Death of the Family has been a Joker story like none other. We've seen Joker unleash his mad schemes upon Batman and Gotham City in the past but they've never quite been on this level. WIth the Joker attacking all the members of Batman's inner circle, we've been wondering what will happen next.
With one more story to go, BATMAN #17, this is the issue that will bring it all to an end. The Joker has made some big moves and readers are expecting a big and shocking ending. Throughout the story, there have been several unanswered questions that we hope will be addressed as well whatever the conclusion may bring.
The way last month's issues ended, Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Robin, Robin and Red Hood were all left at the mercy of Joker. Defeated, each issue ended with Joker preparing to deliver a sliver platter with, what we assume to be, a gruesome entree underneath. The question is, what is Joker serving for dinner?== TEASER ==
A common theory is it has something to do with Alfred. We haven't seen him since he opened the door to Wayne Manor and was assaulted by Joker in BATMAN # 13. The chances of Joker having chopped Alfred up for a meal is very unlikely. Cannibalism isn't Joker's game. We do know there's more than one platter as seen in TEEN TITANS #16. In BATMAN #14, Batman did hear a recording of Alfred being tortured and Joker suggested Alfred's eyes had been burned out by acid.
It's possible Joker could have gone so far as to chop up Alfred but even that is unlikely. Continuity isn't always a main factor but we've seen Alfred already in BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #16, the first part to a six-issue Mad Hatter arc. The fact that Alfred appears there may not guarantee his safety or survival but it gives hope that he'll be around for a while. It wouldn't be surprising if Alfred did lose an eye or was scarred in some way.
What about Commissioner Gordon? Where's he been since BATMAN #14? We can assume he's still in a hospital recovering but obviously Joker could have easily gotten hold of him and brought him to the party. If Gordon were to die or get seriously injured, it would be hard on Batman. Jim is pretty much his best friend. If something were to happen, there'd be more repercussions hinted in upcoming BATGIRL issues.
With these theories, there's also the fact that Two-Face and Penguin got a look at what's being "served" in BATMAN #16. Their reaction is something to consider. If it were Gordon or Alfred's head being served, they would react differently in each case. If it were Gordon, they wouldn't really care if something happened to the police commissioner. If it was Alfred, would they even know who he was?
The idea behind Death of the Family is more of an attack against Batman's close…family. There is still the question whether or not Joker knows their identities. In some of the tie ins, like NIGHTWING, TEEN TITANS and BATGIRL, it seems Joker must know. Why would he have targeted Haly's Circus or kidnap Batgirl's mom. This goes against the idea that Joker would actually care who was under each mask.
If Joker allowed his face to be cut off, would he extend this to the others? What if Joker's plan called for him to physically scar each member? It would be a constant reminder of his attack. It's not likely each platter will contain the sliced off face of each family member but he could have done other things. What doesn't make this too likely is it's appeared that the platters were already bloody
Although another theory is Jason Todd will see some disfigurement. The upcoming solicits for RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS tease that he's "suffered terribly" and there could be something horrible underneath his mask now. It seems unlikely that Jason would lose some or all of his face but he is a reminder that Joker failed to properly kill him since he managed to return to the land of the living. Jason's been teetering between being a hero and anti-hero and this could push him back over the edge to where some want him to be.
Then there's the location of this final story. Where exactly is this dinner party and final confrontation taking place? In the preview images we saw, Batman and Joker appear to be fighting in a cave. Could it be the Batcave? Probably not. Even though Joker forced Batman to tell the others about the possibility that he could have discovered the location to one of the early sections of the Batcave, he probably didn't actually make it that far. It could be questioned why he never made his move before. We all get the impression that he doesn't care who is underneath the cowl.
Again, to him, his fight is against Batman, not Bruce Wayne. We have to assume Joker chose this area for a particular reason. He would have needed time to set everything up. It's not likely he could have set things up at the Batcave in a short period of time while Batman's been running around searching for Joker. Unless he's forced Alfred to do all the work. But there is the question about the axe Joker uses in the preview pages for BATMAN 17. It's almost in the shape of a bat. Did he bring that with him or was it in the cave?
Another theory suggests that perhaps it's Joker being served. Maybe all this time it hasn't really been Joker terrorizing everyone. There could be multiple "Jokers" running around, which would explain how he could be attacking the Family at the same time and be able to set up all these intricate traps for them.
It could be Clayface creating "Jokers" but that doesn't seem likely as we've seen this angle before. It would be shocking to see Joker dead or not having actually been part of this story but it doesn't seem like DC would want to kill off and chop up the Joker. If it was someone else or several others posing as Joker, why would they be so invested in returning Batman to his former "glory"?
We could sit here all day and try to guess or theorize on what will happen in BATMAN #17. We even tried to get a hint from Scott Snyder himself. This is what he had to say when asked what was being served:
While I won't spoil what's under the lid, I will say that the theories on what's under there have been inspired and inspiring. Can't wait to see what you all think of the reveal. Let us know! And thanks again.
Of course we wouldn't want to be spoiled before getting the chance to read it. Chances are we're not going to see an actually death of anyone. This is about the Family. Something horrible will happen. If it does come down to someone getting seriously injured and Joker did know how to get to the Cave (or a section that's been blocked off) and Batman never told anyone, the blame is on him. This could give Joker what he wants. The Family