Comic Books

BATMAN #17

• This is it: The stunning conclusion to “DEATH OF THE FAMILY”!

• Who lives? Who dies? Who laughs last? Find out as Batman and The Joker face off one last time!

Story by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion
Colors by FCO Plascencia
Letters by Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt
Cover by Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Toney Daniel, Matt Banning, & Tomeu Morey

Price: $3.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 1.7%
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Avg Rating: 4.4
 
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Comments

  1. Any last guesses as to whats under that silver dome?

  2. Please not Alfred’s head…

  3. And here … we … go …

  4. I re-read the previous parts of this storyline over the weekend, it read really well in one sitting and rekindled my interest in the book — it’s never not been good, but I was having a hard time maintaining interest in between issues.

    I’m curious to see if this issue has a “backup story” or is just an extra sized finale?

    • i am pretty sure it is extra sized… I thought I read that Capullo was doing all the art…

    • @KO: Yeah, I usually have that same reaction too. I love reading the issues for one title right in a row. Usually when I get my new comics I read them right away. But I enjoy them much more when I re-read them and do it with a bunch in a row for one title. Probably why I love reading trade paper backs.

    • I think Scott Snyder might read better that way actually.

    • Snyder is definitely better when an arc is read in a sitting. I’m REALLY hoping that this is the case here. I love comics the second time through, I know what to look for and usually catch all the foreshadowing and character movements better.

    • Just read the issue. This was pretty fucking fantastic.

  5. I hope there’s a great payoff here! As long as it’s not Batman, I’m good with whomever dies!

  6. I believe Alfred is safe, as I really don’t think you can write a relatable Batman without Alfred.

    You can do it without pretty much anyone else, though, so I am very concerned.

  7. I think that Alfred dies, and that Harper takes his place as the person who helps out Batman and the family. But I don’t really care. Anyone can die and I’ll be fine with it. As long as its a good story.

    • ^^This

    • +1

    • I also think Alfred dies and Harper takes over.

    • While I trust that Scott Snyder could pull off a move like that, I’d be worried about some PR backlash (not that that’s a good reason not to do something).

      We all know that Alfred is much, much more than merely Bruce Wayne’s butler. And while I have no doubt Snyder would continue to write Harper Row as a three-dimensional character that is a major asset to the Bat-family, I think DC would want to be very careful to avoid the implication that a teenaged girl is becoming Bruce Wayne’s new housekeeper.

  8. some one leaked a page, it implies Alfred. Hope the page was taken out of context.

  9. I have been under the impression that the death is metaphorical. Has it been explicitly stated that there will be one?

    Can’t wait for this issue, but will only get it saturday at the earliest, so hope to avoid spoilers!

    • “Has it been explicitly stated that there will be one?”

      Not that I’m aware of.

    • Well there is the whole “DEATH” thing mentioned in the title of this story arc – but yeah, I’ve heard from a lot of people that are saying its a metaphorical death – the death of the “Bat” family. The Joker is tearing Batman’s little group apart and killing what he has cultivated and nurtured for years.

    • Yes, I think it is more death of the idea of the Bat family, although it has to be something incredibly shocking to shock/please the villains and cause a breakdown for such heroic characters. If it has to be anyone, it will be someone from the “civilian” supporting cast (Alfred,Gordon, Barbara’s mum)

  10. After two arcs of Batman being victimized, I am really hoping that Snyder has him solving some crimes and protecting Gotham next issue.

    • I totally agree! We got a little bit of it in Owls, but this story has been strange. I really enjoy Batman the Detective, and this has had very little.

  11. This has been a great event, all the way around.

    As much as I dislike a lot of what DC has done in the last year or so, Batman has never failed to impress me.

  12. Snyder already has me wounded from the terrible ending to Rotworld, so he really needs to pull something amazing here for me to continue to have faith in him. He’s a good writer but the editorial hand in his books, with stretching them out and diluting them is too much for me. That and I heard from an interview a while back that his next arc is a nine issue Riddler story. That’s $36 too much for me and about 5 issues too long of an arc.

    • I just read that article too. Apparently issues18-20 will be an epilogue and then 21-29 will be with the Riddler and Two-Face. It does seem quite long but honestly if it`s good story telling, with great suspense and cliffhangers and tons of action I`ll definitely be along for the ride

    • This arc needed to be that long IMO for the pacing to.work, and for th ideas to be flushed out, it all felt rushed. It will b interesting to see how a long Riddler arc works out.

    • Don’t you think the Rotworld conclusion suffered because of the art change/animal man crossover more then anything that had to do with Snyder’s writing?

  13. I hope Alfred dies

  14. I’m really excited for this because I think Snyder has something up his sleeve here. Whether he kills anyone or not is irrelevant for me as long as he makes this issue just as enjoyable as last month’s.

  15. I would just be happy if this issue is half as good as last week’s Detective. This has been a really awful arc.

  16. Wasn’t this one suppose to be double sized?

  17. It has been leaked on the Nether Regions of the Light Net. I haven’t read it, but the reaction seems to be that it’s like lamer version of all other Joker stories ever.

    Hopeless.

    • Ever notice how there is really no classic Batman/Joker story in the comics outside of the polorizing Killing Joke. I think his rep is propped up from the movies more then what he’s done in the comic books.

  18. YES! I’m the 1,000 pulled!

  19. I wonder if it has something, somehow, to do with Joker himself. Maybe his real face or skin is under the dome. Just postulating.

  20. Wow the pull numbers for this are ridiculous. Besides obvious number one issues there really is no catching this title in sales.

  21. Thomas and Martha Wayne’s Head, severed and preserved all these many long years.

  22. This issue got a perfect 10 on the IGN early review.

    • IGN is also VERY hit or miss on their reviews a lot of times. However, they’ve done a good job reviewing Batman as everyone knows it’s good lol

  23. pleasedontsuckpleasedontsuckpleasedontsuckpleasedontsuck

  24. Since Batman figured that Joker was bluffing that he knew their ID’s because of the lack of evidence in the Batcave, I don’t think it’s Alfred. Penguin and Two face recognize whatever or whoever is on the plate, so it’s either an object of on of the “Robins”. I think Tim Drake is the good bet, since he’s expendable. Or Jason Todd is dead again, because he was killed the first time around. (After all, the Joker is repeating things from the past.)

  25. I skimmed through the leak, it’s a load of ass.

  26. I don’t know how many of you read Teen Titans, but the two tie-in issues featured both Tim and Jason. At the end of #16, Joker has *two* cloches (a cloche is the covered silver serving tray). This would imply each member of the Bat family is getting their own serving, so each one may contain something unique to the character.

  27. I tell you, if under the dome is the Black Diamond I am going to drop all DC books forever.

  28. Read it. I found it simultaneously awesome and underwhelming. Not sure if that makes sense but that’s how I felt.

    • i full agree and understand!!!!

    • Same here. The story was compelling and suspenseful, but it didn’t end with the “bang” that I expected. It looks like Snyder’s setting up a longer term situation for Batman to deal with.

    • I enjoyed this issue a lot, but it’s one of those issues that I feel I need to read twice to have it all really sink in. I enjoyed charcters’ reactions towards the end–felt truthful.

    • I agree. It was very good but there was just no big reveal or anything at the end. It just built up and then fizzled out. I was kinda surprised.

  29. If Alfred dies, it’s because he has seen too many of these ridiculous banner ads on the cover.

  30. I loved the art but found the story underwhelming. Mostly because the big reveal they’ve been hinting at in all the books didn’t hold the weight that it’s had dumped on it.

  31. I doubt it’s the case due to replies from the folks who checked out the leak, but it would be neat if it were verifiable personal effects of the leader of the Court of Owls.

  32. I really liked it, I can understand why those who wanted an never to do undone death were disappointed, but overall we got a new status quo and the title was fulfilled. Not the strongest issue of series, but there were some great iconic moments.

  33. perfect ending to a great arc.

  34. For me the strongest issues in this arc have the the first and the last, more than enough reason to consider this a strong read once collected. I have been fairly critical of elements of Capullo’s work (mostly the faces) bit I enjoyed this issues look greatly. I found this to be a satisfying ending with Snyder expertly pulling on readers expectations, this book can only build on this story now, can’t wait to see the Riddler used now, certainly the hardest bat-villian to ‘do right’… I have faith in this team though.

    my final word is still “black mirror” is Snyder’s bat-masterpiece though

    • I remember how bummed I was when the New 52 Bat books came out. Snyder had just wrapped up Black Mirror and nothing (including Batman) had what I found in those 12 issues. The intricate plot, the layers to the story, the sleuthing, the history, the art. This current arc feels like a mainstream album your favorite underground artist put out. I like it, but its missing an intangible that is realized at times, but what ends up usually sounding more like the big label’s producer. Does this make sense? I’ve felt this way about a lot of Snyder’s newer stuff, like there’s a framework in place, where once was inspired storytelling. I’ll still try just about anything he writes because he won me over so strongly with AV and Black Mirror, and I think DC knows this. Hence, the problem.

    • I’m with you there 🙂

    • Totally agree. Snyder’s whole run on Detective Comics is classic. Better than anything he has done on Batman, and that is saying something.

  35. My thought after reading this issue was: I wish Bruce had never started a Bat family. This issue just highlighted how bloated the Bat universe is. It’s like losing your best friend to a girlfriend/wife, it’s never going to be the same.

    I miss the good ol’ days of just Batman cashing cheques and breaking necks with Grayson by his side. No distractions.

  36. Kind of feels like Capullo and Snyder were on a very short leash for this issue. Big time letdown

  37. This is masterfully crafted. The character beats were as good as they get and the art was so exciting it woke me up instantly in the morning.

    But I just couldn’t really get behind two aspects of the story.

    SPOILERS:
    . I don’t see any reason for the Joker not to do what was inside the dome for real.
    . I see no reason for Batman to be so sure Joker did not know their identities for real, as this story and its tie-ins have made it pretty unavoidably obvious that he must know.

    Did I miss anything that disproves the whole identity thing?

    • He probably could but how twisted and cruel would such a joke be? Not very at all I suspect because it wouldn’t be a joke to being with. From a maniac’s point of view it makes sense. 😉

      I read it as that it doesn’t matter to Joker. He couldn’t care less who they are under the mask. It just doesn’t interest him in the least. “It would ruin his fun”.

    • It must interest him though, since he specifically goes after Alfred. Unless that scene in Arkham was insinuating that Joker has no memory of Bruce revealing himself, like he completely blocked it out and going after Alfred was pure coincidence.

    • Maybe, just maybe, Joker saw Bruce Wayne as a cheat on his and Batman’s relationship? A cheating that he couldn’t handle, so he choose to ignore it to keep the special relationship going?

      I do think a real Joker would cut the faces, but DC isn’t going to let that many characters’ pretty faces get maimed.

      Thus, Suicide Squad *SPOILER*:

      They kept Harley’s face intact too. Because DC doesn’t want their characters-merch ruined.

    • @smo – Yeah, but the whole “getting Alfred because of Batman Inc” is just not a strong enough reasoning for me… And he went after Barbara’s Mom, Dick’s circus, did a whole thingie with Tim’s and Todd’s “fathers” and so on. I just do not see how we can say at this point that he wouldn’t know them…

      @I-Doll – I thought the same about it, the only way to justify it is DC editorial control… For me it just felt like the story could not arrive where it was naturally going. Tsc.

    • Good points all around.

      @I-doll Well it didnt *have* to be faces, it could’ve been fingers, ears, toes, or even parts of characters close to the bat-family.

      It just seemed like what was under the cloche would’ve been something that revealed a specific weakness for each member of the family to the “king” (Batman), not rubber masks on a bed of ice. Like Batman having to keep an eye on Damian out of fear that he’ll kill again if under a dire situation, or Batman not fully trusting RedHood because they dont agree on how to fight crime. They even bothered to show Nightwing doubting Bruce’s methods earlier in the arc and getting punched in the face for it.

      I guess I was just expecting a different direction when Joker was referring to the bat-family as a bunch of ingrates who dont deserve to dine with the king.

  38. This idea popped into my head this morning – I’ll be heading to the comic store right after this posting:
    Under the dome are the skins of all the Bat Family’s faces.

    It’s creepy and reversible…

    Whatever it is, I trust Snyder.

  39. Well, that was horrible. Just like all the other issues in this arc.

  40. I didnt like how this arc played out very much. It began strong but slowly felt like the characters were being put in a safe zone, only to be taken back out of their packaging for another play session later.

    **********SPOILERS**********
    A lot of red-shirts died and any actual characters came out unscathed. I mean I figured 5 bat-family characters under the effects of joker toxin would hurt eachother in worse ways than a black eye and a few minor flesh wounds, especially after seeing them all brandishing blades. Mental scarring will be the lasting effect after this arc, but it would’ve been great to see a few physical changes to the bat-family dynamic. Maybe an Alfred with badly scarred eyes or a RedHood missing a few fingers…it just seems weird that this was a more personal fight with Joker yet also the least violent towards the main characters.

    My favorite part of this issue is when Bruce tells Alfred about his trip to Arkham.

  41. Wow, this issue was a let down. I have not even been reading Batman, but all the rave reviews of this story had convinced me that I was going to get it in trade. But I had to pick up 17 to see the big reveal. Was pretty disappointed by the end of the issue. Snyder’s storytelling is great, but the lack of any real change sucked.

  42. ******Spoilers *******

    I have only been reading the Batman issues of this event. At the very, very end when Batman asks Nightwing what Joker said to him in the dark, Dick won’t say. If you have read all the Bat-family tie-ins do you find out all the things that Joker said to each individual character or are those all a mystery even with the tie-ins?

    Also, that hug between Bruce and Damian in the middle of the story is awesome, if Grant kills Damian I am going to be so sad.

  43. This was disappointing. I almost hate to admit it because I’ve been championing this book since issue one, but I really feel this ended with a dud. It was like watching a fuse burn down only to have it puff out when it reaches the dynamite. I’m not sure what I was expecting. It could have been any number of outcomes and I would’ve been satisfied as long as it was told well. But I was definitely expecting more.

    SPOILER

    As soon as I saw what was under the dome, I checked out. When the reader sees that, they know full well that it’s a trick so you lose them immediately. Batman might not know it, but we do. The strict framing devices and the nature of the beast that is comics prohibits such a dramatic change. Once that happened, I was on autopilot. Apparently, so was Snyder. A stronger mixture of Smilex (again)? An airtight trap that’s not so narrowly escaped (again)? A crowbar (again)? Batman vowing to end it and Joker slipping out of his hands and plummeting to uncertain death (again)? I thought this was supposed to be original. Snyder intended to make Joker formidable again, but all he ultimately did was suggest that the character might finally be out of tricks.

    • Did we all know that the platter reveal was misdirection? Isn’t the Joker capable of anything?

    • Maybe we didn’t all know it. But anyone who’s read comics for more than a week should have. There’s no way they’re gonna rip the faces off of five characters who each star in their own book. Joker may be capable of anything. DC Editorial is not.

    • I get what you are saying but you could probably make this same statement about any superhero book. We know who is going to win, that the villain will not die and we be back and that nothing major will change. Unfortunately that the state of comics.

    • @Jediaxle: There are many shades of reductive reasoning. Your point is valid, but broader than the point I was trying to make. I wasn’t expecting or demanding a death, but this story’s namesake IS the story that elevated The Joker to a whole new level of villainy. Despite being brought back 20 years later, Todd’s death was one of the few that mattered during that interval.

      Death or tragedy in comics can always eventually be undone and made meaningless. That’s not the point. What matters is how hard it hits at the time, and how long the ripples flow outward. I realize it’s just an homage title, but I think that title and the hype planted a seed in many readers’ subconscious, which led to much of the disappointment. Some of it is blind hate for hate’s sake, but a lot of it is warranted.

      Whatever repercussions the effects of the family being traumatized may have, I can guarantee you they will not have the lasting effect that Jason Todd’s murder did. Writers milked Bruce’s guilt over that for almost two decades. The next writer will undoubtedly ignore the brief turmoil between them, for the simple reason that turmoil doesn’t have the impact that shocking violence and loss brings. Even in comics, where it is almost always rendered moot.

    • @wheelhands: Completely agree with everything you said.

    • +1 to Wheelhands also.

  44. I don’t know how anyone is complaining about this arc, the tie ins have mostly been good, I felt like a lot of the court of owls tie ins were arbitrary but what happened in books like Nightwing will have a major effect going forward. Scott can tell a good story without someone having to die, the trust in the bat family took a hit. It was a cool story without death or maiming of main characters.

    Reminds me of the Gladiator scene are you not entertained???!!!

    I also really think Greg knocked it out of the park with this issue, I stared at panels and read the book more than once.

    I mean how often does a main character actually die in a bat book, from Jason dying Batman beat himself up for decades, the guy is conflicted enough, the story doesn’t necessarily need it.
    The bat family all have their own books to run except for Alfred, Damien and Gordon and I don’t think you get better stories going forward without those characters.
    If you want some death doled out read batman inc, I think Grant might end up killing Damien.

    • I don’t think the majority of readers were demanding a major death. Some may have been expecting it, but those are folks getting swept up in Hurricane Hype. I was seriously worried about Alfred. I didn’t want him to die. I don’t want any of these characters to die. That’s the point of playing with our emotions. To use your Gladiator comparison, your comment makes us all sound like an angry mob foaming at the mouth and demanding bloody violence.

      I think the disappointment comes from most people expecting a grand finale to a really exciting and suspenseful story. Not more of the same. No, I was not entertained. Snyder could’ve done any number of different things here, and if it were original and compelling, I would’ve have eaten it up. Instead, we got a typical ending to what has so far been a deliciously atypical story.

    • I think what Snyder did here with the bat family was on the psychological end and is going to play out over time, this could have major effects on storytelling going forward. Cages have been rattled.

      .As for the are you not entertained few posts above you are calling for blood, not necessarily everyone. smo5000,illmatic.

      How would you have written it, it is the Joker. He isn’t going to win, he is going to either go to arkham or disappear, Batman isn’t going to kill him. I did think they gave further insight into his twisted psyche. I’d be interested to hear what people would have changed.

    • What I would have done is irrelevant. I don’t think of it in those terms. I’m not a comic book writer.

      I get that the family is sad and a little traumatized. Maybe I just don’t find that as interesting as you do. It read to me like they just needed a break. I guess Snyder could turn that into something interesting, but I’m not sure it has much legs. I enjoy a twist on a seemingly predictable story. Here we got a twisty story with an all too predictable ending that no one bothered to predict because we expected more. You can try and turn that into some kind of metaphor for the writing mirroring Joker’s twisted sense of humor, but I’m not buying it. I don’t believe that every Joker story has to end one of two ways (Arkham or obviously fake death). There must be more creative or compelling ways to do it. It’s not my job to come up with them, it’s his.

    • Joker in this arc did reference the different roles that he and the other rogues in the gallery play as well as him and batman having their dance. I guess you could end a Joker story with Batman being incapacitated sort of like the end of last issue with a no one is safe from me sort of message,but doing this too much would reduce the Batman character, he has already been victimized quite a bit in this run.

      If Batman is able he is going to put Joker away(arkham), or not able due to obviously fake death, he is still out there. Now if we sent the Joker into space…..although someone has probably already done space joker and i just didn’t read it.

    • Haha. I’d read that.

      Look, I’ve really enjoyed the journey up to this point. And I certainly was entertained by some parts of this issue. The artwork is consistently fantastic. And Snyder continues to show genuine insight into Gotham and how it works. I just felt it fizzled a bit at the end. I was hoping Snyder would stick the landing, and in my opinion, he stumbled a bit. In retrospect, I prefer Court of Owls because he introduced new villains, new themes, and really pushed the envelope. I was hoping for him to add some of that magic to an ending that would truly have serious residual effects. Every writer wants to work on the Joker, and he did it well. With that out of the way, I’m really looking forward to his Riddler story, and remain optimistic about the future. Batman is still in very good hands, and I’m really happy about that.

    • Can agree with that.
      I think we figured something out….. Superman, Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, Space Joker.
      It writes itself, might as well print money.

    • @arathi411
      …I was entertained, but I expected Joker to be a bit more sadistic than this at the end. He snapped several cop’s necks, who knows how many people he killed during that bridge scene, and electrocuted batman last issue….so I expected him to behave that way in the end as well.

      I’m not exactly damning the whole arc or giving this comic a 2/5, it was good (I’m a sucker for Capullo art) but I thought it would leave a bit more physical scars behind is all…maybe not to the main characters but the secondary characters that the main characters care about. Gordon’s wife, damian’s dog, grayson’s circus buddies, whoever red robin and redhood care about.

      All I know is that Gordon should be severely under-staffed after this arc.

    • I haven’t read the red hood or red robin tie ins but it sounds like maybe you should give the nightwing and batgirl tie ins a read, just saying. The tie ins I read this time around were great compared to night of owls tie ins.

      As a former national guard member the inaccuracies of the batman and robin issue along with the poor story in general caused me to dole out a 1/5.

  45. The journey is almost always better than the destination. Comics are no different. What is funny here is that (these days) we often complain about how there is too much death in comics. Characters get killed off and come back to life in 6 months to a year. Its a gimmick that we have been seeing a lot of. So, when a story ends and no one dies? We complain because we want the gimmick? I think the Joker just got us with this one.

  46. So judging from online posts and forums…has it become the “cool” thing to hate on Snyder?

    • No. It’s become the cool thing to label a common, momentary disappointment as “hate”.

    • I don’t know what people are saying… but for my money, Scott is an incredibly talented writer who has written some of the best Batman stories ever, with Black Mirror, Court of Owls and Death of the Family.

      That said, even with a lot of great stuff in it, this issue was my least favourite in the arc.

    • Snyder’s the man! Has anyone read Severed? That has got to be one of the best horror comics of the last decade, no joke.
      Snyder is great, the disappointment mostly comes from extreme expectations and hype.

    • It has been very “amusing” reading all the hype about this arc. I agree that some of the let down has been all the hype and fanboys and DC share the blame. Even listening to Snyder talk about this had me expecting more. I wish I would have read it with the tie-ins and no expectations. The first issue was awesome, and I have not enjoyed it since. I’ll reserve my thoughts on the arc when I give it a full reread.

    • I read it all, wrote a review, still not impressed. That said: Snyder seems to have too much on his plate or something; he’s been slipping in my opinion. AV slowed down the last few arcs, this arc on Batman missed the mark for me in SO many ways, Swamp Thing was a disappointment. His earlier stuff is MUCH stronger. If you haven’t read Black Mirror and AV (I have not read Severed), read them and see what you think. Because of the caliber of these works and the respect he’s been given, it looks like we sometimes forget how new to the game he is. Does anyone know what he wrote before American Vampire? He has earned my sampling, and I am looking forward to his new stuff (especially Wake), but his latest material hasn’t measured up IMO. I’m not hating on him. I know he frequents this sight and I honestly hope he reads what I write. I doubt he cares what I write, but he is a great talent that I hope doesn’t fall off, so I voice my opinion.

  47. POSSIBLE SPOILERS
    POSSIBLE SPOILERS
    POSSIBLE SPOILERS
    POSSIBLE SPOILERS
    POSSIBLE SPOILERS

    I thought this was a good issue. But like others, I was a little underwhelmed by the fact that nothing immediately drastic happened. I think they could have gotten away with the faces not being a joke. However, I think this is going to have long-term psychological implications on the “kids.” It’s already caused them to alienate Bruce, and each other. So essentially, the family was killed, at least for a while.

  48. Funny to see all the disapointment in this forum, I guess that’s what happens when you have a month to over analyze and theorize about it. This was actually a fine conclusion and very intense. I was a little confused by how the family escaped the joker gas though. All the people who thought Alfred was gonna die, well, I told ya so :-P.

    • The family overcoming the effects of the gas was actually one of my favorite bits. A little far-fetched maybe, but I liked the fact that Bruce trusted them to make it through and they succeeded. You could chalk it up to willpower and prolonged exposure to the gas I suppose.

    • @JokersNuts I totally agree, I thought this was a great story overall. What Snyder and Capullo/FCO Plascencia really did well was working together to achieve the sense of uneasiness and dread that was present through out the whole arc. I can’t say I was certain no one would die, but I was sure it wasn’t going to be any of the main players in the Batverse.

      In the end I look at this story with a quote from Hitchcock on my mind, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it”. I think Snyder understands that idea very well, and this story was a great example of it.

  49. In general agreement with the underwhelmed-ness. This was not at all bad, but I wanted more. Not sure what that more would be, just more. The intro at the police station was truly terrifying and built up some serious menace. Ending with a fire that was put out instantly seems inappropriate. And what happened to the whole King’s Court thing? All in all a mediocre ending. Better than the end of Rotworld though!

    For my money Snyder is one of the best comic writers of this generation and Black Mirror is up there as an absolute must read. Hope he doesn’t get too down in response to the feedback from Swamp Thing and this. Looking forward to more, better stories in the future!

  50. This arc’s downfall was the hype machine that overrated it.

    Please check my mini-review here:

    http://bit.ly/Wo6aYG

    Comments and feedback are always welcome!

  51. AAAAARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

    The LCS I went to today got shorted BIG on this by Diamond!

    I’ll have to wait until Saturday to get another shot at this.

  52. I think if you’re underwhelmed by the ending it would be a good idea to reread all of the issues in a sitting and see if your opinion changes at all.

    My first reading was a positive one but something was missing. I think part of that was the expectation with every page turn that something physical would happen (a death or maiming or something).

    Reading it a second time, after rereading all of the previous issues in the arc, I had a much greater appreciation of the more permanent emotional scars that Joker caused the Bat Family.

    Snyder and Capullo’s Joker is the most terrifying I’ve seen depicted on paper. But with a small vulnerability that in no way betrays or lessens the character. He is the most chaotic Joker I’ve read but that vulnerability also makes him the most fully developed Joker (without actually having to give Joker a back story, which would be a no-no).

    More importantly than the Joker though, is Batman and the Bat Family. Joker (and Snyder) succeeded in their goal. The family is dead. Or at least on life support. If Joker had killed one of the family, or blinded Alfred, the character that suffered would have become a martyr, pushed the family closer together than ever.

    But by manipulating the Bat Family the way he did, making them face their deepest fears about themselves, he drove a wedge between everyone. They succeeded, but in doing so they had nothing left to keep them together. Bruce kept important information from them which proved to them that they are not in the same league as Batman. They are his inferiors. They are just soldiers in his war on crime. But these aren’t soldiers, they’re all generals in their own wars. Plus, they can’t face Batman after the lies and secrets. They feel betrayed.

    And even then they don’t know the worst part. Bruce Wayne betrayed the family when he essentially told the Joker he was Batman in that flashback at the end. In that way, Joker was right. Bruce Wayne basically revealed his identity to Joker, something he has done for very few allies, and obviously never done for an enemy. There is a deep connection there, probably not love on Batman’s part like there is for Joker, but it is a deeper connection than Batman has with almost anyone else.

    • “Snyder and Capullo’s Joker is the most terrifying I’ve seen depicted on paper.”

      Have you ever read Moore, Brubaker, Azarello, Dini or Rucka?

    • In terms of simply terrifying the closest runner up in comic book form would be Azarello and Bermejos but, and I don’t know how to fully explain this, it felt like there was something missing. It felt like an empty “performance”.

      Most of the others fall on the “lighter” side of the Joker coin (as light as crippling someone can be).

      The terrifying comes largely from Capullo’s art (not to mention the rest of the art team, specifically the colors). But Snyder nails it too. His line about lying under Gordon’s bed at night, listening to him sleep, is one in particular that will always stay with me.

    • So the actual death of the family arc will be called “the DEATH death of the family, for real this time” and the big ending will be Damian’s dog being murdered, while Alfred continues to stay the exact same age for the next 20 years and Gordon still does that roof-gag with batman til 2035 :p

      I’m kidding of course, I agree that the arc reads much better in one sitting.

      I dont think a character’s (secondary or otherwise) death or maiming would’ve brought the family closer together because the rest of the family could easily blame batman for keeping them out of the loop and saying “I’ll handle this, you dont understand the Joker” when he clearly cant handle it alone. You have a good point though, now I need to read the tie-in issues to see what that adds to the arc.

    • “If Joker had killed one of the family, or blinded Alfred, the character that suffered would have become a martyr, pushed the family closer together than ever.”

      That is an EXCELLENT point I had not previously thought of. The last thing you want to do is give the enemy something to rally behind – it would have the opposite effect you intended. And killing one of them would have galvanized them rest. I think an argument could be made that it might push one of them (Jason) over the line into killing Joker, but that wouldn’t have the intended effect either – Jason would be outcast, and the rest would be intact. What Joker did is worse than killing anyone.

      Snyder and Capullo do an excellent creepy Joker, but Tomasi and Gleason are right up there with Batman and Robin #15/#16. Especially #16 – the upside down face is uber creepy. I think Tomasi mastered Joker dialogue in those issues too. Incredibly well done.

  53. The final couple of pages really made this a good ending….But the lead up to it was very disappointing in my eyes. Everything wrapped up way too conveniently and the moment you saw the ‘faces’ I knew it was going to be bull. I wasn’t expecting bloodshed here or even a death, as the figurative meaning of the arc’s title makes perfect sense. But still, this is the second time for this run by Snyder where the final issue is a bit disappointing then the journey. Capullo’s art though was still dynamite so no complaints there.

    3.5/5

  54. Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

  55. I’m sorry, this is a perfect example of people trying to justify a underwhelming issue because the series so far was great and they worship Batman. God forbid the finale to Death in the Family was not the pick of the week lmao.

    • Or they were genuinely satisfied.

    • I suppose, I don’t see it. But your right, different strokes and all that.

    • Why would anyone who wasn’t the actual author of this comic waste time “justifying” it to an Internet community of strangers? The premise behind your comment seems odd and confounding to me. And to be honest, I’d also be surprised to see the author of the book feel a need for such silly actions, but that would at least seem plausible. Just because you don’t like something why would you assume that means that the thing in question is basically unlikeable? I was bored by the movie Titanic, but it’s obvious that millions of other people felt differently. And none of those other people were “wrong” for enjoying that film. Likewise, I sincerely enjoyed this comic. What possible reason would I have to lie (either to you or to myself!) about that?

  56. I was hoping that Dick was more important to the story than he was. First he gets bitch slapped by Bruce in the owls storyline, and then he gets berated by the joker with no consequences. I think that they need to toughen him up a little. Perhaps Explore more of his stint as batman

    • I’m not sure if you read the Nightwing tie ins but Dick had his life trashed by the Joker, going to have a major effect on that book going forward.

    • I have. I’m not saying he’s been forgotten about. With the circus fiasco, I think that is interesting for months to come. I guess what I am trying to say is that he should be more than just a side character in these big stories. Otherwise, why use him?

  57. PymSlap PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    .tt. No death for the family in Death of the Family. That’s like no cane in Citizen Kane.

  58. ***** Some spoilers*******

    To me I felt this issue did exactly what i wanted it to do. It showed the jokers “love” for batman and that his life is truly incomplete without him. I feel he didn’t kill the others in the family because then he wouldn’t get the batman back that he loves, instead he would have gotten a revenge driven madman. I believe the goal was in the end to drive the family away and show them that if they interrupt his “love” story they will pay. It also showed batman really does love his family but really has no idea how to keep them safe

  59. Honestly, I don’t get how anyone can find this story anticlimactic. I was holding my breath the entire time. Right up until the end.

    Paul’s POTW review was absolutely spot on when he said that this story ratcheted up the tension to almost unbearable levels and had us all on the edge of our seats, for months. That level of sustained tension among a large fanbase is rare and ‘DOTF’ deserves respect for that fact alone.

    So, the suspense and horror carried right up until the final issue and it ended with some quiet, reflective character moments (which are actually the highpoints of Snyder’s writing for me) instead of YET ANOTHER overly dramatic superhero death that won’t matter in a year’s time. Personally, I call that a win for serious, proper writing over shock-based sales pitches.

    Are some of you guys so jaded that a story can’t be great unless someone gets killed or something else ‘monumental’ happens? The Joker already killed a Robin, he already paralyzed (and violated) a Batgirl, he already murdered Gordon’s Wife…What else can he do, exactly? And after that, where do we go from there? How long before people stop caring and become immune to such things?

    Let’s say he DID kill Alfred: how long would that last before it got retconned in a really stupid way? Batman without Alfred? Come on.

    Moreover, how were DC’s writers and artists going to tackle a ludicrous ‘everybody loses their face’ series without being ridiculed all over the show? It would not have worked at all. The fear of the event is far more interesting than the event itself, look at movies like ‘Psycho’ or ‘Jaws’ for examples.

    Who else could Joker kill, exactly? No one. Not really. This issue actually demonstrated brilliantly why the Bat-family exists in the first place, as well as how much they mean to most of us fans.

    This story not only re-established The Joker as the single greatest supervillain threat in comicdom, but it also emerged as a great study of the Joker/Batman dynamic, the best one I’ve read since Grant Morrison’s run (especially the third act of ‘R.I.P’). It was a masterclass of tension and mood and it felt sinister and haunted at all times. From its beginning in Issue 13, to the ‘romantic’ mealtime finale that was released the day before Valentine’s, this was a powerful and emotive ride that appealed to a lot of people and sold a lot of books.

    OK, so Alfred’s head wasn’t under the tray. Who honestly wanted to see that anyway? I sure as hell didn’t. Joker made his point:

    He can get to you.

    All of you.

    At any time.

    …That’s actually WAY scarier than killing you. If that happened in real life, most of us would choose death.

    Let’s say I’m an axe murderer, if I break into your house and kill you – its simply ‘game over’. Scary, yes, but not for very long. But if I’m an axe murderer who knows where you live, who breaks into your house and watches you sleep at night (and who might, just MIGHT kill you)…That, my friends, is far, far more terrifying.

    I think I read somewhere that Mr. Snyder is a protege of Stephen King. Need I say more?

    • Oh, one more point (then I’ll stop, I promise): the death of Jason Todd in Jim Starlin’s ‘Death in the Family’ (of which this story can be read as a sequel of sorts) was so amazing because The Joker had been threatening to kill our heroes for decades, but had rarely (if ever) succeeded in killing a major character. Aside from the obvious media outcry (they killed Burt ward? Bastards!), the main shock was that, after years of safe, comfortable stories, some truly bad shit was finally going down.

      If ‘the family’ had actually died, they would have to be brought back, because the Bat-books simply wouldn’t work without them. When you go killing major characters, you have to bring them back eventually and that damages credibility and reader enjoyment (at least, from my perspective it does). However, when you put our characters in a jeapardy unlike any they’ve ever faced before (despite being placed in jeopardy at least once a month for almost a century) and readers really, truly care about the outcome, then you have a genuinely great story.

      We all thought Alfred was going to die and we really, really cared about it. How often does that happen with comic characters who routinely ‘die’ only to be reborn and who are captured, kidnapped, trapped and brutalized on a regular basis?

      This story was excellent in my opinion.

      ‘Nuff said (at long last).

  60. I think a more appropriate name for the story arc should be Death of Snyders Innovation, at the end of an arc that seemed to me at least to be a year long, nothing has changed from the beginning. The implication is that there is now a wedge in the bat family, although in the new Batman and Robin, there they are, nothing about the relationship has changed. We get no real payoff, we dont even get the Jokers real name as a reward for the tedious story. This is definitely the “jump the shark” moment where Synder has officially sold out.

    The art still kicked ass though

    • The story felt like the ending was supposed to be different. That something game changing was supposed to be happening but someone in editorial or some where else vetoed the idea at the last minute.

      What a terrible ending to such a high profile event.

  61. Well, the Joker didn’t kill the family, but he certainly maimed it.
    4stars. 😀

  62. … buh …?

    All that build-up for THAT?

    No, i didn’t want a death, maiming, blinding, etc. bt the “emotional scars” will have to last to be worthwhile. This ‘death” of the family will have to last and run through the Bat-books to make this “pay-off” work.

    Very disappointed in this issue.

  63. Flawless

  64. I know im in the minority but I felt this was a very weak Batman story. (and this is coming from a huge Batman fan). I didn’t read any of the previous arcs and I thought a joker story was a good place to jump in. But I didn’t find anything compelling about this story. Of course all the crossover stuff drove me crazy but it was more then that. It was like Snyder wanted to do a huge game changing story and then it was just kind of a let down. Loved the art though. Just didn’t feel like this contributed much to the lore of Batman. Im sure you all thoroughly disagree. 🙂

    • I agree.

      For my money, I enjoyed the first issue f Injustice and the latest issue of Batman: Arkham Unhinged much more. These are not the “real” Batman and Joker of the New 52/DCU. These are based on video games.

      I’m finding less and less I like in the New 52 and more I lie falling outside of hew “normal” DCU titles.

      Like you, I’m a big Batman fan.

    • I totally agree Snyder’s Black Mirror was an excellent story & because of that I had high hopes for his run on this series but it hasn’t been to my liking much like a lot of the New 52. I dropped this series a couple of issues ago not caring for the outcome & by a lot of what I have read guess I didn’t miss out.

      I too also love Batman, but for me Morrison’s run was the best which is why I am now only getting Batman Incorporated just finish his entire run. The New 52 has been a lot of let downs especially for me & so my money goes elsewhere which is a huge shame since I once considered myself more of a DC man than any of the other publishers.

      I know a lot of people will disagree & state that our opinions are of the minority & that if we don’t like it don’t buy it, so I guess my Batman fix will be gone after June with the end of Batman Inc., such a bummer but can’t please everyone even the minority!

    • I have been enjoying Batman and Robin a great deal, RileyArmpit32. Maybe you’ll find it to your liking. Issue 17 is a good starting point. The annual was top-notch, too.

  65. Well, just read this and it was very good. But as others have stated kinda underwhelming. Basically I finished it saying, “That was it?” Don’t get my wrong, just expected something really major to happen. Or some kind of big reveal, something. We didn’t even get to hear what Joker’s real name was, who he really is. But, it was really well written. I guess the build up in the previous issues just kind of left me hanging.

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