Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Poor Damian Wayne. It certainly looks bleak for our young Robin, doesn’t it? We’ve got him fighting a Jokerized Batman at the behest of the onlooking Joker, who is appearing extra creepy these days with Patrick Gleason’s pencils revealing a true monster beneath a decaying, barely attached face. Especially as he watches with his head ever-so-slightly tilted, making him look even more inhuman than he did in the last issue. Not to mention the fact that the first half of this issue features a fight at the bottom of a cage in the Gotham Zoo, covered with all sorts of disgusting bugs and other gross little creepy crawlers. After all, robins eat bugs, so Joker, never one to miss an opportunity for a pun or bad joke, has so gracelessly pointed out to our junior member of the new Dynamic Duo.
Peter Tomasi’s pacing is that of a pro. The fight continues and escalates quite quickly, which makes sense when you have two of the world’s deadliest crime fighters at one another’s throats. Joker narrates while Damian tries to reason with his father, explaining that Batman never gave up on him, so he refuses to give up on Batman. It gets brutal quickly, and the violence eventually begins to consume young Damian. All the while, the demon clown is taunting him from not too far away, explaining that it is a kill or be killed situation and Damian has to make a choice and accept who he is or be defeated. Either way, the Joker wins.
So Damian does the one thing that we’ve been wanting him to do from the very beginning. He gives in to his humanity. He lets Batman deliver the final blow. Better to die a hero than to become a monster, so to speak. But that blow does not come, because Joker pulls the plug on Batman, shooting him in the back, killing him… Or at least, that’s what we were led to believe. But it was actually Toshiro Matsu, someone who owed Joker a favor apparently. Which is my one complaint with this issue because, in all honesty, I have absolutely no idea who this character is and don’t really understand why Damian couldn’t recognize that this wasn’t his father. But before I can care too much, the Joker was leading Damian into a cavern and changing into his traditional purple suit, then serving him an entrée, which we’re all led to believe is probably a vital body part of one of Damian’s family. Good stuff. Good, creepy stuff. A well done (if not convoluted) fight sequence, some classic Joker lines here and there, and a cliffhanger ending. What’s not to like?
My Rating: 4/5