Artist: Pat Gleason
I have been a big fan of this series, and although it's been in a bit of a rut as of late, it is still a very fun series. I'm happy that this part of the Death of the Family crossover hasn't used Batman as much as the other titles usually featuring Batman, as there are already quite a few, and it would question where he got all the time from. A similar question I've been asking about the Joker.
This issue sees Robin faced against his own father Batman. Batman is apparently affected by Joker's Joker Venom, and isn't going to stop until he kills Robin.
This was a very good issue, but the whole two part story has felt forced into the Death of the Family crossover, and more so in this issue. Each time I pick up this series I hope it returns to being as good as it was when I started reading it, and although Peter J. Tomasi has improved in this storyline it still isn't quite there. Although I didn't love this issue I still think that Tomasi did a decent job, but wasn't too sure if I liked the way he put Batman against Robin. It's an interesting idea, especially at a time like this, but I'm personally not sure if it worked, but I'll talk more about that later. I didn't mind the way Tomasi wrote Joker, as although he wasn't terrible at writing him, he isn't the best. I did however think that although forced that it was a good way of involving Robin in the Death of the Family crossover.
Once more I was torn over whether I liked Patrick Gleason's art or not, as I like his overall style, and think it really suits this series, but at the same time think that it was inconsistent, and didn't look right in certain places. The main thing about Gleason's art that I question myself over is the way he draws the Joker, as he has done a great job of showing the decay on his face mask, but at the same time it doesn't look right in certain panels, as it looks very unrealistic, and too weird, in a bad way. The facial expressions of the Joker are also very weird, especially his eyes, as he almost looks high on drugs in certain panels, which doesn't look right. I do however like the way Gleason has drawn Robin, and have always liked it throughout this series. I also liked how he drew the Joker Venom infected Batman, as he looked like a cross between Batman, and Joker, and Gleason drew it just as I imagined, which was nice.
The main theme in this issue was Batman vs. Robin. I think the idea of Batman vs. Robin is brilliant, and would love to see it done in a different way further down the line, but I didn't think it was right for this issue. Although I say this I do see good reasons for having this happen, as it's the right moment to have a Joker Venom infected Batman, especially after current events, and it's also a brilliant way to bring Damain into Joker's game. The fight itself was however a bit long, and it felt a bit rough, and weird in certain panels, which wasn't very nice.
Although the fight itself left a slightly bitter taste, Damian's actions during it were brilliant. I loved that we get to see some development of Damian in this issue, as although he'd never kill Batman it shows just how far he's willing to go to save him. Although there are a lot of fans that dislike Damian (you could say this about most characters) I've really enjoyed him over the last few years, and his development has been the one that has kept me most interested. I've liked seeing how he shows more and more affection towards his father throughout time, as despite action the bad boy he appears to be a child looking for his fathers approval. This issue however showed exactly how Damian feels toward his father, and I liked that he's only fight him to defend himself, and would rather die than kill him.
The ending was both good and bad. I won't spoil the ending, but will explain why I think it was both good and bad. The ending itself (like the ending of Batgirl #16, and what I expect the ending of the other Death of the Family series will be) sets up Batman #17, which is the finally of the Death of the Family crossover. This was nice as the ending of Batman #16 was brilliant, and looked like it would involve the rest of the Bat-Family in the finally, but at the same time it leaves this part of the crossover ending unfinished, which may not suit the few people who have been reading Batman and Robin, but not Batman.
This was a very good issue, and although it wasn't one of the best additions to Death of the Family it's by far not the worst, and worth getting. I would highly recommend this issue to anyone who has last issue, or considering getting it, but wouldn't recommend it as a jumping on point.