#BookReview Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin

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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

 

Give me a shoutout on Twitter to nerd out about Batman and other book and comic book related topics! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo via Goodreads.

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Book Review: DC ESSENTIAL GRAPHIC NOVELS 2017

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Book Review
Book Title: DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017

Introduction: I LOVE comic books and graphic novels, and I LOVE superheroes (you can often find me lurking in the graphic novel section of any bookstore I go to…maybe for a bit longer than necessary!).  It is very obvious to anyone who has met me that I am obsessed with everything DC and I’m uber fond of Marvel. So, when I got the chance to read and review a graphic novel from the DC collection I was over the moon excited and I hopped on it immediately.

I received this book for free through Netgalley for an honest review.

Review:

The first comic was The Flash and he is holding this exact graphic novel in his hand. It’s quite amusing, and it’s totally in the Flash’s realm to do this. He’s always a comic relief!!! The artwork is impressive in this initial comic, which impressed me. The Flash discusses the comics that will be featured within the novel all while saving the day!! What a great way to start a graphic novel!!

This graphic novel is an introduction to the DC comic book line up and I definitely suggest it to anyone trying to get a basic start within this massive series of comic books. You get a little pinch of many titles and this can help readers figure out which comic book characters and series are best for them! Every comic book character/series has a different tone and might not match every reader so it is important to be informed!

Some of the comics/characters introduced within this series: Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Justice League, Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad as well as collectibles, suggested reading orders and back list (plus an ordering list!).

Each series is described and showcased at the beginning of this graphic novel. For example, the Watchmen are given a description for a general reader to understand what they are about and some of the characters. This series is described as grim and psychological realism – this can assist readers who do not want a gritty, real story to make an informed decision on what series to read or delve into.

Readers also get a sneak peak at artwork and covers, which showcases the illustrators wonderful artwork! Some of my first comic books I became interested in were just because of the artwork – you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but sometimes that introduces you to books you never thought you’d like!

Some of my favourite parts of this graphic novel include:
The Batgirl art and comic book – oh how I love her!
Batman: The Killing Joke – I have this graphic novel, but I always love seeing it pop up everywhere! It’s perhaps my favourite graphic novel of all time (so far…).
Justice League Origin Vol 1 Cover – I love superhero team up covers!
Everything Harley Quinn – I love this character, and seeing her pop up made my heart swell!! I try to pick up every comic book and graphic novel I find involving her!
DC: The New Frontier – this Justice League comic book has a very different art style than the typical Justice League stories, so it was great to see this line of comics shown off within this graphic novel.
DC Universe: Rebirth – Again, seeing the different styles and editions makes a great introduction to new (and old!) comic book enthusiasts!
Injustice Gods Among Us – For fans of the video game, there is in fact a graphic novel with the same name!!
Gotham Academy – I had never heard of this series before I noticed it in this book! So I’m pleased to see a small introduction floating around!
Aquaman – I have so many Aquaman comics hiding in my house, how could I not love seeing him showcased in this graphic novel?!
Birds of Prey – For those not introduced to the Birds of Prey, it follows some of the major female characters in the DC universe. Girl power!!
Nightwing – I haven’t seen as much of Nightwing lately as I would like to, so a splash of Nightwing makes my day!
Red Hood and the Outlaws – Another great character I haven’t seen floating around as much as I would like!
Teen Titans – For a very long time I have been obsessed with the Teen Titans, yet I’ve only seen the animated series getting more attention than the fantastic comic books.
Modern Classics section – While the old graphic novels are fantastic, some of the newer graphic novels and comic books have been hitting me the right way. Seeing a whole section on this fantastic selection is great in my eyes.

There’s also a little introduction to the current Zack Snyder film universe and DCEU on television and the comic books that influenced them/readers could enjoy.

Overall, I thought this was a great introduction to many comic books. This graphic novel would be fantastic for anyone wanting to get into the DC universe but not knowing where to start! I wish I had this when I started my obsession in June 2016!!

Five out of five stars.

Side note: I am now using the selected backlist to make sure I read in the correct order and not purchase second copies of comic books and graphic novels. How helpful!!!