Death of the Family has been a brutal crossover so far. The Joker seems to know the secret identities of the entire Bat family, and he’s attacking each one on a personal level. Dick Grayson (Nightwing) might be taking the hardest hit out of everyone. For the entire series so far, he’s inherited the circus that his parents were killed in years ago, and he’s been building rebuilding it ever since. That circus happens to be the Joker’s target. This is a great comic, but it’s also dark and intense.
This entire issue pretty much takes place in the circus, which has been transformed overnight into a Jokeresque nightmare. Without spoiling anything, the ramifications of what takes place could very well affect Nightwing’s series for a very long time. This entire crossover has been dark, but this issue might be the darkest yet. The art only enhances the comic’s dark feel, from the various victims of the Joker’s chemicals, to the circus that is painted with colourful “ha has”, joker smiles and other messages.
While these aren’t complaints, I have a few questions about this issue in particular. The joker must have planned this night intensely, because he’s attacking each Bat family member on a personal level. Taking over Arkham Asylum in one night is easy to accept because he released all its criminals previously (Batman). Taking over an old roller-skating arena and a church in one night is easy to accept because he didn’t bother painting either (Batgirl), and he obviously had goons presenr. I haven’t read the other tie-ins, but I’m assuming that they have similar attacks. But painting over an entire circus in a matter of hours is a bit of a stretch. There would have been construction crews during the day, and it’s raining this night. And that’s not to mention all of the skeletons spiked up in the main circus tent, or the kidnaping victims. Where did the Joker find all the manpower needed to do all of this in one night? And why aren’t any of them sticking around to enjoy the show?
Questions and nitpicks aside, this is a great comic. It’s dark, kind of disturbing and intense. Nightwing ‘s series has consistently been nearly as good as Scott Snider’s Batman since the new 52 started (save for Tom DeFalco’s Lady Shiva issues) and this is no exception. Whether you’re a fan of Nightwing, the Joker or you just want to learn more about the extended Batman family, this is an easy recommendation.