Gail Simone, Daniel Sampere
Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This issue lost a lot of crossover’s steam, as per usual with most Gail Simone stories. And just when it was starting to get going! In all honesty, nothing really happens in this issue. Batgirl threatens Joker a lot. And Joker threatens Batgirl and her mother while being creepy and not really making any kind of sense with the whole proposal nonsense. But I guess that’s my biggest problem with this issue and Simone as a writer. She doesn’t seem to get how to write more than two types of characters. She can write strong-willed female superheroes and the scummy guys who try to hurt them, which is fine every now and then, just not for this particular story. The dynamic between the Joker and Barbara is so much deeper, but you would never know that if this was your first reading of their interaction.
We get a weird and choppy back and forth storytelling approach, much like what has been making Ann Nocenti’s Catwoman a really difficult and confusing read. In one story, we are getting Joker threatening and being despicable to yet another strong female stock character who we don’t know nor care about. And in the other, we are getting Joker threatening Batgirl and her mom. The problem is that there is really only one glimmer of hope that this story is really going to go anywhere or mean anything at all, and it is short-changed because of god knows why. This scene features James Gordon Jr. calling the Joker and telling him to leave his mother and sister alone, because they are his playthings, not the Joker’s. Now this could have been at least half of the comic and actually made it worth reading, but it’s less than a page and poorly constructed, so it really just kind of ends up pissing most fans off and feeling unfairly teased.
My biggest issue with this comic is the writing. It’s simply not interesting, compelling, or new in any way. Lots of other more talented writers have already told this story, and they’ve done it better. Much like Catwoman’s confrontation with the Joker, unfortunately this one just sort of fell flat. Unless Simone pulls the preverbal rabbit out of her hat for the last few part and epilogue of her contribution for this crossover (and her run on the title), I’ll remain unimpressed and continue to support DC removing her from this, what should be the second strongest Batman family book. Perhaps she will surprise me, but I highly doubt it. I’ve simply been burned too many times in the past by her lack of follow-through with stories that should have been important but simply ended up being worthless.
My Rating: 2/5