address book. Guess what? Turns out the woman Jason thought was his mother was only his adopted mother and that there are three other women in the world who could be his mom. Jason uses the Bat computer to find where they are and sets out on a world wide quest to figure out which one is his mom. Meanwhile, the Joker has escaped yet again from Arkham Asylum and needs to replenish is dwindling bank account. He's got a nuclear missile that he's willing to sell to any terrorist group that will give him the funding. Batman is in hot pursuit across the globe and it turns out--lucky us!--that each of the locations the Joker goes is somewhere and somehow connected to Jason's quest to find his mother. (That sound you heard was your suspension of disbelief snapping!) And so it is that Jason tracks down his mom, who has a connection to the Joker. One minute she's betraying him to the Joker, the next minute she's saying what a great son and how sorry she is. Of course, it helps that Jason is trying to rescue her betraying self from a building that is rigged to blow up in sixty seconds. But wait, it gets better. After blowing up Jason and his mother, Joker is approached by the Iranian government to become their ambassador to the United Nations. He agrees so he can have diplomatic immunity, thus making sure Batman can't come after him for the death of Jason. Oh and Superman shows up to make sure Batman knows all this. The more I read, the more my head kept shaking with complete and utter disbelief. Here's a pivotal event in the Batman mythology and it's let down by one of the most inane storylines I've ever read. Even worse is the fact that the death of Jason Todd barely registers on a emotional level. I found myself comparing it to the famous death of Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Man books and it comes up woefully short. That storyline had emotion to it...this one just feels like a huge marketing ploy and an excuse to see just how much insane bat-guano the readers will swallow and still buy the next issue or issues. Seriously--the Joker is a U.N. ambassador?!? And I haven't even addressed how much re-hashing of the plot-so-far takes place in each installment. Clearly the writers expect one-off readers to drop by because of the hype surrounding Robin's death and so we are treated to a four to five page recap in each issue. I understand these comics were made to be read a month or so apart, but collected together and it stands out even more like a sore thumb. This collection is rounded out by a five-part storyline in which Tim Drake takes over as Robin. It's moderately better than "A Death in the Family" but that's really damning with faint praise. The concept that Batman needs a Robin is an intriguing one and hopefully gets explored in future arcs and by other writers. It's too bad a pivotal moment in the world of comic books is part of such a ham-handed and terrible storyline.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    It felt strange having known that the readers voted for this ending. You also get an impression of the ending from the title and the front cover, so if you dont see it coming, Im not sure youve paid attention. Just was a little predictable with characters actions and too over the top in some dialogue scenes. Probably wont satisfy everyone, as shown by all the mixed reviews.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Donovan

    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 to...you guessed it...Lebanon, to sell a cruise missile to some Shiite terrorists. And Bats follows the Joker not knowing Jaso 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 to...you guessed it...Lebanon, 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 more 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 more deserving of attention. The more 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. To begin, I'll talk about what I enjoyed about this comic. I loved the way Batman is generally concerned for Jason Todd. Children should not be forced to grow up so quickly, as Todd had to. He was never given the time to deal with the death of his loved ones and therefore has much anger within him. Jason becomes cruel to criminals, rather than merciful which ultimately leads to Batman forcing him to take a leave of absence. Now, Todd is not only facing the loss of his family but also is facing the To begin, I'll talk about what I enjoyed about this comic. I loved the way Batman is generally concerned for Jason Todd. Children should not be forced to grow up so quickly, as Todd had to. He was never given the time to deal with the death of his loved ones and therefore has much anger within him. Jason becomes cruel to criminals, rather than merciful which ultimately leads to Batman forcing him to take a leave of absence. Now, Todd is not only facing the loss of his family but also is facing the loss of his way of life. He has no stability and does not want to talk about his feelings. Todd's emotional reactions were realistic and Bruce Wayne's guilty/regretful attitude is realistic. However, what is not realistic is the coincidences that happen throughout the comic. Batman and Robin just so happen to be in the same place looking for different people, but actually they are following the same case in different ways. The unrealistic events that happen after Jason Todd's death is equally annoying. How does Joker become an Iranian Ambassador so easily? In addition, would the U.S. actually allow immunity to the Joker even he is some ambassador? I liked the comic, but it has its downfalls.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Continuing on in my quest to read the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told according to my personal choices, I thought I had read this in the past, but I realized I either didn't finish it, or I forgot the story. Either way, I actually have the individual comic issues from my collection and read the story, from the comic books #426-429 (vs. the TPB) and in issue 2 of the story I noticed on the back cover the "phone experiment" to either call in to save Robin or have him killed. I thought about it, Continuing on in my quest to read the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told according to my personal choices, I thought I had read this in the past, but I realized I either didn't finish it, or I forgot the story. Either way, I actually have the individual comic issues from my collection and read the story, from the comic books #426-429 (vs. the TPB) and in issue 2 of the story I noticed on the back cover the "phone experiment" to either call in to save Robin or have him killed. I thought about it, what my reaction would have been in 1988. And I realize I support the ending that ended up the final decision. Overall this is ranked highly among one of my most favorite Bat stories I've ever read and I completely understand why it is considered one of the most important, recognized and generally immortalized Bat stories of them all. My favorite part: The **spoiler alert** surprise appearance in Book 3 of the other DC superhero.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Briar's Reviews

    Batman: A Death in the Family was an amazing collection of comics full of the nerdy Batman I always loved! Every year on my birthday I splurge a little bit and buy myself a comic book. I bought this one year ago and totally slacked on reading it and posting my review. So now is my time to shine and finally reveal my thoughts on it! So far, this is one of my favourite series of comics in the Batman universe. Is it the best ever? No. Is it a hit or miss set of comics? Yes. But I absolutely love th Batman: A Death in the Family was an amazing collection of comics full of the nerdy Batman I always loved! Every year on my birthday I splurge a little bit and buy myself a comic book. I bought this one year ago and totally slacked on reading it and posting my review. So now is my time to shine and finally reveal my thoughts on it! So far, this is one of my favourite series of comics in the Batman universe. Is it the best ever? No. Is it a hit or miss set of comics? Yes. But I absolutely love the artwork featured within this book. The style alone of how it was written pulls me in to the story and made me want to continue reading it. Add in the bright colours and old style comics and you have me hooked! I love retro/old style Batman, it's my aesthetic for comic books. This set of comics was interesting because back in the day readers got to vote what happened to Robin. That little information alone makes me more interested in this book - can you imagine eagerly waiting for the next comic to know whether or not the general public agreed with you on Robin's fate? That is so intriguing to me (and the results interested me even more). Clearly I need to read the earlier comics featuring Robin to see if I can understand why his fate was so tragic. When you look at the big picture, this was something gigantic that the DC Comics line did. The writers depended on the readers to determine a character's fate. This appears to be a strategic marketing campaign (as this comic and plot line is still famous to this day) but also very problematic. Some people like that the writers left the fate of Robin in the hands of the readers, but others are 100% against it. That sort of background to the story is what pulls me in - it's dramatic and interesting. I find this comic series to be a little more brutal (without spoiling how the death occurs, of course). I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers (teenagers and up are my suggested audience). There is also a little bit of politics in this book as well, which might not be understood by the younger audience if they choose to read it. I do dislike the fact that the ending to this book is given away in the title. It's a really good name, but it also ruins everything for the reader. We know what's going to happen based on the title and the cover page. I'm not sure how they could change this because it is so attention grabbing. My other issue with this book is the plot line - it seemed like the writers rushed into the plot line as a way to simply kill Robin off. Robin is going to find his mother, magically finds her and BAM he's done for. I would have liked to see the Mother storyline expanded a little more and made it meaningful so the death did feel more powerful (especially if they are going to ruin the surprise by making the title "Death in the Family"). On a side note, I always looked up to Batman as a child. Now that I'm an adult and reading this book, I think I've changed my mind. This Batman wasn't the brightest or most helpful in the end. Alfred seemed to be so invested, but Bruce/Batman did not. I plan to pick up a few more comic books to see if this is a writer issue or simply how Bruce/Batman was meant to be in the long run. Four out of five stars!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    My co-worker lent this to me with the Batman: Hush graphic novels and told me to read this first. I followed his suggestion and will admit that knowing this background information helped me to understand Hush. However, I would be hard pressed to find another reason to read this comic, other than the obvious one -- to come to understand why and how Robin died. As for reasons not to read this comic, a few immediately jump to mind. The illustration is dated and unimpressive, the plot is contrived, a My co-worker lent this to me with the Batman: Hush graphic novels and told me to read this first. I followed his suggestion and will admit that knowing this background information helped me to understand Hush. However, I would be hard pressed to find another reason to read this comic, other than the obvious one -- to come to understand why and how Robin died. As for reasons not to read this comic, a few immediately jump to mind. The illustration is dated and unimpressive, the plot is contrived, and at points, borders on absurd -- even for a comic book about masked superheroes. I don't hold the illustration against the comic for two reasons. First, it was made in the 1980's, and this style of illustration is of that time. Second, no matter how bland the illustration is, a good story-line would make up for it. The plot, which I do take issue with, involves Batman's difficulties controlling his second Robin, Jason Todd, who is flying off the handle. Batman is forced to ground Robin and pursues the Joker's latest plot, taking him to the Middle East. The main reason the comic feels so dated is that the Middle Eastern plot involved Cruise Missiles, Lee Ayatolla, and the United Nations. As if that wasn't enough to swallow, at the same time all this is going on, Jason Todd learns his real mother isn't dead, and that she is one of three possibly women, all of which, remarkably, are in the Middle East, which leads him directly to Batman. After reading Batman arcs like Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, I think I just have higher expectations for Batman graphic novels. I would only recommend this to those that are curious about Jason Todd's death or those that plan to read Hush, which is also a much better arc.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    You can find my review on our blog by clicking here. Let’s cut to the chase. If the cover of this trade paperback doesn’t single-handedly give away one of the biggest events in Batman’s history, then something’s wrong. Aside from the fact that Batman : A Death in the Family is considered to be one of the most important reads for comic fans and that the death of a Robin is seldom tragic, this volume was a stunning disappointment. I’ll be frank, I jumped into the volume without prior knowledge of t You can find my review on our blog by clicking here. Let’s cut to the chase. If the cover of this trade paperback doesn’t single-handedly give away one of the biggest events in Batman’s history, then something’s wrong. Aside from the fact that Batman : A Death in the Family is considered to be one of the most important reads for comic fans and that the death of a Robin is seldom tragic, this volume was a stunning disappointment. I’ll be frank, I jumped into the volume without prior knowledge of the story to expect or even the additional content introducing the new Robin—yes, my friends, there are more than one Robin’s out there. Oh, don’t give me that look. With all those different costumes and physical disparities compared to the original Robin, you’re going to tell me that the kid behind the mask was always the same? Batman : A Death in the Family jumps directly into an action scene with an emotional and aggressive Robin who later finds out a truth that will change his purpose in life. With the intention of uncovering the details behind this truth, he sets himself on a journey outside of Gotham while Batman tries to stop the Joker from launches a nuclear disaster. Filled with coincidences in a step-by-step adventure, Jim Starling and friends write up a story with one key moment. A death in the family. The main storyline called A Death in the Family is separated in 4 books. Collecting them all into one, this trade paperback also adds a follow-up story to A Death in the Family in order to introduce a new character into the Batman family. Funny thing about this so-called masterpiece is how Robin’s fate was decided by the public. In fact, there was an advertisement that went around to get people to call and vote for Robin to live or die in this story arc. As tight as the votes were, the decision was made and history was changed. The main attraction to this trade paperback is the gruesome death delivered by Batman’s greatest foe. As much as the story was linear and filled with some of the biggest coincidences, the final scenes related to Robin’s death is nonetheless memorable. The sheer cruelty in the violence and the execution of the murder is simply iconic and will forever be remembered. The narration in this volume was absolutely annoying. Personally, I couldn’t stand Batman’s inner voice. It’s crazy how robotic and systematic it was. To top it off, some of his thoughts were simply unrealistic and over-zealous. To put it out plainly, some things are better off left to be deduced. Readers don’t need a narration that spells out the obvious or one that tries to make Batman sound rational from the inside. Let the actions do the talking. Maybe this comes to down to personal taste, but I felt like the writers tried too hard in trying to explicitly indicate Batman’s thought process, desiring an awe-effect from readers. As if Batman’s calculated and split-second decisions should impress readers on the spot. In the end, the direction the narration went only resulted in a funny-talking Batman who’s desire to push away—while still keeping close—the highly emotional and mourning Robin. For a volume that is proclaimed a ground-breaking classic, I was quite dissatisfied by the storyline. I honestly did not expect the story to take place outside of Gotham most of the time, especially not in Middle East and Africa. This made room for a less serious take on the events and a less appealing story where major characters are killed off. The worse part in all this is the last book in the 4 part story arc. With the arrival of another superhero and a ridiculous political twist to the storyline, I was left brain-dead and mouth open. Thankfully, I was able to reconcile myself by admiring the artwork and remembering myself that I’ve just witnessed one of the biggest events in Batman’s universe. Speaking of the artwork, Batman: A Death in the Family has the colorful and classic style of the old comic age. I’ll always be able to appreciate this art, no matter the story. I was actually quite amused by the looks for Robin (them legs, though). To add more flesh to this skeleton, Batman: A Death in the Family also contains a couple of additional single issues that follow up to the events in the main story arc. Essentially, the additional stories added at the end revolves around the arrival of a new Robin and his rise to the mantle of Batman’s side-kick. What’s fun about this story is the panel-time that the New Teen Titans get. Seeing Cyborg, Starfire and even Raven was quite satisfying. Although readers aren’t given the chance to see them kick-ass or use much of their powers, being able to see their design back in the days is fascinating. The story pertains to finding out where Nightwing has disappeared to, while Batman faces Two-Face in a fight that seems to lead him to defeat. In the meantime, an unknown character tries to find and get Nightwing to help a morally destroyed Batman; after all, he lost Robin. The introduction to this Robin is weak, but interesting. It does make me want to learn more about the character, even if the way he got the “job” could be summed up to blackmail. But hey, to each their own way to success! Although this volume was surprisingly disappointing, it still remains an essential to any Batman fan. It sets the foundation to other story arcs that are much more amazing; yep, I’m looking at you Batman : Under The Hood. This trade paperback is bound to put you on an adventure and discover more about Robin and Batman’s relationship. If the full-page panel showing Batman carrying a bleeding and lifeless Robin doesn’t send chills down your spine, we’re going to have to talk about therapy options. Batman: A Death in the Family is definitely worth reading, and you shouldn’t skip the occasion to see Joker’s plan to sell missiles to terrorists, Robin’s bitter fate, Batman’s misery due to the loss of a partner and plenty of other unpredictable surprises. Yours truly, Lashaan Lashaan & Trang | Bloggers and Book Reviewers Official blog: http://bookidote.wordpress.com ______________________________ If it wasn't for the grand event that makes this story arc a classic, I could definitely knock off a star or two for this trade paperback. The original 4 book story of Death in the Family was such a letdown. From the systematic and robotic narration depicting Batman's rational thoughts to the ridiculous Middle Eastern adventures for Batman and friends, Death in the Family was a overzealous attempt to associate Batman to the "real" world; filled with a bunch of forced coincidences, might I add. The additional comics that tie-in to the original Death in the Family story arc reveals Tim Drake's story and, boy, is that a lame one. If I could sum his story, I'd pretty much call it blackmail. At least this volume had some entertainment value! P.S. A full review to come. Yours truly, Lashaan Lashaan & Trang | Bloggers and Book Reviewers Official blog: http://bookidote.wordpress.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    3.5

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris Gordon

    Wow! I am very impressed at how high in quality A Death in the Family turned out to be. I'll be honest, the stigma of this graphic novel being a bit aged and far before my time initially turned me off to the idea that it could be as worthwhile as some of the contemporary graphic novels I've read and enjoyed. I figured, at most, I would get a decent story out of it and not much more. Boy, was I wrong. Batman: A Death in the Family is by and large one of the best written and most enthralling Batma Wow! I am very impressed at how high in quality A Death in the Family turned out to be. I'll be honest, the stigma of this graphic novel being a bit aged and far before my time initially turned me off to the idea that it could be as worthwhile as some of the contemporary graphic novels I've read and enjoyed. I figured, at most, I would get a decent story out of it and not much more. Boy, was I wrong. Batman: A Death in the Family is by and large one of the best written and most enthralling Batman graphic novels I have read thus far, easily toppling The Dark Knight Returns and The Long Halloween by a lot. The writing by Jim Starlin is fantastic and truly allows the story to play out to its fullest potential. It could have been so easy to ruin a story like this by faking emotions or toning down the seriousness, but everything seemed to work just right in the grand scheme of things. For an older story, I have to give it a lot of credit for not pulling its punches in order to be more reader-friendly. I mean, just look at how Jason Todd was treated all throughout the story; I never could have fathomed the writers being so utterly ruthless! Such unforgiving treatment of a character of this importance made Robin all the more tragic a figure and the story that much more dramatic and entertaining. I equate A Death in the Family with Spider-Man's The Death of Gwen Stacy, for both stories entail the death of a significant character in each respective hero's life, causing a great shift in everything thereafter. However, unlike Spider-Man's story arc, Batman's has much more at play than what can be seen on the surface. For example, the psychology of Batman becomes very important to consider throughout the story, as it helps us to understand why he does what he does, as well as understanding how he feels once this tragedy transpires. A Death in the Family inspires further inquiry into questions such as "Why does Batman put these kids' lives at risk just to have a crime fighting ward at his side?" and, "Did Batman ultimately kill Jason Todd, not the Joker, because of his negligence?" I frequently found myself questioning his mental stability as it related to companionship and loneliness; Batman, for as brilliant as he may be, seems to make the worst decisions when it comes to being a guardian to those he takes in, all for the sake of avoiding loneliness. I'm glad A Death in the Family made me think so deeply about these topics, for it helped me to develop a more profound appreciation for the Batman universe and its characters. Also, how can you not love the Joker's maniacal performance in this graphic novel? To be quite frank, the Joker was much more menacing and interesting in A Death in the Family than he was in the highly regarded, yet criminally overrated, The Killing Joke. Whereas the Joker of Alan Moore's piece was whiny, flustered, and failed to prove his point to Batman and thus came away from the whole ordeal a huge loser, the Joker under Starlin's watch was fun, unpredictable, and remained in charge throughout the story, ending up with a victory over Batman in the most meaningful and horrific way possible. That isn't to say that crippling Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke was a minor event in the DC universe, though I would have to contend that taking the life of your sidekick has to be significantly more demoralizing to Batman's psyche. In short, after looking for a true-to-character Joker performance between several graphic novels, I finally found one worth admiring in A Death in the Family. I can't say that I was the least bit disappointed in A Death in the Family, for it far exceeded my expectations and proved to be a must-read Batman tale. If there was ever a Batman story that deserved all the praise and acclaim it garners, this would be it...not that miserable The Killing Joke travesty everyone so eagerly trips over themselves to applaud...but I digress. Definitely pick this one up if you want to witness a major turning point in Batman's life.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ill D

    Malpractice, kiddie porn, international terrorism! Oh My! Or perhaps should I say, Great Scott? While silly schemes/skullduggery evidenced in the 1960's led Adam West TV serials might have merited such a silly expletives, a more proper exclamation in A Death in the Family would probably be, "Oh [email protected]&*!" Not only are we graced with a hard story but a particularly dark one. And this narrative is darker than the darkest of freshly laid down asphalts. Again we are visited by the eternal Batman and hi Malpractice, kiddie porn, international terrorism! Oh My! Or perhaps should I say, Great Scott? While silly schemes/skullduggery evidenced in the 1960's led Adam West TV serials might have merited such a silly expletives, a more proper exclamation in A Death in the Family would probably be, "Oh [email protected]&*!" Not only are we graced with a hard story but a particularly dark one. And this narrative is darker than the darkest of freshly laid down asphalts. Again we are visited by the eternal Batman and his typical protege, Robin. However, this Robin is particularly twisted and is a far cry from the sunny-eyed one who might cry, "Holy Mackerel Batman!" Indeed, following a usual bad-guy stakeout, the story of A Death in the Family, transcends the paper-thin - Black/White morality of a bygone era. The Golden Age and Silver Age of comics are long gone, and the Modern Age is as grim as the 1980's era it was birthed in. Robin isn't exactly a do gooder, but a real flesh and blood character with equally complex problems to deal with. Following the successful sting operation, Robin continues his melancholic meanderings throughout the streets of Gotham. Through a random chance, he stumbles upon an old tenant-mate who gainfully offers Jason Todd a series of epherma previously owned by his previous parental figures. Within these items are clues to lead him to his true biological mother. The clues are followed and Batman's corollary conflict intertwines nicely; The Joker is up to his old tricks again except this time, he's packing a nuclear warhead!!! This journey takes our heroes, and villians, through the Near East and finally towards Ethiopia. Robin uncovers further dead ends and Batman hunts down the Joker, relentlessly. After a series of very well written and very well executed panels, we finally hit that plot-twist that has haunted/excited Batman fans for the past three decades. In a highly controversial maneuver/business decision made by DC - callers were given the highly rare/unusual choice to decide the fate of Batman's protege. For the Batman faithful, this is old news. For less than devout fans, this might amount to nothing less than blasphemy. And to the casual reader, it represents a stellar plot-twist that no one could have seen coming. In either case, A Death in the Family is a stellar exemplar of the Modern Age of comics in own present era. A Death, is as grim as it is relevant. Depictions of international terrorism with a timely/well-done insertion concerning the Iranian Hostage Crisis added a well-done sense of verisimilitude to the story. No longer is Batman and/or his allies products of an idyllic age but, real depictions that fit into a real era. Likewise the Joker and his hoods as well are no longer products of such a "Golden Age," but byproducts of recent evolution not just in comics but, the historical context as well. Whichever expletives you prefer, Holy Mackeral, Great Scott, or oh [email protected]%#, I'm sure you'll choose the right ones as you read, A Death in the Family. Highly recommended and two big thumbs up. P.S. Mike Mignola did all the four covers. Sweet!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    The "A Death in the Family" is a storyline I'm well familiar with, at least the main beats. I knew, before reading, about Jason-Todd-as-Robin's death, about the being beat with a crowbar, about the Joker's part. Lore-wise, to the Batman-mythos, it is probably the second-most important death to Batman's character arc behind his parents' demise (even if it is a distant second) and though Barbara Gordon's paralysis was a much more....iconic...event, however sour of a taste it leaves in your mouth*, The "A Death in the Family" is a storyline I'm well familiar with, at least the main beats. I knew, before reading, about Jason-Todd-as-Robin's death, about the being beat with a crowbar, about the Joker's part. Lore-wise, to the Batman-mythos, it is probably the second-most important death to Batman's character arc behind his parents' demise (even if it is a distant second) and though Barbara Gordon's paralysis was a much more....iconic...event, however sour of a taste it leaves in your mouth*, and even though in the years since Jason Todd's death have had numerous Robin and Batman deaths and disappearances**, it still remained the storyline that I knew of, figured I knew pretty well, but hadn't actually read. I rectified that, and now feel kind of meh that I did, because this is a case of a magician's trick being a lot less savory when seen in full light of day. Partially, it is the storyline itself. Increasingly angry and unstable Jason Todd finds a box of his dead parents' papers (thanks to a helpful neighbor who just happens to be in the right place at the right time). In it, he learns that his mother-assumed might not be his mother-in-reality and based on his father's address book and the fact that his real mother's first name started with S, tracks down the three women that might be a match. All three of which are in The Middle East and Africa. Then, to toss in another improbable coincidence on top of the first two, the Joker just so happens to be going to the same place and meeting up with two of them women at the exact same time in a plotline involving a stolen cruiser missile and stolen relief supplies. Which leads Batman, in improbable instance number four, to track him down and run into Jason Todd and team up with him. Not only do you have some heavy-handed depictions of the region - 0nly Bruce Wayne's comments on the starvation in Ethiopia, where he basically says that he'll donate money to the cause and then forget about it because how could he handle it otherwise, a biting take on handling the atrocities of the world from the comfort of distance, being anything like thoughtful - but you also have a meaningless romp around interchangeable locales as femme fatale types are confronted and are found out to not be Todd's mother. Then he finds his mother, and again the Joker is there, and Batman has to choose between helping Todd or saving rescue workers, and Todd is killed in an explosion after being crowbar whipped in a scene that probably should have impacted the reader more (no pun intended) than it managed, being as it was told so...lifelessly (again, no pun intended). Only this is the first half because after that, the Joker is hired to be the ambassador of Iran simply so the Iranian government can get away with mass murder with that most-80s-canard (behind, slightly, only jokes about losing your left sock in the dryer): diplomatic immunity. That's right, in a story about the death of a teenage superhero due in part to the neglect by his costumed mentor, his death ends up taking backseat to a dumb plot involving the United Nations and the Joker wearing stereotypical Bedouin robes so that evil Iranian government can stage a murderous rampage without...incident? Hell if I know what any of this was supposed to pretend to be, but reasonable storyline it wasn't. The four issues of "A Death in the Family" are generally a dud filled with stereotypes, a plodding-despite-being-brief travel plotline, a death that should have mattered but barely did, and just generally nothing to show for it (the Batman-on-a-rampage story-arc, in the follow-up issues, is skipped though probably would have made a fair inclusion to at least deal with the death). The other ick factor to the whole thing is that Jason Todd's death was actually voted on by fans. There was a pair of 1-900-phone-numbers that you could call, at $0.50 a call, and vote for the death of Todd or to have Todd live. It's like an ending of Peter Pan where, instead of clapping, audience members could pay to bring Tinkerbell back to life or to kill her and the biggest cash vote decided the outcome. The readers voted to kill Todd, which illustrates the shoddiness of the whole gambit: since the output of the story would require these to be made in advance, essentially Todd's living or dying was effectively unimportant for the next couple of issues and the only difference would be whether or not to include, presumably, shots of Todd in a hospital bed or in a casket. This edition, though, saves itself somewhat by having a jump-ahead to "A Lonely Place of Dying", the Batman/New Titans cross-over that introduced Tim Drake as the next Robin and also dealt fairly head-on with Batman/Nightwing's relationship and the concept of Batman & Robin as a symbol. Though some of that ends up with comic book winks to the audience (and there are storyline threads not completed in the contained issues), it is a much better story and does an ok, not great job, of introducing Tim Drake (who shortly after would get embroiled in the somewhat tortuously overwrought Knightfall-arc). "A Death in the Family" - a weak two-stars. "A Lonely Place of Dying" - a fair three-stars, if for nothing else reminding me at that the time the Titans were having better storylines than the main Batman issues. Average for this edition, something like a 2.5, but I'm rounding up to 3 to account for the general importance to Batman-lore. Recommendation: Skip it, probably, and go straight to the Under the Red Hood story-arc, which does a much better job of talking about Todd's death and Batman's reaction to it. * Even without the unnecessary threat-of-sexual-violence aspects of the quasi-canonical*** The Killing Joke,the fact that Barbara Gordon was paralyzed so long in a world in which virtually every other victim of violence except Batman's parents have come back, including the Batman himself recovering from paralysis only a few years later in the Knightfall story-arc, sours much of the potential positives of Barbara-Gordon-as-Oracle representing the overcoming of disability. ** Batman has been fake-dead at least twice and every Robin has had a death-and-return storyline, some I'm pretty sure more than once. *** Quasi-canonical because the last few panels are assumed by some, including me, to be in fact Batman killing the Joker, something that is up for debate and is probably meant to be up for debate.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brooke W.

    As someone who jumped on board with Batman comics during DC's "New 52", this certainly is a must red for the new "Red Hood and the Outlaws" storyline. I have always known about the general premise of the "A Death in the Family" before reading it, but it ended up liking it much better than I predicted. Sure, you can definitely tell that this comic came out in the 80s with it's format and artwork, but it really is a great look at Jason Todd, and reflects to a fantastic degree who he was and what h As someone who jumped on board with Batman comics during DC's "New 52", this certainly is a must red for the new "Red Hood and the Outlaws" storyline. I have always known about the general premise of the "A Death in the Family" before reading it, but it ended up liking it much better than I predicted. Sure, you can definitely tell that this comic came out in the 80s with it's format and artwork, but it really is a great look at Jason Todd, and reflects to a fantastic degree who he was and what he has become today. After reading this, the "Under the Red Hood" story arch has that much more drama behind it. And after reading "A Death in the Family" and "Red Hood and the Outlaws", I can't help but like Jason Todd. He's nothing like Dick Grayson, but I truly believe that if he had been given more time as Robin, and been fleshed out a bit more during his time as Robin, he would have ended up very similar to Damian. This is a must read for all Batman comic-book fans, and one of the classics that helps make sense of Batman storyarchs in the future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I didn't know Tim Drake was named after Tim Burton. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess you learn something new every day. Anyway, I love Tim! He's so adorable and lovable just as the writers intended for him to be. The art is a little off and the writing is a little cheesy, but that's what you should expect from these older comics. The 5 stars are for the story of course: the end of Jason Todd as Robin and the beginning of Tim Drake. This is one of the greatest stories in all of Batman h I didn't know Tim Drake was named after Tim Burton. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess you learn something new every day. Anyway, I love Tim! He's so adorable and lovable just as the writers intended for him to be. The art is a little off and the writing is a little cheesy, but that's what you should expect from these older comics. The 5 stars are for the story of course: the end of Jason Todd as Robin and the beginning of Tim Drake. This is one of the greatest stories in all of Batman history or even superhero comics history in general. How often do you read about such a heart wrenching "Death in the Family"? I'll even look past the awful collar on Nightwing's costume. At least this version of Nightwing doesn't have a mullet. You win some, you lose some. I love how you get such an in depth look into Batman's complicated character and Joker's unending insanity in this collection. Every Batman fan should have a copy of this on their shelves.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was such an utter disappointment, I can't even put into words everything that was wrong with this story. I was going to give it two stars because I did enjoy the first half of it but it honestly doesn't even deserve that. The Joker becomes a UN AMBASSADOR FOR IRAN, let that sink in for a moment. The writing was abysmal and the art was extremely basic. I'm not sure why this has been added to so many "must read" lists.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    Amazing! These books that I've read long ago but have never reviewed, or becoming more and more frequent, and its always the really good ones, what's wrong with me? So to put this short, this is definitely in my top 5 favourite batman stories! Of course it does mark a sad moment in batman comic history, but symbolises one of batmans failures, and proves that even batman can't always save the day! Honestly a very moving story, and one every batman fan has to read!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Javier Muñoz

    Esta es una historia con gran incidencia en la historia de batman, todo un fenómeno mediático en su momento debido a que se dejó en manos de los lectores (mediante una encuesta telefónica) la supervivencia de Jason Todd. La idea de Starlin era que tenía que quitarse de en medio a robin porque no tenía sentido que batman pusiera en peligro constante a un adolescente (hoy en día es aún peor, porque ese adolescente es su hijo, pero bueno, se ve que algunos nunca aprenden la lección) y creó una hist Esta es una historia con gran incidencia en la historia de batman, todo un fenómeno mediático en su momento debido a que se dejó en manos de los lectores (mediante una encuesta telefónica) la supervivencia de Jason Todd. La idea de Starlin era que tenía que quitarse de en medio a robin porque no tenía sentido que batman pusiera en peligro constante a un adolescente (hoy en día es aún peor, porque ese adolescente es su hijo, pero bueno, se ve que algunos nunca aprenden la lección) y creó una historia que sirviera a batman para replantearse la idea de tener un sidekick, a partir de su final Batman seguiría sus aventuras en solitario fuese cual fuese la conclusión. Esta historia sorprende por combinar un estilo de dibujo muy colorista, típico de la época, con unas buenas dosis de violencia y decisiones controvertidas desde el punto de vista moral por parte tanto de batman como de robin, ya no se hacen cómics de batman como este.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chad Jordahl

    Didn't love the first arc, the famous "A Death in the Family." Cheesy and on-the-nose dialog. Limited and highly saturated color palette. I mean I know this was written in a different time (I guess with limited color options) and probably for an audience younger than I am. I guess I prefer modern adult-oriented comics. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the second arc, "A Lonely Place of Dying". Better mystery, better dialog, better art and colors. But can I just say the the two foot tall erect Didn't love the first arc, the famous "A Death in the Family." Cheesy and on-the-nose dialog. Limited and highly saturated color palette. I mean I know this was written in a different time (I guess with limited color options) and probably for an audience younger than I am. I guess I prefer modern adult-oriented comics. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the second arc, "A Lonely Place of Dying". Better mystery, better dialog, better art and colors. But can I just say the the two foot tall erect collar on the Nightwing costume is ridiculous. Sheesh. The artist doesn't even know how to deal with that stupid thing, it's different in every panel.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    There! I’ve finally read it! Batman in the older comics has a much grittier, detective vibe it seems. Or maybe this modern stuff is so different. Good to meet you, Jason Todd. Sorry it ended up like this! Now on to write some fanfiction....

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    not okay

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Okay, this book should be broken into 2 halves because I don't understand why they put it together like this. You get two Robin stories for the price of one! Aw, guys, you shouldn't have. You really shouldn't have. First half: 5 stars Second half: 3 stars Overall: 4 stars The first half is Jason Todd looking for his birth mother and it takes him overseas to Iran and Beirut. At first he thinks it's an intelligence agent, Sharmin Rosen and boy do I wish it was her. She was the nicest of the 3 option Okay, this book should be broken into 2 halves because I don't understand why they put it together like this. You get two Robin stories for the price of one! Aw, guys, you shouldn't have. You really shouldn't have. First half: 5 stars Second half: 3 stars Overall: 4 stars The first half is Jason Todd looking for his birth mother and it takes him overseas to Iran and Beirut. At first he thinks it's an intelligence agent, Sharmin Rosen and boy do I wish it was her. She was the nicest of the 3 options but this story is like 1/4 done so it's not her. The second option is Shiva Woosan and I got a kick out of seeing Cassie's mum. It was awesome seeing her take on Batsy and Batsy realizing he might actually lose against her. The third option wins the worst mum of the year award. Hands down. Dr. Sheila Haywood gets blackmailed by the Joker like 5 minutes after we learn about her. I know this comic is old but you expect me to believe these women just happened to be conveniently close together just as Jason decides to start looking for him? You expect me to believe the Joker knew where Sheila just as Batman fouled his last plans? Yeah, not buying it. Anyway, she's utter garbage and Jason tries to help her. She sells him out and he gets beaten nearly to death with a crowbar. What is it with DC and beating children with crowbars? He still tries to save his mother because he's an amazing person and he places so much emphasis on family. Much like Damian, despite being rough around the edges, they will do anything for their family. He welcomes Sheila immediately so it sucked watching her betray him. He did not deserve to die and I still teared up reading it. The second half of this book is Tim Drake's introduction. My friend Clarissa likes to make fun of me because when I talk about the Batfam, I always say "I love Batfam... but Tim" or "This Batgirl book was awesome... but Tim". I love the Robins... but Tim. Just kidding, he's growing on me but his introduction seemed so out of place in this book. It feels like Jason was barely cold in his grave and the writers were like "Here's Tim! Dry your eyes with this new Robin comic." Like, Jason JUST died. Give it some time. But that's not why this half felt worse than the first. The first half had a pretty easy to follow Joker plot. The second was Two Face having another mental breakdown and there's a lot of panels where Batman and Harvey are just obsessing over each other. It was meant to show how Batman was losing his touch after losing Jason and it was not only all over the place, it was kind of boring. I wanted more of Tim's detective work and Dick's response. The second half took too long to get around to who Tim was going to be to Batman. There's even a subplot where Dick saves Haley's Circus. Don't get me wrong, I love Dick Grayson stories but was this needed? This should've been a separate book. Anyway, this is a recommend because of Jason Todd's importance to the Batfam.

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