Need further proof? Frank Millerof all people said, "An actual toll-free number where fans call in to put the axe to a little boys head... to me the whole killing of Robin was probably the ugliest thing I’ve seen in comics, and the most cynical."
A major factor to this is most likely Wizard Magazine, which had a horrible habit of slamming characters or concepts they didn't like. There was even an April Fools Top Ten of Characters that should Stay Dead and Jason was #1. Thus, if it wasn't how brutal Jason was cut down, it was certainly because certain people wouldn't stop making fun of it.
Complete Monster: The Joker is as monstrous as ever. After escaping Arkham Asylum, during which he kills a number of people, the Joker steals a nuclear weapon with plans to sell it to terrorists during the Lebanon civil war. He also blackmails Jason Todd's mother Sheila into helping him obtain medical supplies that he withholds from the starving to sell them on the black market, replacing them with laughing gas that, when set off, will kill thousands of people. Capturing Jason Todd, the Joker beats him with a crowbar before killing him and Sheila with a time bomb. After getting a position as the Iran representative, the Joker holds a speech at an assembly, only to try and kill everyone in the building with poisonous gas.
Hilarious in Hindsight: It's suspected that Lady Shiva could be Jason's mother. While drugged with truth serum, she states that she's never had a child. Years later, her daughter, Cassandra Cain, becomes the second Batgirl. And Bruce notes that she seems to be about Jason's age.
Again, The Joker, as he brutally tortures Jason Todd (the second Robin) right in front of his estranged mother Sheila, before killing both in an explosion.
Hell, Sheila herself for tricking Jason into the warehouse so that Joker and his men could ambush him when his guard was down. Sheila's reaction to this? Grimacing, then lighting a cigarette.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The story touches on a number of contemporary political and social issues, such as the Lebanese Civil War, the Arab–Israeli conflict, the Ethiopia famine, corruption and the handling of rogue states, the Iran-Contra case, etc.