Artist: Pat Gleason
Overall I have been enjoying this series, bit recently it's been poor, and not as good as it used to be. I have been hoping that the series will get better after joining the Death of the Family crossover, and it has, but not quite as much as I hoped it would.
This issue sees Robin (Damian Wayne) meet the Joker for the first time. Whilst following a lead he is captured by the Joker who tries to torment him, whilst playing his sick game.
This was a good issue, and a decent start to Robin's involvement in Death of the Family. It's also much better than the previous story but does have room for improvement. Peter J. Tomasi has done a brilliant job of introducing Damian into the Death of the Family, and I loved how he wrote his interaction with the Joker. I still think that the overall plot could have been a little bit better, and with only another issue in the story I feel that this issue spent to much time with Damian and Joker talking than actually developing the plot. He also did a brilliant job of showing the symbolism of Batman and Robin in this issue, which was done in a brilliant way, but I'll talk more about that later.
I wasn't too sure what to make of Patrick Gleason's art in this issue, as it's very inconsistent. Overall I've enjoyed his art throughout this series, and think it suits the tone of the series. I especially like how he draws Damian. I also liked how he drew Joker at certain points during this issue, but didn't at others. Joker looked very graphical at points, which I liked, and with the maggots around about him he looked even more gruesome. What I didn't like however was at times, with wider panels having him a bit further in the distance how he looked very cartoon like, and not the gruesome Joker that was in other parts of the issue. It was this inconsistency that I didn't like, and it was that bad I was starting to question whether I liked his art overall. I did however barely like his art overall but hope that he loses these inconsistencies, as he's had quite a lot over the last few issues.
The way Joker was introduced into this issue was very good, and I loved how due to him hanging upside down that he had his face on upside down. This showed the unpredictability of Joker as well as him being mental unstable. I thought it was brilliant and the most unique thing that's been done with the mask. I'm surprised that no one has thought of including the mask in a more interesting way earlier in the issue, as a man with no face, and a mask of his former face just screams for material. It was also fun seeing Joker's eyes popping out of his lips, and parts of his teeth showing through his eye holes, and although you couldn't see his facial expressions clearly, his face being upside down added shade in area's that wouldn't usually have it, giving more tone, and mood to the character.
There was also a part of this issue where Joker referenced the events of Batman: The Killing Joke when he was talking about sharing a joke with Batman in the rain. If this statement alone wasn't enough to show that it was referencing Killing Joke, Damian replies by saying, "if your [Joker's] idea of a good time is paralysing an innocent girl," referring to Joker shooting Barbara Gordon. Killing Joke is my favourite Batman story of all time so I always like a Killing Joke reference, and this is no exception. I also enjoyed how this was a slightly different reference to the ones we've seen in the last few years, as it talks about the classic joke that both Joker and Batman laughed to at the end of the book. The way Damian interacted with Joker overall was interesting, and although it dragged on at certain points I loved how Damian stood his ground, and wasn't intimidated by Joker.
Joker also used an actual Bat and Robin to symbolise the differences between Batman and Robin, and why they shouldn't be a team. Although the differences between Batman and Robin have been mentioned in the past but this is a very different look on it. Cause Joker uses the actual animals to show the difference, I personally feel that it get's the message across a lot clearer, and although it was a bit disgusting I liked it. I also felt that Joker was the perfect person to make this interpretation of Batman and Robin as it fits with his unpredictable personality, and his sadistic nature.
This was a good issue and decent addition to Death of the Family. The series is still not as strong as it was in the earlier issue, and need improvement, but is on the right track. I would recommend this issue, especially if you're collecting the Death of the Family tie-ins, or a fan of the Damian character.