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May 1, 2014 / Jett

Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family


Gotham’s clown prince has kept a low profile since his appearance in Detective Comics #1. However, as long as Batman is around, it’s only a matter of time before the Joker arrives to terrorize him. Collecting issues 13-17, Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family is all about the Joker’s latest attack on the Caped Crusader.

Having read The Killing Joke not too long ago, Death of the Family follows a similar framework. Light on action, this story plays out more like a thriller, as Batman tries to subvert the Joker’s games before anyone gets hurt. If he succeeds, a lot of people close to Batman are going to find themselves in a really bad spot. There are many guest appearances from a number of allies and adversaries, but this is really another tale about Batman and the Joker going mano-a-mano through psychological warfare.

Writer Scott Snyder has created a great arc here with a number of cerebral moments in between. At times, there’s a bit too much conversation or internal monologue from Bruce, but not enough to the point where it completely takes the wind out of its sails. This is an improvement over previous volumes, where I thought each had one issue that just dragged for the same reasons. The Joker is in fine form here, causing mayhem in a manner that only he can. As always, Greg Capullo’s art is awesome, particularly in the way that the Joker’s look “changes” over time.

It’s clear to see the influence of The Killing Joke in Death of the Family, which isn’t at all a bad thing. Batman Vol. 3 is another great addition to DC’s flagship series that further builds on one of the most famous rivalries in comics. With Vol. 4: Zero Year set to hit stores soon, I’m glad to be largely caught up on on one of the best modern comic book series going.


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