Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
I truly hate to say it, but this issue unfortunately starts off with a nearly fatal flaw on the first page. Love him or hate him, people are picking up this book for one character and one alone: Jason Todd. And though we get an awesome cover with a Jokerized version of the Red Hood, the issue is not only narrated by one of his teammates (Arsenal), but doesn’t even feature the main character. So, in a sense, this is a Teen Titans team-up issue, featuring Arsenal and Starfire kicking some Jokerized Gothamite ass while Joker does god-knows-what to dear old Jason.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is not a bad issue by any means. It is actually a quite good one. The script of Scott Lobdell is solid, with just the right amount of humor injected into a pretty serious story about Joker distracting Red Robin’s Teen Titans and Red Hood’s Outlaws, while he lurks behind the scenes and does other villainous acts. The art of Timothy Green II is also notably above average for such an underrated and often times ignored sleeper hit title such as this. I actually think it is quite amazing that Lobdell has been guiding a crossover within a crossover here over the last couple of months, all while continuing to plant seeds for future stories and wrap up loose ends from past stories. He is reminding us one issue at a time why we loved him so much over at Marvel in the 1990s. I especially enjoyed a nice cameo appearance by the demented Dr. Hugo Strange at his book signing, even if it was just a short page that seems to only be a teaser of things to come. It shows that Lobdell still loves to tell larger than life stories and isn’t afraid to take his time doing so.
I feel that the greatest strength of this title, much like that of Teen Titans, was and always has been the scripting of Scott Lobdell. He truly understands how to write a team book and make everyone seem realistic. But the two flaws in this particular issue are the lack of Jason’s narrative that I have grown so accustomed to over these last sixteen months and the lack of a threatening Joker presence until the final page. Much like my disappointment with the last issue of Teen Titans, I am remaining optimistic that the finale will make up for the seemingly choppy issues here and there by the end. I don’t know what Joker has planned for the Bat family, but I know this: It’s going to be worth the wait.