Death of the Family

Red Hood and the Outlaws #16

by Alan Rapp on January 25, 2013

in Comics

Red Hood and the Outlaws #16With both teams missing their leader Arsenal and Starfire help the Teen Titans take on a Jokerized mob. Writer Scott Lobdell continues the current trend of having Arsenal, not the Red Hood, be the voice of the book (of course he kinda has to do that this month as the Red Hood doesn’t appear in his own book). The issue is actually one of the better Death of the Family tie-ins. Of course that’s not saying much.

Arsenal comes up with a plan to find the antidote for the Joker Venom (in such a way that made absolutely no sense to me, no matter how many times I re-read the panels). While he and Bunker keep the mob at bay the rest of the team retrieve the supplies (something Kid Flash probably could have done quicker on his own, but oh well).

Aside from the main story, and its logic problems, Lobdell throws in tons of extras including a glimpse of the person responsible for getting Roy off of heroin (it ain’t Ollie), and the foreshadowing of not one but two DCU baddies coming their way once the Death of the Family crossover concludes.

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Batman and Robin #16

by Alan Rapp on January 22, 2013

in Comics

Batman and Robin #16In the latest Death of the Family crossover a captured Damian is pitted against a Joker-Venom-enhanced Batman in a battle to the death as the Joker gleeful watches to see how far the deadly new Boy Wonder will go to save his own skin.

Of course it’s not really Batman under that cowl. Something that is all too obvious to the reader isn’t even considered for a moment by the New 52‘s smartest 10 year-old. The Joker doesn’t get the outcome he wants, but he is able to torment Damian in yet another pointless crossover issue that feels more like a Saw-inspired Batman parody than an actual Bat-book.

There’s plenty of gruesome action here. And the comic has one highlight where the far too dim Damian makes a concious effort not to kill the man he believes is his father. Sadly it’s too little, too late. Pass.

[DC, $2.99]

Batman #16

by Alan Rapp on January 18, 2013

in Comics

batman-new-52-16-coverAnd I’m done. Writer Scott Snyder built up an extreme amount of good will with me with his terrific run on Detective Comics before the New 52 reboot. Shifting over to Batman with the launch of New 52 he’s delivered some individually strong issues but several forgettable and some downright bad issues as well. None, however, have lowered the bar more than Batman #16.

I’ve argued often that the entire New 52 seems to have been made off the gritty and hugely popular Arkham Asylum video game. DC proves me correct in this issue where it actually becomes Arkaham Asylum as the Dark Knight enters a Joker-controlled Arkham to stop the madman’s latest plans.

The Death of the Family issues dealing directly with the Joker have only gotten worse as the months have dragged on, finally hitting rock bottom here in this NC-17 horror fetish fantasy that’s so far removed from classic Batman stories it’s nearly unrecognizable. For those who enjoy it I’m leaving it to you. Mr. Snyder thanks for the memories, but I’m getting off this particular roller coaster with this issue. Pass.

[DC, $3.99]

Detective Comics #16

by Alan Rapp on January 12, 2013

in Comics

detective-comics-new-52-16-coverBy far the best issues of Death of the Family have kept the Joker at arms length. Last month’s issue of Detective Comics provided an intriguing tale of Clayface and Poison Ivy that was the best issue of the comic I’ve read since the reboot. This month takes on the Joker’s reign of terror more directly but, thankfully, the Face-Off version of the Clown Prince of Crime never makes an appearance.

Detective Comics #16 features Batman working overtime stopping all the Joker gangs and cults which have sprung up since the madman’s return. Some these include only dumb kids, but some, like the new “League of Smiles,” are leaving a trail of bodies. The back-up story features more of the self-proclaimed Emperor Penguin putting together his own criminal empire by killing the competition in a way that makes it look like nothing more than part of the Joker’s latest craziness.

I’m not sure about the reveal of the Merrymaker, the villain apparently pulling the strings of the League of Smiles, but this is again a really good Batman comic – something in short supply since the launch of the New 52. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

Teen Titans #15

by Alan Rapp on January 9, 2013

in Comics

teen-titans-new-52-15-coverLike pretty much every other issue of Death of the Family, Teen Titans #15 is a mess that makes less sense the more you read it. Once again we get the Joker capturing a member of the Bat Family (this time Red Robin) and torturing him by saying (but once again failing to offer a single piece of evidence) that he knows the identities of every member of the Bat brood.

For no reason that makes any sense, the Joker dresses Red Robin in his classic Robin costume before talking at him non-stop for the rest of the issue. Meanwhile, the rest of the Teen Titans reach out to Batgirl for help now that they are lost in Gotham without their leader.

Although Batgirl proves less than helpful (as she tells them, as nicely as possible, to fuck off and deal with their own issues), the team does run into Arsenal and Starfire, seeking out their own member of the Bat Family, as the issue catches up with the final page of Red Hood and the Outlaws #15. I’m so ready for this crossover to end. Hit and Miss.

[DC, $2.99]