Title: A Death in the Family
Creators: Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman, Jim Aparo, & George Perez
Series: Batman #426-429 and #440-442; The New Titans #60-61; Batman Annual #25
Length: 272 pages
Release Date: August 25, 1988
Source: Personal collection
Recommended for fans of: Titans
Content Warnings: child death, death, violence, child abuse, death of parent, murder, war
Batman readers were allowed to vote on the outcome of the story and they decided that Robin should die! As the second person to assume the role of Batman’s sidekick, Jason Todd had a completely different personality than the original Robin. Rash and prone to ignore Batman’s instructions, Jason was always quick to act without regard to consequences. In this fatal instance, Robin ignores his mentor’s warnings when he attempts to take on the Joker by himself and pays the ultimate price. Driven by anger with Superman by his side, Batman seeks his vengeance as he looks to end the Joker’s threat forever.
A Death in the Family is remembered as an iconic Batman arc because readers voted on the fate of Jason Todd, the second Robin, after he was attacked by the Joker, ultimately choosing for Robin to die. Jason Todd’s search for his birth mother was emotional with its tragic timing; however, the story was a bit over the top (even for a comic book), and the political subplots did not age well for modern readers.
The trade collection also included the A Lonely Place of Dying arc, where Batman meets Tim Drake, who becomes the third Robin, and reunites with Dick Grayson in a crossover with The New Titans. I enjoyed this storyline much more than the titular arc.
This storyline was a major inspiration for season 3 of Titans on HBO Max, so I was curious how the source material compared to the screen interpretation.