Death of the Family

Joker’s back in town and he has got an agenda: step 1) retrieve face; step 2) murder. With every notable Gothamite in the cross-hairs, heroes, villains and civilians are in for a rough couple months. But never fear! Retcon Punch will be there to talk about every issue of the cross-over. Oh, and I guess Batman will be there too. Fine.


Video recap of Death of the Family through issues 16

The Issues

Prelude to Death of the Family

Alternating Currents: Batgirl 13, Shelby and Drew

Alternating Currents: Catwoman 13, Shelby and Drew

Batman Writers: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV; Artists: Greg Capullo and Jonathon Glapion

Alternating Currents: Batman 13, Drew and Patrick

Alternating Currents: Batman 14, Drew and Michael

Alternating Currents: Batman 15, Drew and Patrick

Alternating Currents: Batman 16, Drew and Shelby

batman 17

BatgirlWriter: Gail Simone; Artist: Ed Benes

Alternating Currents: Batgirl 15, Drew and Shelby

Alternating Currents: Batgirl 16, Drew and Patrick

Batman and Robin – Writer: Peter Tomasi; Artist: Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray

Alternating Currents: Batman and Robin 15, Shelby and Michael

batman and robin 16Catwoman – Writer: Ann Nocenti; Artists: Adriana Melo, Julio Ferreira, Rafael Sandoval and Jordi Tarrogona

Detective ComicsWriter: John Layman; Artist: Jason Fabok

Alternating Currents: Detective Comics 15, Scott and Patrick

Alternating Currents: Detective Comics 16, Drew and Scott

NightwingWriter: Kyle Higgins; Artist: Eddy Barrows and Eder Ferreria

Alternating Currents: Nightwing 15, Scott and Patrick

Alternating Currents: Nightwing 16, Mikyzptlk and Scott

Red Hood and the OutlawsWriter: Scott Lobdell; Artist:Timothy Green, II

Alternating Currents: Red Hood and the Outlaws 15: Drew and Shelby

red hood 16Suicide Squad – Writer: Adam Glass; Artist: Fernando Dagnino

Alternating Currents: Suicide Squad 14, Mikyzptlk and Shelby

Alternating Currents: Suicide Squad 15, Patrick and Mikyzptlk

Teen TitansWriters: Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza; Artists: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

Alternating Currents: Teen Titans 15, Scott and Shelby

teen titans 16

48 comments on “Death of the Family

  1. Who will die during DOTF? This is the great question, it has been brought up in the comments of several of this month’s bat-related titles so I’d like to tackle it here and hopefully spark up some debate! Warning, this will likely be quite a long (and hopefully interesting) read.

    So, who’re the likeliest suspects? In no particular order: Alfred, Damian (Robin), Tim (Red Robin), Jason (Red Hood), Barbara (Batgirl), Dick (Nightwing) and Selina (Catwoman). Obviously, there are other possible candidates, but these characters are most closely associated with Batman and the crossover spills into their title, i.e. I don’t see Batwoman biting it here. There’s also the obvious theory that nobody will die since it would be too complicated to deal with offing a character, but frankly, I will see it as a MASSIVE cop-out if an even this big, featuring the grand return of the Joker, on a mean streak no less, kills no one.

    So let’s examine our candidates. Alfred has been around basically forever, he is one of Batman’s most useful allies, even more so now that Barbs is no longer Oracle, and it would pain pretty much every one (both the characters in the books and the readers) to see him killed. The fact he is a target at all also implies that the Joker is better informed now, he must know that Batman is Bruce Wayne if he is going after Alfred. I see this outcome as somewhat unlikely but plausible, it would not force DC to cancel any of its titles.

    If the Joker does have all the dirt on Batman, his priority target should be Damian, how better to hurt a man than to kill his son. I don’t see this actually materializing, B & R is a pretty good read and must be doing decent in sales (note: I have no sales figures whatsoever, I’m basing sales on whether a comic sucks or not), the father-son relationship is full of story potential and Damian hasn’t been fleshed out so much since it is relatively new, so I expect they’ll want to keep that going. Damian is a bit of a dick though, so ya never know!

    I’ll lump Nightwing and Batgirl together here for the sake of (relative) brevity and because their situation is pretty similar. They’re both well established, well-liked characters supporting their own books, both of which have been quite good thus far, and going after Barbara again (it is debatable whether the Joker knows Barbs is Batgirl) would seem a bit redundant. I feel similarly about Jason; the Joker’s killed him before, it would feel pretty samey if he killed him again (unless he killed him and a bunch of other characters). However, Red Hood, being a lesser known/liked character might not be doing as well in sales, plus his title is shared with other characters and I suppose they could replace Jason (which would probably imply a title change), although I’ve found it pretty decent, I’m really digging Jason as a character (who would have thought?) So I hope he sticks around.

    Lastly, Tim and Selina. I haven’t read Teen Titans yet, I hear that Superboy is mandatory reading alongside and that’s turned me off quite a bit, but overall these characters feel more “expendable”. RR isn’t supporting his own title and could be replaced, although from what I know of him outside of TT I think he’s interesting and well liked, but still a possible. Catwoman has been around for ages and over the years has been involved in some pretty interesting story-lines but her title has been mediocre at best since the relaunch, so this could provide DC with an opportunity to cancel it.

    So there you have it, hopefully this post won’t stand alone and we can have an ongoing debate about who dies and who lives as this event progresses.

    TLDR: I think someone will/should die to justify this event, so who’s it gonna be?

    • Your assessments are pretty good: Dick and Babs are obviously too popular to kill, and killing Damian or Selina would mean the end of their titles (which I don’t see DC doing). Alfred is far too central to the Batman mythos for anyone to dream of killing. That leaves us with Jason and Tim. They’re both in ensemble titles, but at least Jason’s name is in the title. Tim could disappear from Teen Titans without the title missing a beat. IF I thought they were going to kill somebody in this event, I would bet on Tim. BUT…

      I don’t think there’s any way in hell they’re going to kill anyone. There’s some precedent for really huge crossovers (that is, things with “Crisis” in the title) have some precedent for shaking up the status quo, but I think it’s much more common that normality is restored at the end — especially for an event as small and isolated as this one.

      That said, the Joker does have some history of wreaking long-lasting havoc on the Batman universe. In that light, this could be an “undo” for giving Babs back the use of her spine. I think that would treat Babs WAY to poorly, and kind of strain credulity, but it could appease all those folks out there who miss Oracle, as well as open the door to Cass (or even Steph) appearing in the New 52.

      My impressions are that this is a story Snyder came up with long before he ever started writing the character (which means even longer before the New 52), so I don’t think it could really have anything to do with Babs being out of the chair, and it might not even have been conceived with Damian as Robin. More important, he’s said that you don’t need to read the other titles to appreciate the story. It would be a REALLY shitty move to kill a character outside of their own title, or to have their death in this story be “off camera” for anyone only following Batman. I really don’t think anyone will die, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be on the edge of my seat throughout this event.

    • Well, maybe Alfred or Gordon….but Joker is lying…he doesn’t know who they are, he does know some ppl they associate with, and gets lucky (imo) with a few. It wont be any of the actually bat family, cuz the future releases of issues talk about them being alive in the plot info on the dc webite. now with that said….I believe they will go the route the games went….joker will die….

      • Whoa. Joker dying was NOT a possibility I had considered, but may actually be the most likely. Something like that would absolutely shatter the bat-family, and could open up a rift between its members as profound as any of the other havoc the Joker has unleashed on them. I don’t think Tim would do it, but pretty much anyone else could, which might find them shunned by Batman for a LONG time.

  2. I think you’re probably right, and that DC won’t want to break up the status quo too much by killing off a character, but I still think it would be a cop-out. Don’t get me wrong, I love most of these characters and would be shocked to see them die, but it’ll take some extra excellent writing (which I expect Snyder to give us, but still) to make this event, which after all is called DEATH of the family, memorable, relevant, and a fair tribute to the Joker (Snyder said in an interview he was writing this as though it would be his only chance to write Joker, so it’s got to be solid) if nobody actually goes under. The more and think about this and write about it the more torn I am, I want these characters to live because I like them, but I want someone to die to make this an arc for the ages. Actually, if anybody dies, it might be me as I wait each month for the next issue, as someone who read mostly trades in the past it’s killing me already to know what happens next and the event has barely started…

    • I think this can be a great, memorable arc whether or not anybody we care about dies. There are LOTS of great Batman arcs that fit that description, from Knightfall to The Long Halloween. I really don’t think this event sinks or swims based on somebody dying.

      It’s interesting that you emphasized the “Death” in “Death of the Family,” because to me, the really interesting word there is the “of.” This doesn’t suggest that an individual member dies (though I suppose Alfred could fit that bill), but that the family itself is dying. I’m certainly not going to suggest that EVERYONE dies, but it could be a metaphorical death. The story is already on the path to put every one of Batman’s closest allies in danger, and I wonder if, after the Joker is subdued, if it makes Bruce reevaluate putting people he cares about in danger like that. I could see Bruce pushing everyone away at the end of this arc, isolating himself for their own safety. That’s a compelling story that would return Batman to his roots, and would stand in VERY stark contrast to the version Morrison is doing in Batman Incorporated.

      All guessing aside, I have every bit of confidence that this is going to be awesome, no matter what happens. (I’m sure we agree on that, and I don’t bring that up to squash the discussion, but it’s helpful to keep in mind).

      • That’s what I’m expecting – the individual members of the family will be hunted, but only because of their connection to the Bat-family. The Joker seems to be the most upset with Gotham’s reaction to Batman – the allies, the support from civilians, the inability of other villains to make a dent in either of those. We’ve been talking a fair bit about the Joker’s identity, and the fact that he can slide his face on any Joe Schmoe enforces this idea that anyone could have Joker-esque qualities, rather than the Batman-esque qualities that Bruce hoped to inspire in the Gotham.

        Remember in Batman 1 when Bruce keeps going back to that “Gotham Is…” feature in the newspaper? I think Joker wants to take “Batman” away as a viable answer to that question. And that means attacking what it is to be Batman (or a Bat ally). That could very well not include any actual death.

  3. I agree with you that it’s bound to be awesome, so far everything I’ve read by Scott Snyder has been amazing, he’s like a new Alan Moore (not stylistically but in that I like all their stuff). But if you look at those arcs you mentionned, Knightfall and Long Halloween, although people don’t die (mind you, lots of people die in LH, just not people we care about so much), Batman gets his back broken in Knightfall and Two-Face is born in LH, so there’s something there to be remembered by.

    If you think about it, a lot of the Batman comics from the past that still get talked about a lot brought major changes to him or his entourage or put him in a HUGE struggle. Titles like The Killing Joke, A Death in the Family involve major changes and others lie Knightfall or Hush involve an epic struggle.

    I like your take on it though, that this could be a dissolving of the family of sorts, but a) that doesn’t REALLY bring about an enormous change in the actual comics so much as in our perception of them, it’s not like Batman has his allies popping in every issue, and he can’t force any of them to stop fighting crime, and b) it would make Batman, Inc. basically non-sensical were that to continue.

    I guess in the end the success of this event might not hinge on the death of somebody per se, but there should at least be some significant change made to Batman’s life, ideally something that can’t/won’t be undone a year from now. Bruce is still carrying the emotional scars from Jason’s death (even though he’s back) and that’s really what makes A Death in the Family a big deal, the event is much more memorable than the writing, which is ok but nothing phenomenal. I expect great writing here but I hope that like great arcs of the past, there will be something here that we will all remember several years down the line, a pivot moment like Jason’s death of Batman’s back being broken.

    • I suppose the question for me is which type of “classic” Batman arc you’ve described will this arc turn into I think “epic struggle” is what’s coming, since that seems to be Snyder’s track record. I suppose this last arc shares a lot in common with “The Long Halloween” in that both are year-long arcs that see the origin of a villain. I think we’ll have to wait to see if history elevates the Court to Two-Face-level importance.

      My point is, I think the “epic struggle” type is far more likely than the “major change” type, since I generally see the latter type as editor-driven — essentially, I don’t believe DC editorial would ever allow a writer (even a very popular writer) to eliminate a title from their line. Those are publishing decisions, which I see as almost entirely removed from whatever is going on in the stories.

      Moreover, I really hope we don’t see a character die here, since that will just necessitate some embarrassing explanation for how they came back from the dead somewhere down the line. These characters are just too popular to eliminate from DC’s roster altogether, so even if they did kill them (and I think that’s a BIG “if”), they won’t stay dead for too long.

      But again, the main thrust of my argument hinges on the “of” in the title — this isn’t “Death in the Family,” it’s “Death OF the Family,” and I think there’s going to be a clear distinction in the story.

      That said: wouldn’t it be cool if Tim were paralyzed at the end of this, and became the new oracle? It’s weird to say, but I think paralyzing him would actually be treating him BETTER than he’s been since the relaunch.

      • I see where you’re going and you might be quite right, although I’m not sure I’d like to see Tim take an Oracle kind of role, if only because that sounds like a serious re-hash.The more I think about your emphasis on the word “of” the more it makes sense, but I still don’t see quite how that would really affect the comics. Say Bruce wants to work alone because he wants no one else to get hurt on his account, it’s not like he could stop Dick and Babs from suiting up and doing their thing, so I think the change will have to be more profound than that.

        • I think losing Bruce’s resources would be pretty devastating to their ability to fight crime. Without tech, networks, vehicles, lab equipment, or info from Bruce, they’d essentially be hobbled (we see how Batwoman has to deal with this by being sponsored by the DEO). That they’d continue anyway would make for interesting new struggles in their titles without actually needing to cancel any of them.

          That said, I think Bruce could stop them from fighting crime if he wanted. He already devotes his time to stopping events he doesn’t want to happen in his city. The only difference here is that he knows who these people are and how they think — trained them, after all. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has tracking devices on all of them and bugs in their homes. He could totally stop them if he wanted.

          He may just push them away, though. It wouldn’t be so much that fighting crime is dangerous, but that being close to Bruce is dangerous. Hell, it could push Bruce away from Alfred and Gordon, too. I think the profundity of this arc is going to come from the characters, not from the actions, so I really don’t think it would be a failure if the arc ended that way.

        • I hadn’t thought of resources but I see your point, it could definitely hinder everyone if Bruce decided to cut ties, although I don’t know that he would take so much time out of his crime-fighting patrols to stalk/stop his allies from doing their thing. I think this idea has potential but repercussions would have to be big to warrant all this hype, if it only means (for the Batman title, let’s say) that Dick doesn’t drop by the cave for a quick chat from time to time anymore, then the effect isn’t so profound, it would have to really impact the titles concerned in the future for this to be meaningful. Also, what happens to Damian if this is how it pans out? Obviously he’s living with Bruce who could stop him going out but he’s so drive and impetuous I don’t know how effective that would really be.

  4. Character’s I’m positive WON’T die: Damien (if he dies, it’ll be in Morrison’s epic – he created the character and is still using him, so he has dibs), Catwoman (she is joining Johns’ Justice League of America soon), Batgirl (editorial has squashed the use of any other Batgirl in favor of cementing Barbara as THE Batgirl), Jason (he previously died in a storyline which shares 3 of the 4 words of Snyder’s story title… too obvious). I think someone WILL die, and I think the two most likely candidates are Alfred and Dick. I’m going with Dick since Alfred got a cliffhanger at the end of the first prelude issue… Alfred will be in bad shape and/or kidnapped, but he will recover. I think Dick is getting the chop and that Eddy Barrows is getting promoted to art duties on a major DC star since he’s a rising star in the art world. We’ll see!

    • Something else I had considered concerning the possible death of Dick Grayson: Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins have previously worked together co-writing Gates Of Gotham and I assume are friends. Not only would this give Snyder an “in” to negotiate the death of a character without pissing of that character’s creative team, but could Snyder also have been seeding Harper Row in secrecy with Kyle Higgins to pick up the mantle of Nightwing after Dick’s passing?

      • Dick’s a fair candidate, I think. For one thing, it would be absolutely heart breaking to watch him die. I know all these characters have been through a lot, but Dick’s growth over the years is basically unparralelled: Robin-Nightwing-Batman-Nightwing2.0. Each step in his evolution has come with a pretty significant maturing of the character, and even though he remains a quippy smarty-ass, Dick’s grown to have the most reasonable ego of just about any superhero out there. Remember how he handled Damian in the “War of the Robins?” There’s a humility and kindness to that character that was earned of decades derring-do hard-won transformations. It’d be sad to see Alfred die, but it’d be devastating to see Dick die.

        And for secondsies: what would stop Tim from taking up Dick’s mantle as Nightwing? I agree that the Nightwing series isn’t just going to end with the Death of the Family arc, but other characters have stepped up to fill costumed rolls before. It’s also my understanding that Tim has been fairly minimalized in TT (and as Gino mentions, a lot of readers have been skipping it because it’s so closely associated with Superboy and Ravagers). Tim’s been a non-presence in Gotham and that’s a fucking shame – remember how he’s in the Court of Owls for a single worthless panel? (Batman: The Dark Knight #9)

        And lastable: Kyle Higgins took time off from WRITING Nightwing in order to get ready for Death of the Family. Mogo points out that Higgins and Snyder are friends and collaborate on a bunch of stuff (though, Snyder tends to bring that out in smart people). The meta-evidence suggests that, even if Dick isn’t going to die per se, that the biggest changes in the Bat-family will be taking place in Nightwing.

        • Ah, you’re right! It would be a good opportunity to bring Tim back into the fold. And the more I think about it, I think that Snyder is seeding Harper long-time as a possible Robin in case Morrison writes Damien out at the end of his arc; Snyder and Morrison seem to be friendly, so he may even be getting advance knowledge.

  5. Wow Mogo, that’s a serious statement there! It makes sense, although I doubt DC would have the stones to kill off Dick Grayson and have to cancel his title, I can totally see where you’re coming from. I don’t see Harper Row taking over the mantle though if this were to happen, she seems more like a potential “oracle-ish” helper than a hands on cape and cowl crime fighter.

    Also, I was unaware that Catwoman was joining another title, seems a bit odd considering she hasn’t been very good in her own title thus far :s

    • In truth it’s much to early to tell – we haven’t seen the real curves in the plot yet. BUT, having said that, I do have a strong gut feeling about this one 🙂 PS, even if it’s an entirely new moniker I would LOVE to see a Harper Row book with Becky Cloonan on art duties!

    • Yeah, Catwoman’s joining the Justice League of America – which actually might be Geoff Johns’ attempt to rescue the character from the very bowels of comic book hell, which is where the character currently resides. Shelby and I have been talking (since Catwoman 13 came out) about how that series is unbelievably squandered potential. I don’t know why every writer treats Catwoman’s world like a joyless slog through a swamp of poor decisions – she’s the worlds greatest cat burglar: can’t she just have fun stealing shit?

      • I want to track down that Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke run… Catwoman has never been a huge character for me, but I bet that’s one hell of a run. I only ever find sparse, non-consecutive issues in bins though. Probably should look for it in trade

        • Frankly, the only “Catwoman-centric” book I’ve ever read was Catwoman: Year One (it’s an annual, 1995 I think) and I honeslty didn’t like it very much, but as a part of a larger cast in some Batman arcs like Hush which I mentionned and Long Halloween and all, I’ve always liked her. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the 1990’s animated series and she was a pretty interesting character in that too, but it brings me back to the question I posed earlier, is Catwoman best served in smaller doses? I’m more than willing to be proved wrong here though, if anyone can suggest a story which focuses and Selina I’d give it a go. What run are you referring to Mogo? I’ve read so Brubaker stuff and liked it, I’d give that a shot.

        • It’s the Catwoman solo series that started in 2001 after No Man’s Land and I believe started with Vol 3 #1 (though a few DetCom back-ups by the same team preceeded it). I haven’t read it outside of a few single issues back when it was coming out, it’s something I’m still having problems tracking down in floppies, but the track record of both writer and artist is tremendous so I figure that’s my best shot at enjoying a Catwoman solo. I also tend to prefer her as part of a Batman story – I love Batman: Bloodstorm and consider that to be my single favorite elseworlds (yes, even above Kingdom Come.)

        • I guess I should mention Bloodstorm is a GREAT recommendation for a Batman story that features Catwoman, it also is the direct sequel to Batman: Red Rain which needs to be read first and *doesn’t* feature Catwoman… still a great trilogy of Moench/Jones books though, period – with Crimson Mist rounding it out and collected as Batman: Vampire

  6. Frankly, I’m not sure I see Harper having book all to herself, I mean, other characters who are quite interesting and have lots of backstory don’t even support their own titles (Jason, Tim…). Nothing’s impossible though, and I’d definitely give it a shot it if happened. How do you see her contributing? Do you think she’d be a hands one batgirl type of character or do you her in a more subdued kind of crime-fighting? PS. Remind me to give you mad props if Dick does get offed in this event.

    • Yeah, you’ve got a point about even major players getting a solo book. Wishful thinking, I guess. I guess I’m just dying to see her fill out the role Cass Cain and Steph Brown used to inhabit. I guess I see Harper as a mix between Spoiler and Oracle… with technical know-how being her main edge but also figuring out the physical stuff as she goes along

  7. Patrick: I see where you’re coming from with Johns trying to save Catwoman, and it might help some, but the fact is that someone has to write her book GOOD. I’ve loved Catwoman in many iterations over the years, whether in the Animated Series, her role in Arkham City, as well as in many comics arcs, especially Hush. Yet when Shelby said she wouldn’t mind if she got killed off in the comments to Catwoman 13, I felt myself kind of agreeing. She’s been written into a wall in her own comic, she’s just not the interesting, well-rounded character she used to be. Frankly, it makes me question whether she should have her own comic at all; obviously poor writing has been a major issue, but it begs the question: is Catwoman better in smaller doses?

    Also, good point about Tim picking up for Dick if he were to die. I feel Tim has really drawn the short straw in the new 52, I’d LIKE to follow his adventures, but it would take a lot of hard convincing to make me pick-up Superboy so I can follow along. I read Teen Titans 0 though and it made me feel even worse about not seeing him in action, he seems to have so much potential and I hope her eventually gets his own title, be it Nightwing or something else.

    I love where this is all going, and frankly the wait is already killing me! This is the first time I’ve ever really waited for an arc to unfold on a monthly basis; I was only reading trades before and heard about the reboot practically a full year late, so that I bought back issues of Batman covering the entire Owls arc and read them in one go, now having to wait is death! I guess the plus side is it gives me time to come up with these theories and discuss them with you guys, so that we can all laugh at our silly ideas when this arc concludes!

    • Haha, exactly. So much time between issues, all we can do is drive ourselves crazy and talk circles around the plot 🙂 I think Patrick even touches on a larger point – Johns is practically building a team of characters that are either mishandled or neglected in the New 52. Hawkman got Liefelded, Green Arrow has been consistently terrible, Catwoman as described above, Martian Manhunter didn’t exactly shine in Stormwatch, and then Stargirl, Baz, and Trevor just happen to be Johns’ current pet characters. Should be a great book and I really hope Johns uses the opportunity to try and set the tone for characters that have been underplayed recently

  8. Since the Joker’s view is that the Bat-family weakens the Batman, I’m sure that the resolution of this will be a reiteration of the realization Bruce had in “The Return of Bruce Wayne” that “The first truth of the Batman is that he’s never been alone.” I imagine that the final disposition of the story will be that the family coming together will prove to be Batman’s strength, not his weakness.

    • I was thinking the same thing, but I just realized how Batman-centric that assumption would be. Batgirl’s experience with the Joker this month was pretty traumatic — to the point that you might expect everyone to rally around HER if this was a Batgirl-centric crossover. This is going to be rough for everybody. I honestly have no idea where the strength to defeat Joker is going to come from.

  9. Has anyone ever thought it could also be the Death of the Drake family? I have them top of my list to be “off’d” during DOTF. There’s some reason they were mentioned in Teen Titans #0, and if Joker knows who is who, then no protection program can save the Drakes. He’s one of the few non-orphan “Robins”. This could be a tipping point for Red Robin.

    Also, I’m really curious of Jim Gordon Jr.’s involvement in DOTF. In ‘Batgirl’, the Wild Card was played. Could we be seeing the rise of the next crazy super baddy? Joker Jr.? So excited to see what happens here.

    • Actually, I’d been wondering if James Jr. might die in this event (I mean, if the Drakes are a possibility, why not him?) Was James Jr. a character before Snyder made him a psychopath? That is, was he a villain before Snyder? It seems like, if anyone could take him out, it would be the man responsible for making us aware of him in the first place. But then I thought that would be kind of a let down, to kill him off here. It would feel like a supreme copout (that is, WAY worse than not killing anyone) to kill him or the Drakes. They’re such non-characters in the DCnU (so far), it would be such a waste to kill them.

      • I agree with killing those characters being a massive cop-out, unless other (more important) characters are killed as well. I really can’t wait to see where this ends up, I don’t want to re-start the whole debate we had about this arc at first but some lasting scar on the bat-family will have to be left at the end of this for sure given all the build up.

        • Well, I won’t name any names, but DC’s February solicits are out and the likelihood is that any character that is still breathing on a cover in February probably makes it out of DoTF okay. This narrows down the list of important characters who might die GREATLY

        • That actually reminds me of an interview I saw recently with Snyder (it may have actually been his twitter feed, come to think of it), where he said that [MILD SPOILER] Night of the Owls was actually harder to get approval for than Death of the Family (due to the length of the Owls storyline), which suggests to me that there won’t be any real shake-up. As Gino said, we don’t need to rehash the whole debate, but I still maintain that being a great storyline and having everyone alive at the end are not mutually exclusive.

        • Ya that seems to confirm no death of any significant character, yet I hope that with all this build-up and hype, there will be some significant and permanent scar left on the bat-family, something to remember Joker’s comeback by for years to come.

        • I should have trusted your instinct earlier as I’m now certain you’ve been spot on the entire time. Although, admittedly, I always have a morbid deathwish during event storylines, I really thought that by evoking the title Death In The Family there would be the implication of leaving a serious, lasting scar in the Batman legacy. It’s not that I think this is *impossible* without a death, I just think it’s exponentially more difficult. And more easily and readily reversible. I mean if a death is notoriously reversible in the DCU then anything short of that is doubly so. Having said that, I think Drew’s honing in on the dismantling of the Bat family as a unit is spot on at this point – we’ve already seen the implication for Batgirl 14 that she will be giving up her civilian identity based on Joker’s targeting of her loved ones. That’s pretty huge in and of itself.

  10. I think it’s too early to call DotF one way or another yet, and so far most of the Joker stuff has been great, but I am finding that – just as Owl-fatigue set in with Night of the Owls – following all of the tie in issues is a lot of work. I don’t need to point out the awful books that you have already talked about, and although the best books (like Nightwing’s owls and Batgirl’s owls and Joker) make the crossover worth it, I find a large part of me hoping that Snyder’s next arc with the Riddler will be a contained story. I love an epic multi-book storyline as much as the next comic lover, but I think it would be great to see a more streamlined arc, because there’s no denying that Snyder and Capullo are killing it in Batman proper.

    • I’m totally with you on that one Jack, having the terrible books in the cross-over does kind of bog the whole thing down, of course it’s possible to skip them but then I always feel like I might miss something important. I’m all for self-contained on the next arc (although to be fair, Owls only REALLY crossed-over for one month, you could easily follow Batman without Nightwing in that first arc).

  11. what if it isnt the joker what if its hush? Better yet what if “bats” isnt bats what if thomas elliot has been playing the role the whole time wouldnt that “kill” the familly? just a thought on a twist that wouldnt involve killing anyone but would still kill off the family maybe thomas has been playing the role joker tells everyone else in the family thomas kills joker in a rage the family disolves

    • That would explain how “Joker” knows everyone’s identities. But it also wouldn’t explain how there’s information he’s holding back (like their real names, families, etc.) Also, that would kill Alfred as we know him, so I renew my objection based on Alfred being crucial to the Batman mythos.

      Though you guys were talking about Vulko being Aquaman’s Alfred and this would amount to effectively the same twist.. Scott Snyder scooped by Geoff Johns? That tastes terrible.

      • Everything you’re saying is right except that I just intuit that this is the answer, I think my gut feeling is coming from the fact that Alfred has been missing the whole arc, is obviously a focal point, but his head being on that platter or him being simply harmed in some way is just too obvious of an answer for such a build-up of Alfred-related tension. I think it could be possible to surgically fix Alfred’s face to being “like new” considering we’re in the DCU and we have Bruce Wayne AND Batman’s resources, but his psyche would be much harder to repair. I do think it’s a story that could eventually be “undone”; I wouldn’t put it past Snyder, however, to want to strip Batman down to solo adventures as a new status quo for a while. And I definitely could see how Bruce never mentioning that Joker knows where the freaking Batcave is, which then leaves to this horrible transformation of Alfred, might make the rest of the Bat-family not want to be friends anymore (hence “Death Of The Family” – ie they blame Bruce for Alfred-Joker since he didn’t take the Joker card that was left at the Batcave seriously)

    • IF this is true, when they made the switch will be paramount. My thinking is that every time we’ve seen Joker in the “Joe’s Garage” jump-suit, it’s been him, but maybe the “Joker” in the purple suit with the platter is Alfred. Ultimately, I’m not sure what that theory would actually mean for the rest of the family (or Alfred), but it seems possible.

  12. Least likely theory of the day, but I’ll throw it out there anyway:

    Alfred becomes Joker II and Joker I reverts to his Red Hood identity

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