What I Bought Today – Batman #17 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Well, it’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time for me to talk about…
Today’s gonna be a little different. I bought four comics, one of which being a comic from last month that I missed and had to have specially ordered. But before I get to that, I wanna take the time to talk about one comic in particular first, the conclusion to Death of the Family, Batman #17.
Scott Snyder, I salute you sir. You frigging TROLLED us for MONTHS, making us dread this issue and what was gonna happen to poor Alfred. Well, the good news, for anyone that feared that, is that Alfred Pennyworth is alive and well, and thank goodness too. After all, the last time someone died in a Batman comic, I had to eulogize them, and really, what could I possibly say about Alfred frigging Pennyworth? I am not qualified to talk about Alfred Pennyworth. And better yet, I don’t have to eulogize ANY of the main cast, who all survive the ordeal.
So, Batman wakes up after being electrocuted at the end of Batman #16 to find himself in the caves under Gotham City, and bound to a chair at the head of a table. And sitting around the table, also bound and with sacks over their heads, are Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, Batgirl, and Red Hood, who all tried and failed to bring down the Joker in their books, which I’ll get to in a bit. Of course, Batman COULD get free, but Joker’s rigged his chair so that, if he gets up from it, it will light the gasoline that has covered the Bat Family. A Jokerised Alfred comes out and pulls the sacks from the Bat Family’s heads, revealing them to be covered in bloody bandages, as Joker finally shows us what’s in the platters. What is it? THEIR FACES.
So after Joker decides to bullcrap with Batman for a while, Batman gets up, setting the family on fire, but he knows these caves pretty damned well and blows out the roof to bring down a huge gush of water that douses them right out. Joker takes off, naturally, and Batman immediately goes to Damian, and the poor kid is clearly traumatized, which I’ve NEVER seen from Damian, EVER. He’s putting up a brave front, naturally, but you can tell he’s horrified, waiting for his father to pull the bandages off and tell him how bad it looks…and sure enough, he’s perfectly fine, Joker’s little platters being fakes. If I had to guess, Dollmaker made ’em or something.
Batman wants to stay with the others, but Nightwing assures him that they’ll be fine and that he needs to go after Joker. The freaking psycho clown has an axe and decides to try to bullcrap some more, but Batman just wrestles it away saying “No more talk”, punches him saying “No more dances”, and picks up Joker’s crossbar saying “No more quarrelling”. Joker lets him in on the fact that he left a bomb full of Joker gas, but Batman’s not going back, not because he plans for them to kill each other, but because he believes in them and knows they don’t need his help, as sure enough they begin to resist the effects. As Joker almost goes over a cliff into a waterfall, Batman stops him and tells him he intends to go further than he ever has with Joker, and for a moment you really believe he’s going to kill him, but instead he intends to do something far worse from the Joker’s perspective: Batman tells him that in the past year, he finally figured out who he is. But Joker, in his rage and horror as Batman leans in to whisper his true name, hits Batman with a joy buzzer and dives off the cliff, his face falling off and flapping into the wind. Oh, and no, I guarantee he ain’t dead. He’s survived WAY worse.
Later on, Alfred is recovering in bed as Bruce tells him he’s expecting the others shortly. Before that, though, he has an admission to make: Shortly after they took Dick in, Bruce went to Arkham Asylum under the pretence of investing in a new wing to the Asylum, but what he was really there for was to go to Joker’s room and present him with the Joker card that was found in the Batcave beforehand, and while Joker looked at him and the card, he didn’t truly SEE Bruce. This is how Bruce knows that Joker doesn’t know he’s Batman: Because he doesn’t care. If anything, if someone told him Batman was Bruce Wayne, he’d probably go running into the corner singing “Trololololol lololol lololol!” He doesn’t WANT to know who Batman is for the same reason he doesn’t want Batman to know who he is: Because it would ruin his fun. The truth is, if he cares ANYTHING for the Bat Family, it’s not that he believes they make Batman weak, it’s because they get in his way. For him, it has to be Batman vs Joker, ALWAYS.
So why didn’t Batman tell the others this from the start? Because it would mean admitting that he knows Joker WAY better than he’d like to admit. And I’ll admit, I get where he’s coming from there. However, after all that’s happened and the mental scarring they’ve taken, the family leaves messages one after the other telling that they can’t make it. I don’t think they’re necessarily angry with Bruce, they just need time to themselves. This leaves Bruce alone in the case as the computer alerts him to an isotope found in the Joker toxin they were infected with, which turns out to be Element 105: Dubnium, also known as Hahnium or by its original element symbol, Ha.
Okay, so I know that there are gonna be people pissed off by this finale. Me personally? I love it. I still have frakking chills from this. This was a great arc. There are some of the flaws of Death of the Family, and I will point them out eventually, but for now I’m just gonna say this: There is no fucking way Joker was in as many places as the tie-ins suggested he was in all at once. None. Maybe a couple, but not all of ’em. He either had stand-ins or hallucinogens or some other type of trickery, but there is no way he was present in all those locations.
So yeah, this further cements that I’m gonna be doing a retrospect on Scott Snyder’s Batman in the super near future. In the meantime, though, be sure to check back here in a few when I discuss what else I bought today: Nightwing #16, Batgirl #17, and Batman & Robin #17. Ja né!
Posted on February 13, 2013, in What I Bought Today and tagged Alfred Pennyworth, Batgirl, Batman, Comics, Dubnium, Gotham City, Joker, Nightwing, Red Hood, Robin, Scott Snyder. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.