The Death of the Family continues as The Joker wreaks havoc in Nightwing 16. I admit I don’t like this particular crossover, nor am I fan of DC’s seemingly near-constant crossover mode in general. And frankly, this was a weak issue.

Nightwing goes to his Amusement Mile project, fights the Joker, loses, and all Dick’s hard work is undone as the Mile gets blown up by Joker. Once again, we have to go through a competent hero losing to a villain in a not overly realistic manner so someone else can shine. Let’s face it, it’s a huge Joker story in several books, Batman’s going to be the hero. Everyone else is pretty much bait/props. Joker is utterly insane, as ever, in this issue. He digs up about every dead member of Haly’s Circus and mounts them as a giant display to rattle Nightwing. Once again, if Joker’s all over harassing every Bat, where did he get time for this massive project? I’d also kinda like an explanation as to why Batwoman and Batwing aren’t targeted.ntw_cv16_02

Similarly, even though Dick evacuated all the current Haly crew from the city, Joker has captured and “Joker-ized” all of them. Again, how, and when? Nightwing, after a lot of gas-induced psycho-drama, cleverly manages to get stabbed in the leg with a screwdriver by Joker before being beaten to a pulp by his former friends from the Circus. This issue, as most of the ones I’ve seen this month, ends with Joker presenting some kind of a serving dish and starting to pull off the cover.

Ok, I don’t like crossovers, I admit. And I don’t see how Joker is everywhere at once, doing projects that take far more manpower than he has. This issue does utterly remove one question in the crossover. Joker has claimed to know all the Bats’ ID’s, and Batman has been in utter denial about it. While Joker targeting both Alfred and Mrs. Gordon can be explained away, the Haly Circus crew/Amusement Mile settles the issue. Joker knows who Dick is, at least. Which means he knows who Bruce is. And the zero issue of Red Hood pretty clearly stated he knows who Jason Todd is. So really, why are we still wondering? This is another of my dislikes in the DCNU, Batman seems to have had his deductive abilities greatly reduced.

Hopefully, this insanity ends next month, with whatever big reveal the Joker has left, and epic drama flakes to make the Bats’ not trust each other for a while. I’d like to see Nightwing get back to being a fun hero, but I’m not sure that’s allowed in the DCNU. I guess we’ll see in two months or so, depending on how much fall out there is.

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Wayland Smith

WAYLAND SMITH is the pen name for a native Texan who has lived in Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, and presently makes his home in Virginia.His rather unlikely list of jobs includes private investigator, comic book shop owner, ring crew for a circus (then he ran away from the circus and joined home), deputy sheriff, and freelance stagehand.Wayland is a four time participant in, and survivor of, NaNoWriMo, having made the 50,000 word goal each time.A black belt in shao lin kung fu, he is also a fan of comic books, reading, writing, and various computer games (I”ll shut Civ down in one more turn.Really).He lives with a beautiful woman who was crazy enough to marry him, and the memory of a much loved, if somewhat goofy, dog named Jamie.

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