Batman: A Death in the Family was an amazing collection of comics full of the nerdy Batman I always loved!
Every year on my birthday I splurge a little bit and buy myself a comic book. I bought this one year ago and totally slacked on reading it and posting my review. So now is my time to shine and finally reveal my thoughts on it!
So far, this is one of my favourite series of comics in the Batman universe. Is it the best ever? No. Is it a hit or miss set of comics? Yes. But I absolutely love the artwork featured within this book. The style alone of how it was written pulls me in to the story and made me want to continue reading it. Add in the bright colours and old style comics and you have me hooked! I love retro/old style Batman, it’s my aesthetic for comic books.
This set of comics was interesting because back in the day readers got to vote what happened to Robin. That little information alone makes me more interested in this book – can you imagine eagerly waiting for the next comic to know whether or not the general public agreed with you on Robin’s fate? That is so intriguing to me (and the results interested me even more). Clearly I need to read the earlier comics featuring Robin to see if I can understand why his fate was so tragic.
When you look at the big picture, this was something gigantic that the DC Comics line did. The writers depended on the readers to determine a character’s fate. This appears to be a strategic marketing campaign (as this comic and plot line is still famous to this day) but also very problematic. Some people like that the writers left the fate of Robin in the hands of the readers, but others are 100% against it. That sort of background to the story is what pulls me in – it’s dramatic and interesting.
I find this comic series to be a little more brutal (without spoiling how the death occurs, of course). I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers (teenagers and up are my suggested audience). There is also a little bit of politics in this book as well, which might not be understood by the younger audience if they choose to read it.
I do dislike the fact that the ending to this book is given away in the title. It’s a really good name, but it also ruins everything for the reader. We know what’s going to happen based on the title and the cover page. I’m not sure how they could change this because it is so attention grabbing.
My other issue with this book is the plot line – it seemed like the writers rushed into the plot line as a way to simply kill Robin off. Robin is going to find his mother, magically finds her and BAM he’s done for. I would have liked to see the Mother storyline expanded a little more and made it meaningful so the death did feel more powerful (especially if they are going to ruin the surprise by making the title “Death in the Family”).
On a side note, I always looked up to Batman as a child. Now that I’m an adult and reading this book, I think I’ve changed my mind. This Batman wasn’t the brightest or most helpful in the end. Alfred seemed to be so invested, but Bruce/Batman did not. I plan to pick up a few more comic books to see if this is a writer issue or simply how Bruce/Batman was meant to be in the long run.
Four out of five stars!
Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/107032.Batman
If you enjoyed this review or book, check out another you might enjoy! Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review
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Photo via Goodreads.