There are spoilers for Batman #17, the conclusion to Death Of The Family, below.
So no one died.
Well, lots of people died, but they were mostly ephemeral characters. Drowned, hung, stitched together, gassed, whatever, but the central crew survived. However, they may be a little reticent getting together again after all they’ve been through? Is this the death of the family – as a unit? It doesn’t really seem so, just some momentary grumpiness.
Except there’s one aspect of the comic that seems to be being missed, with people expressing a vague feeling of disappointment in what the series built up to.
Batman betrayed the family far more than they will ever know.
At the end of the issue, Bruce Wayne talks to the recovering Alfred (and seriously, would it have killed them to keep him in zombiefied form for a few more issues, hanging around Wayne Manor?) and confesses to the time when he visited The Joker as Bruce Wayne, specifically after they’d already taken in Dick Grayson. And he brought with him the Joker card that he suspected the Joker may have left in the Bat Cave.
He didn’t get a reaction.
But here’s the thing. Bruce Wayne was happy to gamble the safety of the Batman family, even in its most proto form, on trying to make some kind of point, or get some kind of clarification from the Joker. If Joker had left the card, if he had wanted to know Batman’s identity, if he had wanted to destroy Batman and friends that way, then by Bruce showing his cards, as it were, Joker would have had all the cards. Bruce Wayne did gamble with the safety of his family and friends.
And none of them, save Alfred, know. Is this little revelation to be saved for later?
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London, who are currently planning this little Valentine’s Day special tomorrow…