Monday, November 24, 2014

Booknote: Joker: Death of the Family

Various authors, The Joker: Death of the Family. New York: DC Comics, 2013. ISBN: 9781401242350.

I have been reading the Death of the Family series from DC Comics in bits and pieces, so I was happy to see that DC finally compiled it all in one volume. A big reason I do not read comics in single issues is that major storylines tend to be spread out over various issues; keeping track of those issues is not always easy. Death of the Family is a good example as  you have to read issues in Batman, Batman and Robin, Batgirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and some others. So it was nice to see it all in one volume where you can read it all at once in good order. I know this is the kind of remark that comic book purists and publishers do not like to hear. After all, they do want you to buy the comics. I get that. For me, I prefer to read my story in one place where I can make sense of it. I don't have the patience to buy one issue, then wait for the next one. By now, I know publishers will compile the good stuff into trades, or in this case, hardcover. If it is not good enough to get compiled, I probably do not need to worry about it. Anyhow, don't feel too bad publishers and purists: in our household we still get some individual issues (my daughter reads them) now and then.

So, the above is a big reason why I liked the Joker: Death in the Family volume. Reading the story separately is not always easy, plus they often repeat certain scenes in each different comic. One example is the dinner scene (if you have read it, you will know what I mean). Here, you get to it at the right moment in the story sequence. I enjoyed the compilation because I was able to read it all in one place. This is certainly the best way to read this series as it allows readers to better appreciate the depth of the story. For me, this is a big example of why I wait for compilations.

The hardcover edition is a nice, good quality volume. It is definitely the volume that public libraries need to buy. If your library has not bought volumes of the Death of the Family series, and you have Batman fans, then you need to get this one. If you have already bought the other trades, and you have the complete set, then this may be optional (there is no new material here if you got the others already).

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really liked it, but the series overall does have some ups and downs.Still, this is a volume I would consider adding to my personal collection. For this time though, I borrowed it from my local public library.

To get additional perspective, here are links to my review to individual volumes of the series I read:

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