Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows
Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
With the regular writer-artist team of Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows returning to the book that is slowly but surely making them famous, the Joker is out for blood. This issue has not one but two big deaths. And they are surely going to be just the beginning. Poor Dick Grayson – always the optimist, but always the guy who gets the shaft.
Death one is Jimmy, the popular clown of Haly’s Circus and one of Dick’s best friends. A disturbing murder right off the bat, Joker leaves a note pinned to the corpse of the late star: “Nobody likes a knockoff.” Then we get two emotionally charged scenes with Nightwing showing why he never really was (and never really will become) Batman. You see, he cares too much. Which makes him a great character and why fans of all genders and ages have always loved this former Robin so much. Superman is a godlike figure of truth, justice, and the American way. Wonder Woman is the spirit of wisdom and courage. And Batman is the dark knight detective avenger who will stop at nothing to do what is right. But Nightwing is the heart and soul of the DC Universe. And when his heart breaks, ours break right along with him. When he hears of Jimmy’s death, he’s got actual tears in his eyes. When he falls into an awkward but powerful kiss with Tony Zucco’s daughter, we know he’s fighting his inner demons. We understand his struggle. The concept of maybe being in love with the last surviving relative of the man who murdered his parents is enough to make anyone crazy. And we know why he has to run away and why he’s hurting, talking with Batgirl earlier in the issue about how he can’t even trust Batman anymore.
Which leads us to our conclusion, with death two of the issue being Raya, his former lover. She dies in Dick’s arms. He tells us himself, after trying to revive her for over ten minutes straight. So continues the downward spiral that is Dick Grayson’s life. One lover exits as a new romance begins? And there’s always Batgirl for those of us who are still rooting for Dick and Babs to end up together. But Joker doesn’t just kill for fun. Well, at least not in this issue. He leaves a message, which is carved into Raya’s stomach. “What: A Surprise Party! Where: Amusement Mile! Hosted By: Haly’s Circus!” So it’s another cliffhanger ending that has been making this whole event so damn good. I can’t wait for the next part and to see how Joker messes up poor Nightwing’s life even more than he already has. As the advance solicitations have been hinting at, it’s only going to get worse. Much worse. Which is awesome.