Thursday 27th November 2014,
Comic Booked

Death of the Family Event: Detective Comics #16

Jeff Hill 01/15/2013 Reviews

Death of the Family Crossover
John Layman, Jason Fabok, Andy Clarke

Spoiler alert! You have been warned!

At its core, this issue is simply a filler issue, getting us from point A to point B. Not a bad one, but definitely not a great one or even a memorable one at that. John Layman is unquestionably one of the better writers in the industry right now, so the dialogue and storytelling is solid. The art of Jason Fabok in the main feature and Andy Clarke in the backup story are good. But this issue seemed to kind of be just another part of a longer issue. And nothing really seemed to happen. The story is pretty much the whole city going crazy and being overrun with Joker gangsters and Joker imposters and Joker wannabes. They’re seemingly just popping up out the woodwork and the next one is just as weird or even weirder than the previous incarnations, which is amusing, but also not something new. We’ve seen it done time and time again, and frankly, done better.

Detective Comics 16 Picture 2

One thing that I did like was the fact that the cast is getting larger and larger and the plot is indeed advancing forward, even though it seems a little slow for my liking. But one thing that definitely rubbed me the wrong way was the scene near the end where the Joker gang’s leader, who turns out to just be a scared kid, cuts his own face off out of fear of becoming the Joker and becoming a monster. The scene in itself did not bother me. It was what happened next. He was, in essence, a typical lost soul of Gotham City who just wanted to belong and got into a bad crowd. He even lets the hostages go, in a sense doing Batman’s job for him. And I get that Batman isn’t emotional, but we get thought bubbles and monologue boxes to reveal his real thoughts, which were honestly, uncharacteristic and unfeeling, even for him. Bats would feel pity. And sorrow. And realistically, he wouldn’t think things like “idiot kid.” Any good Batman writer (or even good Batman fan) would know that. It seems trivial, but one moment of bad characterization almost ruined the whole issue for me. Almost. But not quite.

Part of me wants more Joker, and part of me is already over this Emperor Penguin guy, but to be completely honest, an even bigger part of me is somewhat impressed with Layman’s ability to tell a story about the Joker without him actually being in it. Needless to say, I’m interested to see where this goes. And man, do I hope Joker kills all of these new ridiculous characters sooner rather than later. I mean, come on. Did you get a look at the new Penguin’s gang? They almost deserve to die just for looking that stupid. Can’t wait to see how they croak.

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About The Author

Jeff Hill is a moderately reformed frat boy turned writer/teacher living the dream in Lincoln, Nebraska. He does freelance work and writes fiction, none of which is about corn or the husking of corn. His work has appeared in over a dozen publications and his mom has a binder full of printed copies for any doubters. Plus, he's the Chief Creative Officer of Comic Booked. So that's pretty neat, too.

  1. Scorp_Moonopoly 01/15/2013 at 8:27 pm

    A Joker story with no Joker, interesting take.

    • jeffhillwriter 01/15/2013 at 9:31 pm

      It was, but two issues in, I'm starting to wonder if we're ever going to get a Layman/Fabok/Clarke interpretation of the villain.

  2. Christian_J 01/15/2013 at 9:17 pm

    There's nothing worse than a filler that truly goes no where, but also adds in a slew of ridiculous looking/acting characters.

    • jeffhillwriter 01/15/2013 at 9:35 pm

      Yeah. Seems kind of pointless to me as well. Here's to hoping that he's got something bigger planned.

      • NickFurious 01/16/2013 at 12:59 am

        Filler issues. Worst thing ever.

        • jeffhillwriter 01/16/2013 at 10:35 pm

          Unfortunately a necessary evil, though. Usually.

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