Over the next few weeks, Wednesday is going to be a bit heavy on Batman material, mainly because I am a little Bat crazy and I enjoy sharing that craziness with others. These segments will be the various Bats and Birds posts I have lined up, as well as a brand new Comic Box that will be the first to focus on DC characters. I am pretty excited for these as they will feature my favorite DC character, but I don't want to spoil anything quite yet. For our first Bats and Birds, we are going to discuss some of the ramifications of the latest Bat event to cross over the core Bat titles and take a look at the next big event concerning Damian Wayne's future.
Over the next few weeks, Wednesday is going to be a bit heavy on Batman material, mainly because I am a little Bat crazy and I enjoy sharing that craziness with others. These segments will be the various Bats and Birds posts I have lined up, as well as a brand new Comic Box that will be the first to focus on DC characters. I am pretty excited for these as they will feature my favorite DC character, but I don’t want to spoil anything quite yet. For our first Bats and Birds, we are going to discuss some of the ramifications of the latest Bat event to cross over the core Bat titles and take a look at the next big event concerning Damian Wayne’s future.
Death of the Family has wrapped up with last weeks release of Batman #17, after moving through almost all of the Bat related titles over the last few months. Consider this your Spoiler Alert, as we are going to be discussing not only the finale, but some of the developments in store for the Bat family over the next few months. Which according to some of the clues dropped and some words from Grant Morrison looks to be a pretty intense couple of months, especially for one Robin in particular. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and start rambling incoherently, so let’s move this along as structured as possible.
Starting with the finale of Death of the Family, which I have to say was a little anti-climactic, but with all the buildup nothing would have paid off as much as my imagination demanded. Don’t get me wrong, I was in no way disappointed in the finale, but I was convinced something a little worse was going to be under those serving tray lids. Let’s recap a little before we move forward. The Joker had launched his family wide attack on Batman, in the hopes of freeing Bats from the shackles of Robins and Batgirls and getting more quality time for Joker. His attacks were mainly psychological, as any good Joker plan usually is, and after he defeated every member of the family he presented them a bloodied serving tray which left us with a cliffhanger. As the final confrontation plays out between Batman, Joker, and the various members of the Bat family, much is revealed in a very fan pleasing interaction between the bitter enemies.
The family was still reeling from the revelation that the Joker may have been in the Batcave before, and could possibly know their identities. Throughout the course of the event we were always left questioning whether or not Joker had found out the secret, but as the story progresses we realize that he doesn’t know, and really couldn’t care to know, as Bruce had already pretty much revealed his identity to an uncaring Joker. The events of DotF left the team separated from each other, disheartened with their mentor and father figure, and dealing with the various tortures heaped on them by the Joker.
For a team that has been as close (sometimes grudgingly, in Jason’s case) as the Bat family since the start of the New 52, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the distance from Batman. I realize it may seem ridiculous to call the Bat family close, but when compared to the other ‘legacy’ characters of the DCU (Flash, Superman), they are really the only group left intact after Flashpoint. At least, that was the case until Joker had his way. Which begs the question, how does Bruce move forward from here knowing that the Joker won and succeeded in driving his family away from him? Bruce is left to deal with the disconnection from his children (real and adopted) as well as his own realization that maybe Joker knows him just as well he says he does. This will all certainly take its toll as we move forward into the next stage of the Batman family.
Which brings us to the next big event that will affect all the Bat titles, and will revolve around the departure of Grant Morrison from the world of Batman. Morrison has been the architect of the Bat titles for a few years, stepping back to only one title as the New 52 rebooted the DCU. Batman, Incorporated carried on Morrison’s style and has given him the opportunity to finish the story he began before Flashpoint, a story which he has implied will end with Damian Wayne.
It’s no surprise that Morrison, as creator of Damian Wayne, is looking to wrap up his run with a mega story that centers on the new Robin and his battle with his mother, Talia al Ghul. Unfortunately, it’s not looking so great for Damian, and some clues from upcoming issues allude to an end to not only Morrison’s run, but maybe Damian as well. Lending credibility to this thought are the absence of Damian Wayne from any Bat cover in April or May, including Batman and Robin which has spent a lot of time focusing on Bruce and Damian’s relationship. As the titles all work from the upcoming finale of Morrison’s Batman, Inc., the various taglines for the issues also tease a very dark turn for the Bat family. What kind of taglines, you ask? Newsarama put them all together for us:
Batman, Incorporated #8: The promo copy for the February issues says: “Everything Grant Morrison has been planning since the start of Batman, Incorporated leads to this stunning issue! You must not miss this one!.
Batman and Robin #18: The cover for the March issue features an iconic-looking image of Batman and Robin, with the copy, “You dare not miss this issue! It’s the Batman and Robin story of the year!”
Batman, Incorporated future issues: Issue #9′s tease for Morrison’s story says, “The fallout from last month’s shocking turn of events has Batman on the run! Is The Dark Knight a murderer?” Then issue #10 features an angry Batman on the cover and says, “When only one can survive, which will it be: the man or the bat?” Then Talia al Ghul is on the cover of issue #11 with copy that says, “Batman’s world has been devastated by his war against Talia, but is he willing to give up on his own humanity?”
Future Batman family issues: One look at March covers for anything involving Batman makes it clear he’s not a happy camper. And the language in the promo copy? “On the darkest of nights…” and “Where is Batman…?” are clues that something is amiss.
May’s Batman and Robin solicitation: In issue #20 of B&R, Bruce apparently doesn’t team with Damian like usual. No, he turns to Jason Todd, of all people. The copy says, “The massive fallout from the recent events in Batman, Incorporated take Batman to the very limits of his sanity… will The Red Hood pull him back — or push him over the edge?“
It’s obvious something big is coming that is set to shatter the already shattered Bat family, but it could be anything, right? Well, recently leaked cover images from Batman, Incorporated #8 point to a more specific outcome that would explain the horrible event that destroy’s Batman’s world. It is important to note that the following image is unconfirmed and there is some doubt to its authenticity, but it certainly stokes the fires a little bit.
The image obviously references Morrison’s Batman R.I.P. story line that led up to Damian taking over the mantle of Robin in the first place. Obviously Batman didn’t die, so the cover may not actually be a direct reference to the death of Damian. A few clues here and there, mixed with a ton of speculation leads many fans to believe that Morrison will end his run on Batman with either the death of his creation, Damian Wayne, or at the very least we might see Damian vacate the role of Robin, leaving the yellow cape to someone else.
Which isn’t too far fetched at this time. With the absence of Damian Wayne from upcoming covers, plus a teaser cover for Batman and Robin #19, which features a fold out ‘WTF Certified‘ cover that shows just a corner of the yellow cape alongside Batman. This image led many to think a new Robin will be revealed as the WTF surprise. DC has stated that every WTF Certified issue is guaranteed to drop some jaws, so I would expect a lot of these big events to happen during April’s releases.
I won’t rant on here with more speculation, but something we need not speculate over is the fact that big things are coming in the Batman titles. Morrison leaving the Bat titles ends an era that has redefined a number of the characters, and I imagine he will choose to go out with a pretty big bang, leaving another crisis for Batman and his associates to deal with. After having been broken apart so thoroughly by Joker, will whatever Morrison’s planning take Bruce further off the rails and cause even more damage to the strained relationship he has with his wards?
I can’t wait to find out. Batman, Incorporated #8 starts the next big arc and drops into comic stores on Feb. 27th, and the DotF aftermath continues through all the Bat titles.
What did you think of Death of the Family? Any theories on the possible future of Damian Wayne? Let us know in the comments section below!