In the same week that we get the finale of Death of the Family with “Batman #17,” we get to take a look at the post-DOTF world with “Batman and Robin #17.” Sorta.
In a comic that is filled with the dreams of our title characters, we get to take a look at some of the inner workings of the minds of not only Batman and Robin, but Alfred as well. So while we don’t get to see much of the fallout of DOTF among the whole Bat-crew, we do get some sense of closure for the crossover from this book.
There are tiny moments that Tomasi has stepped back and let the excellent pencils of Gleason take over and tell a huge story within a single panel. While the second page of this book cements everything about the characters with very few words exchanged between them throughout the whole page, there was one particular panel that stuck out. I absolutely love the top middle panel that has Damian holding up one of his Robin boots next to the sole of Batman’s boot. You just get from this moment how much Damian strives to be Batman. Even if you come into this comic not knowing that Damian is Bruce’s son, that one moment tells you everything of the relationship between this Batman and Robin team.
You really do feel for Damian’s plight as a character. He has these two natures about him, and he is trying hard to get them to cooperate so he can become who he wants to be. Although, as shown in his second dream, what he wants to be could be even darker than his more murderous, Al Ghul-inspired half.
Alfred gets a chance to show you how he would take care of the Joker. It is a scary choice for him, but still one that makes him smile. You can’t help but see how Alfred really wants happiness for everyone around him, and I bet if he had his choice then he would go back in time and stop the murder of Bruce’s parents without a second thought. Although, honestly, Joker’s line of “This is more fun than Whack-a-mole!” was by far one of the funniest I’ve seen in any of the Death of the Family books.
Then comes Bruce’s dream. You can tell that he has all this whale-sized Joker madness around him that can just consume him, but out of all of it he has Damian to save him from drowning. And as he wakes up from that dream to put Damian’s nightmares to rest, I can’t help but think that all the feel-goodness of this issue and the past couple are going to come crashing down at some point.
There have been rumors and speculations that Damian will meet his demise soon, and in all honesty I really hope that the rumors stay just that—rumors. I think I was like most fans when he first appeared and thought that giving Batman a son wasn’t a good idea. I’ve been proven wrong since then, as Damian has grown into a character that I’ve looked forward to seeing in any appearance he makes. But if these past few issues were nothing more than this creative team’s way of saying goodbye to the character, then I say job well done.