This article is full of spoilers for the “Death Of The Family”, don’t read any further unless you are okay with knowing everything about the plot and the ending. I would only suggest this article to people who have read through the story.
A little over a year ago readers of Detective Comics got a little surprise. Since DC was issuing its “New 52″ plan, writers got the chance to start over and create a new and rich story line. That is exactly what happened in Detective Comics #1. The issue revolved around the Joker, as any new Batman series should, and let readers glimpse at how insane he really was.
Due to a long chain of events, and carefully planned ones at that, the writer (Tony Daniel) managed the unthinkable. He surprised us readers. For years upon years I have read Batman comics and have not truly felt any shock or serious concern after finishing any issue. But, after putting down this comic, I couldn’t wait for more. If you haven’t read this issue yet, I suggest you do soon.
Anyways, at the end of the comic, it is revealed that the Joker has gone further into the abyss of madness than ever. He, with the help of the Dollmaker, had himself mutilated to a disturbing point. His entire face was cut off and shipped to the GCPD. That was how the story ended, with the Joker’s hollow skin hanging on the last page. It was like the ending of Jeepers Creepers. The story intrigued me and left me puzzled. I couldn’t help but wonder: “Where was this going?”. That question would take around a year to be answered.
For eleven issues (12 months), the Joker had vanished. He was not seen or mentioned in any of the Bat-related books. I was almost beginning to think that he was completely forgotten about and that he had crawled away and lived out his faceless days as a hyper-realistic mannequin. Luckily, I was wrong. An announcement was made that stated a few issue numbers and the title of this epic crossover event: “The Death Of The Family”. The title was a clever play on another popular Batman storyline from 1988 in which the Joker killed Jason Todd (The Second Robin). This clever title, added to the exciting cliffhanger of Detective Comics #1, was great. It was just the right amount of suspense to have everyone lined up for Batman #13. The Joker was now popping up everywhere, on the backs of comics, in flyers, advertisements and posters. The Joker was back, or at least what was left of him.
The “Death Of The Family” storyline is what happens when genius meets insanity. It is the story of the return of the Joker, and one of the best comics I have read in a while. Every issue was better than the last and the ending (Batman #17) was best of all. It was hard to pick from so many great moments, but here they are, the five best moments of one of the greatest comic arcs to grace the Bat-family.
This article was first posted on February 19, 2013