By BatWatch 88 Comments
Death of the Typical
Snyder’s Joker story has been taking the comic world by storm, and everybody is wondering what is going to happen next. The traditional theories hold that some member of the Bat Clan is going to bite the dust, and most of those betting on the forthcoming demise of an ally of the Bat are placing their chips on Alfred talking his final bow.
I would not be surprised if some member of the cast gets offed just because of the media blitz and corresponding sales boost that would no doubt accompany it, but I have to say that I think most of this speculation is off base. Snyder did not call this arc “Death in the Family,” “Death of an Ally,” or “Death of a Friend.” He chose the name “Death of the Family,” and I have faith enough in Snyder’s work to believe that he chose a name which actually fit the story.
If Snyder did choose the story name with care, that begs the question…just how could Joker kill the Bat Family? Even if you killed a patriarch of the family like Alfred or Commissioner Gordon, the family would go on, so what can we expect in the next few issues of Batman?
Considering the amount of people buying Batman each month, I am sure someone somewhere has voiced all these theories, but I have not heard any of them. All these scenarios are based on my own personal musings. I have organized these by starting with the theory I would most like to see come to pass and moving towards those I like less.
Death of a Legacy
What if Joker did not kill the Bat clan directly but rather destroyed the Wayne family legacy?
Joker is claiming to know the identities of Batman and company, but even if he is lying, he still knows exactly where Batman’s crew gets their funding, Bruce Wayne and the Wayne fortune. Batman has always been a character propped up, in part, by his toys, and he has come to rely on them even more than usual more recently. How did Batman defeat the army of talons that attacked the Bat Cave? Did he outsmart them or use crazy ninja skills to beat them? Nope, he jumped in a giant Iron Man type armor and tore them apart piece by piece. I could give a half dozen more examples from the past year alone, but I think you all know that what I say is true.
If Joker could somehow destroy the Wayne fortune, it would send the entire family back into the crime fighting stone age forcing the entire crew to rethink the way they fight crime. No longer would writers have the easy out of adding a piece of previously unheard of tech to defeat a bad guy in the eleventh hour. Bruce Wayne would probably still have some significant money holed away, but if the Bat Family had to get by with a couple million as opposed to untold billions, it would change everything.
Death of Morality
What if Joker killed the family by splitting it into two factions?
We know Joker is planning to hit the family and hit them hard. What if Joker managed to push one member of the family so far that they snapped and crossed the line? What if one of Batman’s children killed the Joker to defend the rest of the family? Batman would have to condemn their action creating a split between the family members that backed the killer and those that opposed him. From that point, it would not take long for a Bat Civil War.
Which of Batman’s children would do such a thing? I cannot see Barbara pulling the trigger. She is probably the most forgiving among the Bat clan. Jason would do it in a heartbeat, but that would not shake the family too much. Tim killed Joker in the DCAU, but that is sort of a different interpretation of the character. Damian already has plenty of blood on his hands, but would one more murder shake the family? Very little. Personally, I would love to see Nightwing do it. Tim and Damian look up to Dick in a big way, and their loyalties would have to be divided if they had to choose sides. Dick would never do such a thing, you say? Remember, Dick allowed Blockbuster to be killed in a similar situation back in the nineties. If backed into a corner where the only way to save the family was to kill Joker, I would not put it past Grayson to pull the trigger.
Death of Integrity
Joker claims to know a secret about Batman which he will no doubt unveil later in the story, but what secret could be so powerful that it would completely unravel the fiber that holds together the Bat Family? How about Batman being a killer?
Hear me out on this one.
I cannot picture Bruce going around secretly killing people now, but I can see it being a dark secret from his early years as Batman. Perhaps when Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham seven years ago, he was not determined to abstain from killing. In the earliest issues of Batman’s appearances in Detective Comics, he is shown dropping criminals off of rooftops to their presumed deaths. What if this was written back into cannon? I can easily see Bruce having killed a villain in a moment of vengeance only to realize the immeasurable suffering he released on the family of the criminal and repent of his actions making a vow never again to take a human life.
If Bruce had been covering up a murder for all these years while insisting on unflinching moral integrity from his protégés, that would shake the family to its core. The Bat Family would be severely strained, and some would likely turn on Bruce. Every member of the Bat clan would have to reevaluate their no kill policy and ask themselves whether they were abiding by it because it was right or because that was how Batman told them to operate. In addition, just think of how ticked Jason would be that Bruce had killed some criminals yet let Joker live.
Death of Denial
Joker claims that his whole motivation for his current series of attacks is because Batman does not really want his family. Batman was stronger when he was alone, and on some level, he wishes his kids were not holding him back. What if Joker was absolutely right?
By the time “Death of the Family” wraps up, Joker will have led a personal attack on every member of the nuclear Bat Family. After all of this concludes and Bruce has felt the emotional weight of fearing for his family every second of the day, what if he decides that Joker, despite his insanity, was right? What if Batman does fight crime better on his own without having to constantly worry about those tugging at his cape? Batman could disband the Family, cut off their access to his systems, and tell everyone else to quit. Would it work? Absolutely not. However, it would require everybody but Batman to change their operations drastically, and DC could tell stories that focused strictly on Batman.
What Do You Expect?
There we have it. Perhaps I am completely wrong, but hopefully you agree that all of these theories are worth considering. I might be doing another “Death of the Family” article before the arc wraps up, but in the meantime, I would like to hear what you think. How do you picture this story ending? What do you expect and what do you want to see?