Death in the Family follows the demise of Batman's second Robin, Jason Todd. What's unique about this comic is that it gave fans the opportunity to call a 900 number and influence the story. Will Jason Todd survive or be brutally murdered? You decide... well that is if you lived in the late 80's when the comic was first published.
As of late, Jason Todd's relationship with Batman has been on the rocks. Deliberately disobeying orders, keeping to himself, and charging into battle with almost no consideration for his own life.
Batman decides that he turned Jason into Robin too early. The boy is still dealing with the untimely death of his parents. As a result, Batman relieves Jason from his duty, which obviously doesn't go well as the boy wonder storms out of Bruce Manor. Within Jason's sabbatical, he discovers that the mother who raised him was not his real mother. The young Robin goes on a quest around the world to discover the only potential family member alive.
Meanwhile, The Joker has escaped from Arkham and is on the prowl once again. Batman's nemesis is low on funds and moves into the global black market in order to make a buck for his next big bang.
The comic was surprisingly darker than I expected. Through Batman's point of view we experience his uncompromising rage for his nemesis. Despite the fact that hundreds lay in the wake of The Joker's destruction, Batman goes beyond his "one rule" and vows to no longer show Joker mercy.
There are also darker political themes weaved throughout the story. Abortion, Lebanese Civil War, Arab-Israeli conflict,
Death in the Family is a critical comic in the overall Batman story arc. When reading the Batman comics of today there are many references to the events that play out within these pages. The death of Jason Todd brings a whole new level of rage to Batman's rivalry with The Joker.
There are many things I loved about this story. I loved the Batman Superman interaction. I loved how dark the story got and how many underlying themes there are. As always, I loved the perspective through Batman's eyes as he witness the downward spiral of Todd and ultimately death.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read and appreciate the new level brought to the Batman universe, even if I am a little late in picking it up. Highly recommend.