We saw in RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS that Joker's plan to deal with both Red Robin and Red Hood are connected. This tighter continuity makes it easier to accept Joker's ability to carry out his plan against Batman and his close allies. With all the different Death of the Family tie ins, we've been seeing Joker popping up everywhere with super-elaborate plans to keep Batman's highly trained soldiers fighting for their lives.
This issue shows the Teen Titans in an interesting light. Their time together has been brief but we are seeing the sense of loyalty they've built in that short time. With Red Robin missing, they feel the need to try to rescue him. This puts the team in touch with one of Red Robin's former allies that also shows where they stand in the New 52 universe. Up until now they've pretty much been in their own little corner and seeing them venture out and interact with others is great. Unfortunately because Joker is involved, this might not be the best time for them to step out for the first time in the uncharted territories of Gotham City.
Scott Lobdell sets up a great story in showing the confrontation between Joker and Red Robin along with the team getting pulled into Joker's intricate and deadly schemes. With the team being relatively new still, they don't really have a clue what they are getting themselves into with Joker. I've complained about the numerous other Death of the Family tie ins but this one was really fun to read. We still have that sense of mystery as to how much does Joker really know. More and more he's proving to be deadlier than ever.
Brett Booth does a spectacular job here. From the scenes of conversation to the suspenseful action taking place all over the place, you can see he owns each character as he draws them. He has established who each character is and what they should look like. The change in expressions for each character based on the scene is a great variety in making them pop off the pages and feel a little more real.
How is Joker doing all this alone? He really has been busy the last year in setting up all his plans and traps in planning for every possible situation.
Batgirl's interaction with the Titans was a little curt. It's extremely understandable that she has plenty to do and worry about herself but I would expect she would be a little more concerned about a bunch of inexperienced kids about to face the Joker. She even suggests they split up to cover more ground but this could lead to them facing the Joker in smaller numbers.
This is the kind of Death of the Family tie in I want to see. The connection to RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS adds credibility to the fact that Joker is taking on everyone at the same exact time. Lobdell and Booth give us a great overall package. The conversations between Batgirl and the Titans is fun and you'll want to see how Joker vs. Red Robin plays out. We're getting more pieces to the puzzle but still have lots of the mystery to what Joker really knows. The surprise appearance of a couple characters at the end (maybe not too much of a surprise) promises that the next chapter of this sub-story will be a blast.