There's been a big question seeping through the Death of the Family crossover issues, does Joker know everyone's secrets? If he doesn't, trying to figure out how and why he would target those closest to the heroes is a tricky question. Dick is convinced Joker does know despite Batman thinking otherwise. He's going to wish Batman was indeed right as Dick starts seeing people close to him getting attacked.
Joker has had many different methods of attack over the years. While he's become more cold and calculating, seeing how he attacks those around Dick has an almost nostalgic feel to it. Up until now, it's almost felt as if Joker has been holding back. The title of the story may be metaphorical and more about Batman and his relations but we're finally seeing some actual death at the hands of the Joker (when was the last time, at the police station?). This is a reminder of how deadly Joker can be.
Kyle Higgins takes off the kid gloves in this issue and makes the attack against Dick personal. There is a level of suspense as see Nightwing operate knowing he's under the gun and has to try to protect everyone around him.
To make the story even better, Eddy Barrows tackles the scenes with an eerie touch. The layouts, use of shadows and detail make the story even creepier and darker than you would think. Nightwing has usually been a more lighter character but Higgins brings on the darkness in this issue.
The different Joker issues have been getting a little monotonous but this issue amps up the suspense and delivers some consequences to having Joker as a nemesis.
The return of Kyle Higgins on this title will bring joy and make you feel sorry for Nightwing. Joker is taking his Bat-Family attacks to a personal level with Nightwing and it's not going to have a happy outcome. The big unknown is how much does Joker know and we may be seeing some answers here. Eddy Barrows heats things up by making each scene work completely. I may be getting too much Joker in all the different Bat-titles but this combination of writing and art can make me easily overlook the Joker-overload. I'm almost afraid to see what Higgins has planned next for Nightwing and Joker.