I would say that this is a solid, solid addition to the Batman mythology. It ushers in *Spoiler alert* a death in the family. It is terrible, though appropriate for maintaining the reality of what Batman does. He is not invincible, nor are those close to him–as we found out with Barbara Gordon in a previous graphic novel.
My only reservation, and it’s an odd one, considering, but I feel like the presentation of the Joker is uneven. I know, he’s supposed to be like that, but he’s in it for the money apparently, except he’s not, but maybe he is. I know that his motives are always supposed to remain ambiguous, but I feel that he wasn’t ambiguous enough.
I really love the backstory to the creation of this tale. Read about it here. Essentially a poll went out asking for the fans to decide the future of Robin. Should he die or live? It was a close vote, by phone, and Robin’s fate was sealed.
I think that it’s somewhat of an uneven story overall, as it goes from deep emotional gravity to teen angst to the Joker dressed up as an Iranian ambassador to the UN (really? really?). I thought that it was too contrived that all of a sudden Jason Todd goes out to find his long lost mother who he didn’t know that he didn’t know. Another odd issue I took with it was that it wasn’t graphic enough. Joker beats Jason Todd (Robin, who took over from Dick Grayson when he became Nightwing) to death with a crowbar. It’s disturbing, but well done. Joker is the only one who could do that to Batman, and in the end, after a fatal helicopter crash and a deus ex machina by our good buddy Superman, Batman sums up his relationship with the Joker:
That’s the way things always end with the Joker and me.
*menacing scowl by Batman*