06 Nov, 2012

Place Your Bets! Batman: Death of the Family

Posted by Raphael in Opinion|Random

The Joker’s back, and he’s ready to take down the one thing that Batman needs: his family! With so many lives on the line, we take a look at who’s the most likely to meet a grim end at the hands of the Joker! What are everyone’s odds? Click though to find out!

Sure, everyone knows Bruce Wayne is a billionaire genius, playboy, philanthropist orphan (One more on ya Stark!), but despite his skills and resources, he needs his family. Alfred sews his stitches and is his compass, Robin has served to help counter the darkness… and the Joker thinks it’s time for this to end for Batman to find his edge again.

The story started in Batman #13, and you can tell each of the first issues of the Death of the Family by looking for the Joker Mask covers, which feature a die-cut mask covering the main character’s face on the cover. Let’s take a look at what might be the possible list of victims, and see what the odds are of each member dying. I suggest reading Batman #13 first, there may be some minor spoilers.

The odds are calculated based on the history of the character with the Joker, the chance they will encounter each other in this massive crossover, and the likelihood DC Comics would kill  these characters, because let’s face it, a character with his or her own title isn’t likely going to die… right?

THE EXTENDED FAMILY

COMISSIONER GORDON:

PRE-NEW 52 HISTORY: Comissioner Gordon has been Batman’s ally pretty much since the beginning. He’s also had a long history with the Clown Prince. Between crippling Barbara Gordon (The Killing Joke), and killing Sarah Von Esson (his girlfriend, this happened in No Man’s Land), Gordon knows full well what the Joker is capable of, not to mention the  countless cops that Joker’s killed. Somehow through all of this, Gordon’s maintained his integrity, and proven he’s worthy of Batman’s trust and admiration.

NEW 52 HISTORY: Not much has changed for the Commish, he’s still an ally of Batman’s, and has been supportive of Bruce Wayne’s initiative to fix Gotham prior to the Night of the Owls. Gordon’s life was threatened, but he made it through.

ANALYSIS: Joker’s already toyed with Gordon in the prelude, as well as in the past… could the Joker finally be ready to go at Gordon? I don’t think so. As much as he likes tormenting Batman, he enjoys putting the screws to the Commissioner. The Commissioner lives, but he doesn’t come out unscathed.

ODDS: 50 – 1

BARBARA GORDON/BATGIRL:

PRE-NEW 52 HISTORY: Barbara Gordon is a brilliant student, and daughter of Comissioner Gordon, but she also happens to be the original Batgirl! She tagged along with Batman and Robin until The Killing Joke, where she was crippled. Down, but not out, Barbara became Oracle, technical operations for all the superheroes, particularly the Birds of Prey.

NEW 52 HISTORY: Barbara’s recovered from being crippled, and is back to being Batgirl. She’s been through some harrowing times with new villains like Knightfall, and she’s not 100% recovered from the trauma of being in a wheelchair, but she’s trying to.

Barbara’s history with the Joker (getting crippled at his hands) is enough to probably compromise her. She’s going to want to get Joker in the worst way. She has a grudge to settle, and it’s a legitimate one. He took away years of her life, put her in a wheelchair. That would get  anybody seeking vengeance, but it also makes people lose their heads. Losing your head can become literal when it comes to the Joker, but I think Barbara will survive this… because James Jr. is still out there, and he’s going to want to play too.

ODDS: 40 – 1

LESLIE THOMPKINS:

PRE NEW 52: Leslie is one of the people who helped a young Bruce Wayne deal with the trauma of his parents’ death. She, along with Alfred, has been a moral compass and a confidant for Batman as well as Bruce Wayne. She also runs a free clinic in one of Gotham’s more dangerous neighborhoods.

NEW 52: Leslie was present after Dick’s parents died. Not much else has been seen of her.

She’s not a character we see often anymore, but she’s been someone who’s there for Bruce. This could be a Phil Coulson moment: a character that is prominent but not too prominent being killed for effect. I hate to make it sound so cold, but Leslie has no connection to anyone except Bruce, Dick and Alfred, but those three are essentially the Batman mythos. Goodbye Leslie?

ODDS: 10 – 1

THE SIDEKICKS

DICK GRAYSON/NIGHTWING:

PRE-NEW 52: The first Robin, Dick has had tons of adventures with Batman, until becoming Nightwing. After the events of Final Crisis, Bruce Wayne disappeared, and Dick Grayson became the Batman.

NEW 52: Dick is back to being Nightwing, as Bruce Wayne has become Batman Prime. Dick has gone back to Haly’s Circus as a mysterious killer has been after him. He is currently attempting to rebuild Gotham’s Boardwalk with Haly’s Circus in tow, as well as Sonia Zucco, the daughter of the man who killed his parents.

ANALYSIS: The first Robin ever, Dick has had relatively little Joker experience in recent history… maybe the Clown Prince of Crime has been lulling him into a comfort zone? Lady Shiva showed up in the last two issues of Nightwing, but could that be the opening Joker needs to take advantage of and kill off Robin #1? Possibly, but not likely.

ODDS: 45 – 1

JASON TODD:

PRE NEW-52: Jason was the second Robin. He had an attitude and pig-headedness that didn’t exactly endear him to readers, but he paid the price when people were allowed to vote to see if he lived or died. The Joker did the deed by beating his head in with a crowbar. Talia Al Ghul found him and ended up resurrecting him with a Lazarus Pit, and his currently relationship with Batman is…. strained at best.

NEW 52: Jason leads his Outlaws, Roy Harper and Starfire, into battle against those who would do wrong, while also going after those that murdered his teachers, who trained him to fight against a hidden threat while he recovered from being dead. It’s not really clear if Jason and Bruce have talked.

ANALYSIS: The Robin with the most personal connection to Joker, having had his brains bashed in. Jason is busy with his Outlaw friends, but who’s to say he won’t drop by Gotham and try to bash Joker’s skull in. Second time’s the charm? Unlikely, but also unlikely that Joker would get past Starfire and Arsenal too. You’re safe for now, “Red Hood.”

ODDS: 40 – 1

TIM DRAKE:

PRE NEW 52: Once the true heir to Batman, Tim is the only Robin to have deducted Batman’s origin, and then volunteered to become his Robin, after Jason’s death. Tim experienced his own tragedies, with his father and friends dying, but he also became a preeminent martial artist, and a master detective in his own right.

NEW 52: He never was an official Robin, but he’s been Red Robin. Tim has been more about gathering teen heroes to fight against the Harvest. He’s had peripheral involvement with the Bat-family, but he does show up in Gotham when needed.

ANALYSIS: I actually think Tim is the most expendable of the Robins. He’s part of a large team, but a fractured one. He may be smart, but Jason thought he knew what he was doing too. I can see Tim losing his life, especially if he’s separated from the Titans. I really like Tim, and this is hard to say, but Tim could bite the dust.

ODDS: 10 – 1

THE LOVED ONES

DAMIAN WAYNE:

PRE-NEW 52: Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul, which means he’s got a ton of issues. On top of being trained to be a master assassin from birth, 8 year old Damian is the current Robin. He’s proven himself as an able fighter, but also a ruthless one as well. Both Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson have worked to curb Damian’s homicidal tendencies.

NEW 52: In what is arguably the best New 52 story, Damian’s soul has been battled over by Bruce Wayne and a man from his past, the son of Henri Ducard, Morgan. Morgan, wearing armor and calling himself NoBody, tries to recruit Damian and preach to him that his deadly skills can be used to kill people that deserve it. The battle for Damian’s soul is Shakespearian: if there were more time, I’m sure you could dedicate an entire issue to Damian agonizing over his choices. Damian’s ultimate choice is much more grey than you’d expect.

ANALYSIS: The most divisive Bat family member since Jason. People hate Damian, people love Damian. He’s the Batman that’s going to fail and make way for Terry McGuinness. With that already established, it’s kinda hard to see him getting killed. Beat to a pulp? Most likely, that’s what he gets for underestimating Joker!

ODDS: 100 – 1

ALFRED PENNYWORTH:

PRE-NEW 52: The faithful butler. Batman’s batman. Alfred has been around since the beginning, taking care of young Master Bruce. He let Bruce go out into the world, and then supported him in his crusade. He sets his bones, stitches his wounds, and offers sage wisdom. Thomas Wayne may have brought Bruce into the world, but Alfred is as much a father to Bruce now as Thomas was.

NEW 52: Nothing’s changed really.

ANALYSIS: Well… without spoiling too much, I think Alfred dying, while devastating, is unlikely. It’s too easy to kill off Alfred. Getting rid of Bruce’s father figure would be devastating, there’s no doubting that, but I think it’s such an obvious answer. It’s like killing Aunt May, everyone could see a 95 year old woman dying and not be surprised. Same for Alfie. Bruce is going to need him when this is all over… I’m hoping he’s still around!

ODDS: 25 – 1

SELINA KYLE:

PRE-NEW 52: Catwoman has had a bunch of origins. The most recent one has her being a prostitute being inspired by a vigilante Bruce Wayne to become a masked cat burglar… yeah, not quite the same message, but she’s a thief with a heart of gold. She doesn’t rob from the rich and give to the poor per se, but she also has had moments of kindness, not to mention a tryst or two with Batman.

NEW 52: Speaking of trysts, Catwoman’s series opened with a serious hot and heavy scene with Batman. Mostly though, Selina has been continuing her trend of breaking the law, but somehow doing something to help out. She has a small family, with a professional fence, and a connection inside GCPD.

Not so much a loved one as a booty call. Selina is a survivor. She’s already demonstrated  that she’s out for herself, but she also can be protective of people she cares about. What does that mean for Batman? It could mean a last second ally, or just some interested bystander. Selina is very much a wild card. Hopefully, she’s got some extra lives stashed somewhere. I think her soft spot for Batman will cost her, maybe not her life, but something important. Maybe this is where Selina becomes more of a villain? Maybe she abandons her allies and goes solo?

ODDS: 50 – 1

TALIA AL GHUL:

PRE-NEW 52: Talia is the heir of Ra’s Al Ghul, and has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Batman. Of course, off-again with them means that she’s sending man-bat assassins and masterful madmen after him. She loves Bruce Wayne, but also sees the world like her father does: as a place to be cleansed of all those who corrupt and destroy it.

NEW 52: Talia is currently in charge of the worldwide crime movement known simply as Leviathan. She is terrorizing the world, and Gotham City in particular, for one thing: the return of her son Damian. She has truly succeeded Ra’s Al Ghul in his role as the Demon’s Head.

ANALYSIS: Even if she wasn’t already heavily involved in the Leviathan in Batman Inc., Talia is too clever to be a pawn in the Joker’s game. She’s already got some big stuff planned. This death would affect Damian more than Bruce, which would lend to Damian’s demise, but I just don’t see Talia stepping into this particular event.

ODDS: 100 – 1

So what do you think, dear reader? Will any of the Bat-Family bite the dust? Will Bruce lose more than his parents? Leave a comment and tell us what you think! Until next time—

RAPH

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