What’s going to happen to the family as the event comes to a close?
Batman: Death of the Family, reminiscent in title of Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo’s classic Batman: A Death in the Family, kicked off last October with the kidnapping of Alfred Pennyworth by the Joker, after he rampaged his way through Wayne Mansion. Since then, Batman has been forced to question himself and his past as he has had to make an alliance with the Penguin and deal with the ramifications of his children –Dick, Jason, Tim and Damian and non-children — the Gordons and Alfred, being sought after by the Joker. However, the real question is what are his motives?
The Joker, having last been seen in Tony Daniel’s Detective Comics run when the Dollmaker tore off his face, has hidden himself away in the shadows preparing for his inevitable return to the stage. However with the Joker, it needs to be a grand return which writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo were well aware of when they picked up Daniel’s subplot after the writer/artist exited Detective to work on Justice League and Action Comics.
From what has been going on in the main issues of Batman and the tie-in issues of Batgirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, Batman and Robin and Nightwing, is the Joker is tired after all these years of Batman’s so-called family, and wants to ride himself of them to have a one on one relationship with Batman but in ridding himself of them, is he seeking more a physical death of one of our hero’s family or more a metaphorical one at best for each person in the group?
That seems to be the path Snyder is going because I have yet to see that beyond the Joker possibly knowing their identities (which I am betting he does), he does not seem to seek the deaths of any of these characters. With the New 52 only in its second year, I don’t think from a marketing perspective it is a good idea to kill off any of your characters you have just placed out in front of your audience. However at the same time, most of the Batman readers were the audience pre-New 52, and just continued on after the Morrison era somewhat ended (however, it continues currently in the great Batman Incorporated).
For story purposes, I think it might be more powerful if the Joker took down each character without having to cause any real damage directly to the hero. One such event is going on in a recent issue of Nightwing where writer Kyle Higgins writes one of the saddest tales that Mr. Grayson will ever have to face: a death in his family. His friend and one-time love interest Raya is brutally brainwashed into attacking and trying to kill Dick. Upon her last moments when she somewhat regains consciousness, she apologizes for her past actions. While there is physical death in that, it is more metaphorical because Dick is losing his family while Bruce is not necessarily losing his. However, that does not leave out the inevitable possibility I am wrong.
If someone were to die unfortunately from the great cast of Batman characters, it would likely be Kate Kane from Batwoman. I am just kidding especially since that book is not even tied into the event but what a great shock that would be! Who I really see possibly dying is what has pretty much been suggested and thought of already on the web: Alfred or Damian. Alfred is the most obvious because of the way he has been kidnapped, and tortured by the Joker. His death would be the most devastating to Bruce psychologically because Alfred is Bruce’s father, and he would lose the man that raised him. This would leave him alone to be the father to those entire he has attracted to the Bat cowl losing any sort of guidance the old Brit could give him. In my view, this would be the worst that could happen to Bruce.
While I don’t really see this happening, it has been proposed, and is a possible scenario that could happen. Damian might be the one who is whacked. If you have read Tomasi and Gleason’s awesome run on Batman and Robin thus far, you know Bruce and Damian have grown closer than ever before. Bruce actually opens up to Damian in ways maybe he didn’t do to the previous Robins. With the loss of Damian, Bruce would realize he has failed someone again, and this time, not just one of his adopted children but his actual blood; that of his biological son he was raising and almost gave up because of his mother’s threats (see Batman Incorporated—- the current second series). He didn’t give up his son, and they continued to fight together but what if he lost his son? That would be very powerful, and leave Bruce broken for quite a while. Damian’s father wasn’t there for him when he was first growing up because Bruce was battling his way back through time to make his way back to his family. Dick Grayson was the main person beyond Alfred who raised him, and the loss of Damian would be shocking to both Batmen (Bruce and Dick).
However, do I really see this happening? No. Do I see anyone dying? No. I think it will be all metaphorical as it has been thus far. Look at the current issues of Batgirl? Barbara’s mother is strapped to a chair, and her daughter has been threatened with her death. It looks more to me as metaphorical deaths to Batman directly, and possible losses if not metaphorical to the secondary children.
However, come this month, the mysteries will begin to unravel, and the theories will continue now as to what will happen to the Bat-family.
And no. Don’t tell me Jason Todd will be clobbered by the Joker with a crowbar again… It’s not going to happen.