Just What The DOC Ordered
"Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?"
By: Chris "DOC" Bushley
(Before you read this, beware! Spoilers Dead Ahead!)
The Joker has been cutting a bloody swath through the streets of Gotham and no one is safe! The G.C.P.D., Commissioner Gordon, the entire cast of Haley's Circus, Barbara Eileen (Batgirl's mother) and Alfred have all felt the wrath of this demonic character. But it's not just the families and friends of the "Bat Family" that have been forced to kneel before the "Clown Prince" -- it is the heroes as well!
Scott Snyder and the entire cast and crew that make up EVERY aspect of EVERY "Bat" related character, has been creating an extremely dark and twisted tale in the last few issues of there respective series. From Catwoman having to play a horrific version of chess in order to get a pass from the Joker, to Damian Wayne having to fight his "father" in a battle to the death; each and every costumed character that has fought beside the Dark Knight has been put through a veritable nightmare recently. The relentless beatings and horrific mind games that the Joker has created specifically for each character have been leading up to a grand finale of sorts -- a banquet of blood and hilarity that can only be devised by the Joker. But what is the main course going to be?
Batman #16, Batgirl #16, Nightwing #16, Teen Titans #16 and Batman and Robin #16 have all had the same style final page to them. Each character groggily awakens in a dark room and the Joker stands before them with a covered dish. (Example: Batgirl #16 final page below)
The fan pages have been ablaze with speculation as to what could possible be on that tray and we will have to wait until February 13th, when Batman #17 comes out, in order to have our final answer, but let's speculate as to what it could be, shall we?
The obvious choice would be Alfred's head! We know that he was abducted by the Joker in Batman#13 and that some appalling things were done to him from the audio tape Bruce found. We also know that the Joker has said that he NEEDS Alfred to SERVE at the party. Whether that's a play on words or just a statement -- only Scott Snyder knows!
Could it be part of Jason Todd's face? We see in Red Hood and the Outlaws #16 that Joker has done something to Jason's face and is applying red paint (blood?) to the inside of his helmet before returning it to his face. He then says, "Only a face a mother can love!" as it is reapplied. Now, in Teen Titans #16, we know that the bottom half of his helmet is broken off by Red Robin, but the top is still intact. Could the Joker have disfigured Jason for cheating death oh so long ago? Maybe.
Could it be Commissioner Gordon? We haven't seen James Gordon Sr. in a few issues but we know that he was the first to be confronted by the Joker. That confrontation has left the Commish reeling, completely taking him out of sorts and shaking the normally strong willed hero. We know his ex-wife has already lost a finger to the Joker's demented schemes, why not hack away at the Commissioner as well? Plus, we know that deranged killer, James Jr., has already helped the Joker capture his sister, Batgirl, why not make it a family reunion?
Speaking about family reunions, could it be Tim Drake's parents? We know that Tim Drake left his family in Witness Protection after messing with the Penguin awhile back, but does that mean anything to a man who killed two of Nightwing's best friends and Jokerized the entire Haley's Circus? In Teen Titans #16, we saw that he Joker already used a fake "daddy Drake" to mess with Red Robin, but that could have just been a "red herring" for the main event -- "daddy dinning!"
Maybe, just maybe, it is a smorgasbord of "Bat" cuisine! Red Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl, Nightwing and Robin were all knocked out prior to them seeing the tray presented. Joker keeps calling Batman "the King," and he, his "Royal Jester." Perhaps the "Jester" has created a gift pleasing enough for a "king," an array of treats brought from all the different "lands" beneath the "king's" royal gaze. Could the tray be filled with delectable digits from the "Bat-kiddies" that were removed while they slept? You never know with the Joker -- anything is possible!
All I truly know, is that the "Death of the Family" storyline has been one of the best tales in years! Appalling, horrendous and completely unnerving, Scott Snyder and crew have made the return of the Joker an amazing ride that will be talked about for years. At the end of it all, whether Alfred is gone or not, the "Bat-family" will forever be changed and I am excited as ever to see where it goes from here!
The "Death of the Family" storyline epically concludes in Batman #17, on sale February 13th, 2013! Get a glimpse of the cover below!