The Joker: Death of the Family (The New 52)
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95 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2013
Since the beginning of the New 52, Detective Comics #1 reintroduced the Joker to the masses, and then his face got ripped off in the same issue and he up and disappeared from the DC Universe ever since. But one year later, The Joker has made his return in Batman #13 under the penmanship of Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo in Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family (The New 52). So for a 5-issues series on the Joker, Snyder asked the other writers doing Batman related series if they wanted to make some tie-in issues to the arc, similar to the Batman: Night of the Owls (The New 52). So aside from Batwoman and Batwing, every other Bat-title is involved with this event. Does it add anything to the main event? Not really, but it has its merits.

THE JOKER: DEATH OF THE FAMILY collects the following issues in order. The issues listed are complete unless listed otherwise for the purpose of piecing together the Joker related material for this collection, giving some sense of comprehension.

Part One: Batman
Detective Comics #16-17. Does not include the backup stories and issue #16 is edited.

Part Two: Catwoman
Catwoman #13-14.

Part Three: Harley Quinn
Suicide Squad #14, edited.
Batman #13 backup story.
Batman #13, edited. Only a segment that involves Harley.
Suicide Squad #15, edited.

Part Four: Batgirl
Batgirl #13, edited. Ending only.
Batgirl #14-16.

Part Five: Red Hood and Red Robin
Red Hood & the Outlaws #13, edited. Ending only.
Teen Titans #14, edited. Ending only.
Red Hood & the Outlaws #14, edited. Ending only.
Red Hood & the Outlaws #15.
Teen Titans #15.
Red Hood & the Outlaws #16, edited.
Teen Titans #16, edited.

Part Six: Nightwing
Nightwing #14, edited. Ending only.
Nightwing #15 - 16.

Part Seven: Robin
Batman & Robin #15 - 16.

Conclusion
Batman #17.

Epilogue
Batman & Robin #17.

[For the purpose of the review, I will not grade each issue deeply for the length of the review. I will stick to the event itself.]

THE JOKER: DEATH OF THE FAMILY is a collection of tie-in issues plus Snyder and Capullo's Batman #17and a brief excerpt from the final pages of Batman #13. None of the key chapters of the core Death of the Family tale are here because the key chapters themselves are Snyder's Batman. So if you want the primary story, read Batman volume 3 instead. It is the prime and important part of the entire DOTF story. In fact, the actual starting point for the event is in Snyder's Batman #13 and #14 (you have to wait until Batman volume 3 comes out in two weeks to know that though). So basically, The Joker: DOTF is a collection that serves more as supplemental material for readers who already own Batman, Vol. 3 than an interesting, well-orchestrated tale spanning multiple titles. None the less, what is collected here is quite impressive from DC as they did with their Night of the Owls and Green Lanterns Rise of the Third Army books being a great deal of stories in hardcover and at a decent price is still startling to see and gives people a lot of bang for their buck.

So again, to be clear: Snyder's issues are all in volume 3, so this book is for those who want to expand the event without following the other Bat-families. A good deal of these issues will be in the various Bat-family volume 3's, especially Teen Titans, Red Hood, and Batman & Robin. If you are following those series, you are better off passing on this book and just getting those series with Batman volume 3.

Without giving too much away, I'll give you some idea of the stories presented. Joker goes after each Bat-family character in some shape or form to attack each member mentality and/or physically . Batgirl and Nightwing are some of the best stories and examples of the crossover. Batgirl because of Barbara's history with losing her legs (from the Killing Joke) and actually doing a great job showing her hatred of Joker, while maintaining a cool head of the situation. Nightwing gets assaulted through personal lose of friends and family that is reasonably well done. Damien and Jason Todd/Tim Drake are also good stories as well. Damien has no idea what to think of Joker other then being a clown, but see's firsthand why he really is one of Batman's greatest foes with some great and horrific artwork. And the Red Hood/Teen Titans crossover is basically both groups trying to calm Gotham down which I didn't care too much over, but it's Todd and Drake working together and bonding in a brotherly-like way is the highlight here. While we get to see the dichotomy of Harley Quinn to Jokers new and radical return, but it feels a bit too much. I didn't mind it, but I don't quite feel like it did enough to tie in to the event. While Detective Comics deals with Batman taking on a Joker fan group during the Clown Princes return in the city that was mediocre to me. And the Catwoman issues deal with Joker messing with Catwoman because of her past with Batman. This is the weakest issue because it didn't do anything, it was confusing, and it's too wild.

So in terms of issues, two of the books were note worthy, two were good, and three felt lacking.

As for the packaging itself, I do have to say I'm happy DC marketed this book better than Night of the Owls. By putting Joker instead of Batman as main title, it helps diverge the two, as well as not putting any writers/artist on the front or spine (again, like Night of the Owls did by putting Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo clear as day on the front and spine for people to get confused). So that was a better job on DC's part.

Now the bad. I'm giving this book a 3 star rating for the following reasons. Beyond the usual banter of some tie-ins being a bit lackluster and questionable why they are here and how they are affiliated with this event. Again, Catwoman and Detective Comics (even maybe Harley) might not have needed to be included for this event because they do no add much. Those three series do much better on their own. Batman #13 and #14 setup the event (again, they're in Batman volume 3), so you have to wait two weeks to understand some of the setup in this book. (Sidenote: DC was supposed to be release Batman volume 3 before Joker:DOTF by two weeks so this wouldn't happen, but it did and we now have to wait two more weeks until then).

The big factor to me why the score is 3 stars is the repetitive nature of Joker and way too fanatical way of Joker dealing with every Bat-member at one time. The Night of the Owls event at least was timed out throughout the night with each member getting their own Talon warrior, as well as each writer making their own Talons different from one another. Here, Joker personally takes on each member. I'm sorry, but that is just too far fetch to believe that Joker can do that or any other super villain be at more then one place at a time. It makes it seem hokey. And because Joker is in every series, you might get bored of him being here. He pops in and monologues his characters to death. It takes the thrill of seeing Mr. J on screen, basically harming Joker as a threat and pleasure to see.

And finally, do not read Batman #17 or Batman & Robin #17: epilogue until you've read Batman volume 3. REPEAT: DO NOT READ BATMAN #17 AND BATMAN & ROBIN #17 AT THE VERY END. They both give away the ending, so wait a few weeks. And for the people buying Batgirl volume 3, that too has Batman #17 in it, so wait it out.

So, THE JOKER: DEATH OF THE FAMILY is a nice companion book to Scott Snyder's Batman volume 3, once it comes out and if you choose to buy it to get the whole event, which is not necessary. It has some good stories, great art, and a lot of material in hardcover for the price...but the scattered stories, repetitive nature of Joker, and far fetched idea of Joker taking on every Bat-member is hard to swallow. If you are getting Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family and enjoy it and want to expand upon it, or if you're a completionist and desperately want every chapter good or bad then you can give this book a shot. If you read Batman volume 3 and already reading the other Bat-titles, then skip this book altogether and get those series in their own trades when they come out. Or get Batman volume 3 and not get this book. It is up to you what you want to do with your decision.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2013
Let me preface my review by stating that this book is a COMPANION piece to the brilliant Batman Death Of The Family storyline which ran in BATMAN Comics #13-17. In order to fully enjoy the story, you need to pick up the BATMAN: DEATH OF THE FAMILY Hardcover which reprints those issues in their entirety. I wish I could give details of the storyline, but that would spoil things for you. All I will say is that Joker has never been more sick and twisted or nastier!
That being said, THE JOKER: DEATH OF THE FAMILY is still a damned good book which follows in much more depth Batman's supporting cast as Death Of The Family takes place. It gives us a broader view of the Batman Universe and the tie-in stories leading up to the concluding events in BATMAN Comics #17 - which is also reprinted in this book.
If you enjoy BATMAN: DEATH OF THE FAMILY or are just a Joker fan, I highly recommend this book. The various writers and artists did a fantastic job of expanding the storyline and you will not be disappoined. One last point...
Batman plays only a minor role in this book. The focus here is on the Batman family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2015
Joker: Death of the Family is a 450-page behemoth of a mediocre cross-over event. Here's how it's basically structured:

-Batman: Detective Comics #16 and #17: It starts out well, although I'd already read the unedited versions of these comics in Detective Comics, Vol. 3. This really is a great little story, and it comes highly recommended.
-Catwoman: Catwoman #13 and #14: Meh.
-Harley Quinn:[/b[ Suicide Squad #14, part of Batman #13, and Suicide Squad #15: This is a good little story, although it doesn't feature much of the Suicide Squad. It's mostly Harley Quinn, the Joker and Batman. Recommended.
-[b]Batgirl: Batgirl #13 through #16 (#13 edited): Competent and readable, but nothing special.
-Red Hood and Red Robin: Red Hood and the Outlaws #13, Teen Titans #14, Red Hood and the Outlaws #14 and #15, Teen Titans #15, [/i]Red Hood and the Outlaws[/i] #16, and Teen Titans #16: This heavily edited and redacted section loses the flow of the original stories. I had read Red Hood and the Outlaws, Vol. 1, but I hadn't read Teen Titans, so I didn't know who the characters were. Yes, a few things worked in this redaction, but I was left confused and bored. Not recommended.
-Nightwing: Nightwing #14 through #16: I like Nightwing, and I've read the first four trade paperbacks of his series. I liked the Joker story, but it wasn't something you really have to read.
-Robin: Batman and Robin #15 and #16: I do like Damian Wayne. I didn't love this story.
-Conclusion: Batman #17: This is the heart of the story, and it's good.
-Epilogue: Batman and Robin #17: A neat series of dream sequences. Good.

I bought this series thinking that instead of buying Batman, Vol. 3, I could spend a couple of dollars more and get stuff that I hadn't read. The only problem is that not all of Batman, Vol. 3 is included. If I had this to do over again, I would have just bought the Batman trade paperback. Not recommended. **
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2013
Brilliant, brilliant storyline! The new Joker is dark, wicked, vicious and the stuff nightmares are made of. Collected here are all the issues from the various series that contributed to the "Death of the Family" story arc. I've read most of those series separately so not much in this book was new to me, but having the complete story together in one place made for fantastic reading. This is a big book and I lingered over it taking a few days to read it delighting over seeing the story put together cohesively like this. I have never liked the Joker as a villain having read/watched him portrayed in the classic campy style too often; however, this New 52! Joker, with his attached face, is absolutely frightening and I adore him! This is a must read for any Batman fans whether you are following any of these series or not. It stands alone as a nice read, though it does have ambiguous endings. If you own all/most of the series included here either in comic or trade format you may not wish to own this book due to the fact that you will be duplicating material you already have but in all honesty, I own several of these in trades and I think this is a wonderful collection devoted specifically to the Joker story line. I know I'll be pulling this one off the shelf to re-read more often than I will each of the specific trade volumes. Depends on whether you are in a Joker mood or a Batman/Nightwing/Batgirl/etc. mood!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2013
I gave this a 3/5, not because the stories in here are poor, but the fact that the Death Of the Family cross over is missing some VERY key issues in this book makes it pretty poor. I am fine that this book contains issues that are edited to only contain plot points needed for this storyline which is fine. (Suicide Squad issues edited out the drama of the rest of the squad and only left the Harley Quinn bits and THAT makes sense.) You can get Suicide Squad Vol. 3 if you care about that side of the story, which I did already get. WHAT doesn't make sense is the Batman Snyder issues were LEFT out of this book except for the last issue. WHY? IDK! The last issue makes NO sense without the other 3, in fact they include the MOST important plots for this storyline, since Snyder was the main writer for the over-arching plot. The only reason that comes to mind is to FORCE people to buy Vol. 3 of Batman. (I would have gotten it regardless personally, and still am BUT I was hoping The Joker: Death of the Family would have the Complete storyline featuring all the crossover issues (editing out the other plots that don't go with DOTF which I'm glad they did!) and the MAIN issues. I honestly am disappointed in DC for doing this because it would have been GREAT to have all issues in one HUGE collection even if they charged 10 to 15 dollars more it would be worth it. What we got? A clear money grab and a "please give us MORE money for the whole story. Also, it shouldn't say the main writer is Scott Snyder (he only has an edited short issue and one full issue in the WHOLE collection, instead of the four he DID do, which they left out. Honestly, everything else was great about this book, it's just disappointing that they couldn't include the other Batman issues and have the WHOLE storyline worked out in ONE book. Maybe in the future they will do a special edition to collect all issues like myself and I'm sure other fans want some day. Until then this gets a 3/5.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2014
A quality collection of the Death of the Family story line. Even the weaker books included in this arc are enjoyable. A great conpanion piece for Batman Vol 3 if you are not following the other DC titles
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2013
It's a miss. Don't bother, I rated it a three stars because it gave a good "background" story to what was happening during Batman: Death of the Family book. But, honestly, I was bored most of the time reading some of the stories. The art rates from being "eh" to "good".

I recommend it to those who enjoy reading it and want to know more about additional details to the overall plot. But you can skip this book if you don't want to spend so much money on it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2015
One of the best books of the New 52. After Court Of Owls, I didn't know where they would take Batman but let me tell you, they topped it with Death of the Family. Joker is more twisted than ever, I found myself constantly asking myself if it was maybe someone else pretending to be the Joker because of the things he does being so insane but in the end it all makes sense. Definitely a must read, even more so than Court of Owls which I LOVED!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2014
Hopefully my title doesn't give to much away to the story! But I started reading this because I'm following the "Teen Titans" and even before I bought volume 3 for them I knew that I wanted to read this whole storyline in its entirety. And I'm so glad I did! At first I thought Batman was a little played out after Nolan's Trilogy; I loved the movies, just wanted to take a break from Batman before I got into the New 52, but after reading this whole crossover I want to know what happened before and after to Batman, Batman and Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws and how it's going to effect Red Robbins leadership of the Teen Titans.
Without going to far into the story Joker spends his time tearing each of the Bat-Family with the idea that they have made Batman weak and wanting to have him all for himself.
If I was to give advice make sure you read this with an open mind because the Death Of the Family isn't what you're going to expect and it will make you wonder at the end, did The Joker win...or did he just screw with all of our minds...
Good luck! =D
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2014
This has to be one of the greatest Batman family stories I've ever read. This story kept me wanting more every step of the way.
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