Batman: A Death in the Family

Rating: 4/5.

Published from October 2012 to February 2013 by DC Comics. An animated movie
adaptation of the comic was released in October 2020, named Batman: Death in the
Family and the plotline were loosely adapted into the video game Batman: Arkham Knight.

Brief Synopsis:
The story follows the death of Batman’s (Bruce Wayne) second adopted son, Jason Todd
(the second Robin) at the hands of The Joker. What follows is the story of Bruce Wayne
coming to terms with the fact that his son was killed and the guilt he felt for not being
able to save him. Jason is resurrected by the Lazarus Pit under the command of Ra’s Al
Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins. Returning as a masked vigilante named Red
Hood who swore to kill any criminal, big or small, Jason confronts Batman, his father, in
what follows an epic drama and chaos.

Personal Review:
This comic perfectly encapsulates Bruce Wayne’s complicated relations with his
children, particularly Jason Todd. Thought of as a dull character initially, DC
Comics held a poll in which the general audience voted if Jason was to live or die in this
series. The latter was chosen, and he was killed off emotionally. We can see Bruce
holding himself accountable for his death and that he could not save him before his
demise. The mystery of deducing who the Red Hood was was truly engaging; as a
reader, we learn the Red Hood’s identity early on, but observing it all through Batman’s
eyes is a thrilling experience.

For someone who follows a strict code of not killing any criminal, no matter how dire
the crime may be, it was refreshing to see Batman realizing that his son is the Red Hood
and an essential killer. The climax is the most moving part, at least for me, where both
Bruce and Jason finally reunite in the building Jason was murdered in, with Jason
holding The Joker hostage. The fact that Bruce thinks he created the Red Hood and is
responsible for his current predicament is heartbreaking, as, throughout the comic, we
observe him go to great lengths to find his son, or at least avenge him after his death.
On the flip side, we see a broken Jason, hell-bent on revenge against The Joker, while
simultaneously feeling abandoned by Bruce as he thought he did not search for him
hard enough.

The fact that Jason forgave Bruce for not saving Jason meant a great deal and added a lot
to his character while also explicitly stating that he was not hurt by the torture he had
to face but because The Joker “took me away from you.” In an epic
finale, Jason gives the ultimatum to Bruce to choose between his son or his killer, to kill
Jason or wipe The Joker off this planet, and as I expected, Batman decides neither,

leaves the premises as is, staying true to his character. This is highly significant for his
character as it’s evident that his tragedies cannot make him bend his morals.
What’s more satisfying as a reader is learning that despite his opposing views and
methods, Jason was accepted back into the family by his father and siblings, bringing
the perfect, most satisfying canon conclusion to the story.