"A Death in the Family - Chapters I & II":

Reckless Youth

Quote1.png Crime hasn't been all that good to me of late. I've been spending more time in Arkham Asylum than out. Quote2.png

Batman #426 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 1988. It was published on August 25, 1988.

Synopsis for "A Death in the Family - Chapters I & II"

Reckless Youth

Batman and Robin stake out the warehouse of a child pornography ring awaiting police backup, but Robin rushes in early against Batman's orders. While stopping the criminals, Batman mentally notes Robin's odd, moody behavior of late. After chiding Robin, Bruce returns home to discuss the situation with Alfred and decides to remove his ward from duty effective immediately. Jason overhears and angrily leaves.

Batman is soon called to Arkham Asylum after the Joker escapes. Commissioner Gordon tells the Dark Knight how the Joker used cleaning supplies to make his lethal laughing gas, killing eight men.

At his hideout, the Joker tells his associate, Rupert, how his assets were seized during his incarceration, but reveals a cruise missile and launch vehicle in storage he obtained from a military contact. The Clown Prince of Crime decides to sell the weapon to Arab terrorists.

While walking through Gotham City, Jason Todd ends up in Crime Alley and visits his mother's friend, Mrs. Walker. She gives Jason a box full of personal effects – which are a little water-damaged – and sends the boy on his way.

At that moment, Batman surprises Gaspar Taylor, a known associate of the Joker, but knocks him out before he can obtain any information. Searching the criminal's luggage, Batman finds a passport and visa for Lebanon. Over the next few hours, none of the Joker's former henchmen can be found.

While perusing his parents' personal effects, Jason finds his birth certificate with his mother's name blotted out and beginning with the letter S. Realizing Catherine Todd was his stepmother, Jason searches the box where he finds his father's now out-of-date address book which contains the names of three women whose names start with S, one of whom might be his biological mother, and uses the Batcomputer to locate them. He leaves Wayne Manor to begin his investigation.

In the air, the Joker and his gang are en route to Lebanon aboard a stolen Navy C-130 cargo plane while Jason Todd is aboard an airliner. Meanwhile, Batman finds the Joker's hideout and realizes his arch foe has left for Lebanon with a nuclear weapon to replenish his cash flow. Our hero quickly returns to the Batcave where Alfred informs him that Jason has run away. Batman is left with a dilemma: stay in Gotham City and locate Jason or stop the Joker.

Later, Batman leads a team of naval commandos to Lebanon to recover the stolen C-130 and discovers that the Joker has indeed smuggled a nuclear device into Middle Eastern nation. Changing out of his costume, Bruce Wayne contacts Alfred and learns Jason booked a flight to Israel.

Batman fights terrorists

In Israel, Robin breaks into a military base to find the whereabouts of Sharmin Rosen, an intelligence agent who may be his mother. Using computer records, he learns Rosen is working undercover in Beirut, Lebanon. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne arrives in Lebanon and goes into action as Batman to gain information from some terrorists about the missile. He learns that a man named Peter Brando is offering the weapon for sale at the Hotel Blu, where Sharmin Rosen is staying.

Jason arrives at the Hotel Blu and finds Bruce. Jason tells Bruce about his investigation but becomes downtrodden when told of Bruce's mission to stop the Joker. Suddenly, they spot Brando with Rosen and follow in a pair of jet-powered bat gliders. The caped crusaders witness the Joker's sale of the smuggled cruise missile to Jamal, a terrorist who wants to launch the device at Tel Aviv. The gathering is interrupted by Batman and Robin, who are soon joined by Sharmin Rosen. When the missile is fired, it explodes in its launcher but the warhead fails to detonate. The Joker escapes in the ensuing confusion.

Robin learns Rosen is not his mother and the three return to Beirut. Robin insists on finding his mother and Batman agrees to help. However, a disguised Joker books a flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Appearing in "A Death in the Family - Chapters I & II"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Joker
    • Peter Brando (Single appearance)
    • Jamal (Dies)
    • Rupert (Dies)
    • Gaspar Taylor (Single appearance)
  • A ring of child pornographers (Single appearance)

Other Characters:



  • Batcomputer
  • Geiger counter
  • Jet-powered hang gliders
  • A stolen cruise missile




  • One of the newspapers in Gotham City is the Gotham Post.
  • This issue establishes Jason Todd's middle name as Peter.
  • One of the personal effects Jason finds is a deed for an acre of land in Virginia.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

A Death in the Family
Book One: Batman #426 Book Two: Batman #427 Book Three: Batman #428 Book Four: Batman #429
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