Death of the Family is arguably (or is it really arguable?) the most awaited story from DC Comics this year. Last year when The New 52 launched, one of their first titles was Detective Comics. And what better way to start it than have Batman battle his greatest enemy? In it we saw a very unexpected thing happen, the Joker had a villain named Doll Maker cut off his face. (What a haunting last page.) So as the issues went on people were wondering when that plot would surface again. A few months ago it was finally announced it would be returning in Batman as opposed to Detective. Now that was disappointing for the Detective readers, one of the main reasons why they had been the series was for that plot to come back, so others like myself has dropped the book and migrated over to this one. With all that aside, this story had great hype, with claims saying it would challenge the legendary Joker stories such as The Killing Joke. After reading the issue, I can definitely say it's one of the greatest comics I've ever read. This looks to go down as a classic story for future generations.
Here's the official description from DC Comics:
The Joker returns in 'DEATH OF THE FAMILY'!
He crippled Batgirl. He killed Robin. What will The Joker do now that he's returned to Gotham City? What must Batman do to protect his secret identity and that of those who fight alongside him?
Greg Capullo's art doesn't fail to impress. Joker with his buckled face looks extremely deranged. (I hope you're ready for the last page.) A nice touch is the how deranged the font is for when Joker talks. The thing about a lot of major Joker stories is that you, the reader, have absolutely no idea what happens next, it's no different here. The surprises keep rolling in. It's like we're Batman and we're discovering just as he's discovering them. "He's taking it back to where it all started..." I don't think we've seen a Joker like this since Grant Morrison's R.I.P. story. The main cover is unique, a flip one. It has Joker's face attached to Batman. The alternate one is also very good. The 'backup' story really adds to the overall plot. Snyder doesn't fail to impress with the Joker in it. (Seriously, excellent writing. In its own demented way, it could get a little funny sometimes.)
Overall, Batman #13 is the start of what looks to be one of the greatest Batman stories ever. The Joker has never been more cruel and such a blast to read. Of course it's all also the characters whom are affected by his menace that's interesting to read. I haven't seen Commissioner Gordon try to hide fear like this in awhile. (I like how he asks Batman if his fear is showing. Also Batman's narration boxes are brilliant.) If you've never read a Batman comic, or any comic for that matter, this would be a really good place to start, things are only going to get better. (Or worst in Batman's case.)