Sunday, October 13, 2013

Batman, Volume 3: Death of The Family

 OK, so it's been a year since The Joker had The Dollmaker slice his face off in the abysmal first issue of Tony Daniels' DETECTIVE COMICS, and not just in "real life"....It seems that a year has passed in Gotham City, as well. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's BATMAN, VOLUME 3: DEATH OF THE FAMILY sees The Clown Prince of Crime return from his exile to exact his chilling revenge on Batman's friends, associates, and loved ones. More after the jump....

 This is the third volume of Scott Snyder's BATMAN that I've read in a little over a month, and I have to wonder: What is the big deal about him? People are acting like his run on the book is the second coming, and while I think it's absolutely better than average, I'll also throw in that there's nothing all that special about it. I picked up the first issue of his Vertigo series, AMERICAN VAMPIRE when it was first released, mainly because Stephen King was doing the backup feature, and I dropped it after that first read. Neither Snyder or King did much for me on that outing. I tried it again, when the first volume was released in hardcover, and while I thought it was a decent collection, I wasn't moved to return for volume 2, especially without King being involved. Personally, I think that "The New 52" is such a poor crop of books that Snyder has become a star by default, mainly by virtue of not sucking as bad as most of the other creators involved.

 I'll refrain from my usual bitching about not understanding the timeline of this rebooted Universe one single iota. OK, one little bit of bitching: "The New 52", to my understanding, started 5 years after Superman revealed himself to the public. So, in five years (Six years, now, based on the fact that The Joker has been missing for a year....?) Bruce Wayne has:
Become Batman.
Joined The Justice League
Adopted Dick Grayson.
Trained him to become Robin.
            (And he has since become Nightwing.)
Trained Jason Todd to become another Robin.
            (Who was later killed by The Joker, and somehow magically resurrected to become The Red    
              Hood.)
Trained Barbara Gordon to become Batgirl.
            (Who was shot and paralyzed by The Joker, got better, and is now Batgirl again.)
Met Ra's Al Ghul and Talia.
Impregnated Talia.
Had a Son with Talia.
       (Damian Wayne, who has magically aged to become around 11 or 12, and is yet ANOTHER 
        Robin.)
Met and trained Tim Drake.
         (Who may or may not have been still ANOTHER Robin, and is now "Red 
           Robin". Yummmmmm.)
Alao, he's had time to bug just about every possible place in Gotham City, so he can spy on everyone and everything in town.

 This has been a busy five or six years.

 Anyway, I digress.....

 The Joker comes back, and boy, is he angry! And effeminate! Maybe Batman and The Joker should just get a room, already.

 There's a lot of murder and mayhem, including DC's mandatory gruesome dismemberments, and Snyder also throws in two-headed Lion cubs and flaming Horses, for good measure. Don't let your kids read DC Comics, people! You'll thank me when they aren't in Therapy.
                                             Aww, idn't he da tweetest ting....?

 Snyder lays on the doom and gloom, making this one of the more overtly horrific Batman stories that I've ever read. Capullo's art compliments Snyder's gruesome text perfectly, and this will certainly live on as one of the better Batman/Joker battles in recent memory, but at the end of the day, I'm still no closer to discovering just why DC felt the need to skin The Joker in the first place. A neat new idea? Sure. But where do you go from there? Is he going to stay like this forever....? Highly doubtful. So how are you going to explain it when he goes back to his old look? Does anyone at DC even think about these things? I'd venture to say the answer to that question is "No." Snyder's story is massive in scope, but strains credibility to the max.....The Joker's secret takeover of Arkham Asylum is especially implausible. I'm no fan of wanton death in comics, but it also boggled the mind to think that The Joker could capture ALL of Batman's "Family", and every one of them emerges unscathed. I can accept that, based on the places where Snyder takes the Batman/Joker symbiosis in this volume, but I can't quite buy into it.

 BATMAN, VOLUME 3: DEATH OF THE FAMILY collects BATMAN issues 13-17, which is the hub of yet another massive "New 52" crossover. I have the related books, but this collection told a complete enough story that I can assume that none of them are essential reading in order to understand the main story.

 DC Comics provided a review copy.