A nice thick double feature here of late 80's Batman in hard covers, a book collecting two Robin-centered series, Death in the Family and Lonely Place of Dying.
At this point Dark Knight had Returned already, and while darker Batman was nothing new there's a demand of going even further. And yet we are not quite yet in the full doom'n'gloom of coming years, much of which would only end up a tad boring once the novelty and shock effect wears off.
Speaking of novelty and shock effect...
...in retrospect Death in the Family is best remembered from the phone voting deciding if Robin, the Jason Todd version, would survive or not. The public demanded blood, and Jason died in an explosion set up by Joker. One could say that remembering the series just for that is doing it justice, for otherwise the story has plenty of...curious logic to start with and has not aged gracefully (Ayatollah? Really?) Aparo's art is of course enjoyable.
Lonely Place of Dying comes off as the better half of the book. The story is sprawling to many directions but manages to pull it off, new fresh take to role of Robin is done with Tim Drake and the Batman-Nightwing-Tim Drake personal dynamics work well. Two-Face is also dramatic but at the same time amusingly bonkers villain, and having Batman and Two-Face trying to double-guess each other was just great fun. And as something of an anti-Frank Miller I can see why some friends of mine are vocal George Perez fans: the world is clearly a better place when he is in it.
But it must be said that innocence once seduced can never be regained: it's probably impossible for me to read a Batman-Robin story without imposing a pederasty layer in it.