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This is your chance to let us know what you thought of the conclusion to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Death of the Family.  Here you can be as spoilery as you wish about Batman #17 and we want to hear it all! Your theories, compliments, and qualms. Sound off in the comment section below!

15 Responses

  1. Travis McCollum

    I was really happy overall with the issue, though I was surprised nothing really shocking happened. I was expecting Alfred to be underneath the plate and when he ended up being alive and we saw the faces, I knew it was all a ruse. I think the confrontation between newbie Batman/Bruce and Joker where he pretty much revealed to Joker that he was Batman but he didn’t care was really intriguing. Makes me really wonder about some things. And the whole family ignoring him, kinda does make me wonder if this is the moment when, besides Robin, the whole crew goes off on their own exploits for a while away from Batman like Batwoman has been doing.

    Also the Ha thing (the element) at the end really gave me a chill. Not sure why but it was intense.

    Now it’ll be interesting to see what’s next for Batman. I wonder if it’ll be an original character like the Owls or if we’re going to get another big baddie again. Just have to wait and see I guess.

    • M. Da Ponte

      Actually it’s been said that after the next 2 intermission issues (with the next featuring Harper Row), Snyder has a long arc (around 10 issues?) revolving around the Riddler.

      • Travis McCollum

        That should be interesting. I love The Riddler personally and was hoping for more of him after DotF so if he is planning a Riddler story, that would be great.

  2. M. Da Ponte

    I feel this issue that definitely requires a second reading, more so than any other issue in this arc. Once to finally read the final chapter in which we’ve all been giddy, and frothing at the mouth over ever since the arc was announced. The second reading is for once we finally have our bearings and try to understand what we just read.

    Ever since “Death of the Family” was announced, I think people naturally assumed it had to do with Batman and his allies. There was either going to be a death of a member of the unit or “death” in the sense that something so tragic will occur in which the Bat-Family will be rocked to it’s core and broken up. After reading the issue a second time, I get the sense that the “family” is the symbiotic relationship Joker has with Batman, and Joker was giving one final performance or “joke”. I almost felt as though this entire spectacle was an elaborate way for Joker to kill himself. In the conversation with Batman he was almost trying to convince him to go over the edge and finish him once and for all.

    Greg Capullo. What else can be said that hasn’t been said already? For all talent Snyder has, this story wouldn’t have nearly had half the dramatic punch without Capullo’s pencils (and the wonderful colours of FCO Plascencia). His depiction of Joker’s necrotic face and the framing of every scene is truly terrifying and wonderful. I just hope we can get many, many more issues out of this dynamic duo.

    Oh look at me prattle on endlessly, I think I’ll just shut up now.

  3. thisjohnd

    I had no idea what to expect from this issue. I, like most of the Internet, thought that Alfred was surely going to perish. He was the obvious choice and thankfully Synder completely avoided the obvious in this issue the entire way through. As Travis said above, it was surprising that nothing “shocking” happened, but thinking back to the closing moments of the book, I think the death that everyone was looking for was presented right in the title of the arc: Death of the Family. By ignoring Bruce’s request for a meeting, I think the Bat-Family is disbanded and Joker has ultimately won, which is perhaps the most haunting aspect of the book. I think not having a family anymore will do more damage to Batman than any death could have done.

    I do have a few issues that a re-reading might help me figure out but I thought I’d throw them out anyway:

    1. Did Batman truly know Joker’s identity? (one of the final panels shows a “Identity Unknown” over Joker’s picture on the computer)
    2. What was the significance of the fly at the end? I know this fly was on Joker’s hand in the dinner sequence, so was it just supposed to be a sort of Joker’s last laugh moment? It’s also curious that the fly got into the Batcave at all (which might be symbolic of Joker getting in?)
    3. How did Joker know who the Bat-Family was if he was bluffing about getting into the Batcave?

    • Travis McCollum

      I know the questions are probably rhetorical or just for discussion purposes but I think I can help a little bit.

      1. Honestly I don’t think he did. I think Batman did it more as a scare tactic to try and get in the Joker’s head which did seem to work. More likely than not it’ll at least give Joker an excuse to stay away till his next big event. And on the off chance he DID know…then why would there be the identity unknown? See what I mean.

      2. I think it’s both. Symbolism for getting in the cave and it played into the whole “Ha” element thing showing that while the arc may be over, Joker gets the last laugh in the end…in a sense.

      3. He knew a majority of them already going in. He helped shape Jason Todd into the man he is today (thanks to RHatO #0’s reveal), he knew Barbara because of Gordon (and if not because of that, how would he know to kidnap her mom?), and Damien has a hit on his head as Damien “Robin” Wayne (Batman Inc). The only ones I’m not sure on are Dick and Tim, although he might have learned their identities from other people who figured out their true identities.

      Hope that helped in some form.

  4. Sean Lamont

    I think this issue clearly showed me where Snyder and Capullo have excelled in the medium; and it’s all a matter of trust. Not trust in the quality of the story, but trust in how far either is willing to go to prove/deliver their themes.

    In a field where we are all certain that everything is going to work out okay nine times out of ten, the style they have adopted sews seeds of doubt and diligently tends to them over the long story; putting the reader in a frame of mind that they just cannot be certain that will be the case.

    Sincerely enjoyed it, and very educational from a writing standpoint as well!

  5. speederice

    First off, I loved the art. From the cracks in Batman’s mask to the Joker’s decaying face-mask…this issue is superbly handled from an art standpoint. Love the panel of Batman looking across the table and we see him through the ring at the top of the serving dish cover. Also love Alfred’s feisty attitude toward Bruce’s playing nurse toward the end.

    I have to admit, I feel a little misled by the conclusion. Not necessarily a bad thing, but with the “Death of the Family” title and, as Bobby points it out in his review, Snyder making promises that this was going to bring about big changes, I thought that this would have gone further to shake up the status quo. But re-reading and thinking about it, with all the comic book “deaths” recently that have not amounted to anything, Snyder does the right thing by not killing any actual person, but perhaps the idea of the close knit bat-family.

    I have a few complaints about the writing on this one. I may need to sit down and re-read the entire arc but it felt like this issue dropped the medieval times theme that Snyder had been building on from previous issues. I was hoping for more explanation of what the Joker had been doing for the last year to prepare for this moment, why he had become so different that even Harley couldn’t recognize him, and the whole reason why he cut off his face was thrown away in a line of dialogue. Snyder is also falling into a bit of a “villain ties up batman, explains himself, batman escapes, beats up villain, wins” routine.

    But overall the issue was another solid entry in this Batman run, and I can’t wait to see what is coming next.

  6. Bobby Shortle

    Hey guys, just want you to know I’m reading all your comments and we are going incorporate them into our show next week! I have a lot of spoilery things to say, but I want to let you guys go first and then give my take on the podcast!

  7. Samuel

    I thought the issue as a whole was great. I loved the reveal of what was on the plates. But I felt cheated when it was revealed to be a trick. I was also disappointed by Joker’s “death”. Was I the only one who was actually rooting for Batman to kill Joker?

    • thisjohnd

      I thought we were going to get recreation of the conclusion of Batman Begins with Batman opting to just not save Joker and letting him fall to his death. But I thought the way the Joker “died” was just brilliant. He didn’t even give Batman the satisfaction of being the cause of his demise. You just know it’s going to haunt Batman that his hands weren’t the ones that stopped Joker.

  8. Will

    Overall, I loved the issue and story arc. For me, Batman’s final confrontation with the Joker had echoes of The Dark Knight Returns where in both the Joker delights in pushing Batman to the edge and then ultimately contributes to his own “death.” Given what Scott Snyder has said in recent interviews about wanting to do other Joker stories in the future, I think we can assume the Joker will return in some form.

    As some have previously mentioned, the “death of the family” seems to be a broken trust between Batman and other Bat-Family members, which seems like the deepest, most enduring wound the Joker could have wrought (a convenient truth as I can’t imagine the DC higher-ups allowing the removal of key characters that would affect the continuance of other titles). I wonder if we will ever know what Joker said to the Bat-Family “in the dark,” but I hope this thread is continued and explored both in Batman and the related titles. And I wonder if the trace amounts of Hahnium left in Bat-family will come into play.

    For me, the tension created by Snyder’s narrative along with Capullo’s grotesquely effective art made for a truly unforgettable story. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

  9. RepStones

    Definitely needed to read this issue a couple of times. I can understand where people who complain there was no actual death are coming from. But then we have to remember that one thing you can rely on the joker for is for him to not meet expectations. He’s the king of chaos and if he had gone through with killing Alfred and even actually skinning the faces off the Bat-family, well, those were telegraphed so much for him to have done it would have been predictable. Truly not a facet of the Joker. And by writing him in such a way Snyder really nails what Joker is all about. I don’t understand people who are disappointed by not being proven right, surely being surprised is the more rewarding feeling anyway?

    Important to remember that Joker’s aim is to get inside Batman’s head, the rest of the Bat-family are merely tools to that end. It’s simply enough for the Joker to suggest and make Batman believe his family’s faces have been skinned off. Again great writing by Snyder in this regard.

    That Joker has put immense strain on the dynamic of the Bat-family is evident even before we get to the final pages where they all text Bruce to say they can’t make it. There is a couple of panels in the middle, immediately after batman has saved them with the water when Nightwing tells him to go after Joker, that the rest of the family will be fine. There’s one panel in particular where they’re all staring at him. Nightwing knows now that Batman is consumed by his conflict with the Joker, the family comes second, so he tells him to go after (the thing he loves?) Joker.

    The cracked mask of Batman juxtaposes lovely with the tied face on Joker, two sworn enemies whose real face is most likely the mask each wears, not the one underneath. Which feeds nicely into the flashback at Arkham, when as Bruce he confronts the Joker. Joker doesn’t react, perhaps because he believes that it is the cowl of Batman and not Bruce Wayne that is the true face of batman?

    Epic writing from Snyder, and well worth the wait. Capullo again knocks it out of the park. That one panel where batman lands a hay-maker on Joker and the flappy skin effect…just wow…beautifully gruesome.

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