When Rivalries Becomes More Than Just That
Every hero has that one villain that has it out for them more than the world. That one person who would go to great lengths for either revenge, the sport of fighting, or to prove dominance over him/her. In this case I want to point the spotlight to the most recent Batman crossover, Death of The Family. This story alone has taken good versus evil and made it so much more.
The King And The Jester
After a year missing from Gotham, the Joker makes his return by assaulting the Gotham City Police Department to recover his preserved face, killing 19 officers and taunting Jim Gordon. For those who don’t know, yes he did remove his face. This lead to Batman going after the Joker, and while doing so is taken down memory lane as the Joker’s shenanigans are things he did in the past. He even used Harley Quinn to mess with Batman’s head having her dress as him, Harley herself warns Batman that Joker is not the same person either of them once knew. And as all of this happens it was a ploy to get to Alfred to assault, then kidnap him. This is the start of what is one of the most stomach twisting Batman stories to date.
None of this is like Joker, this new attitude of his is so sick and twisted that Batman is even found scared of what his end game is. Now as they are unaware, we know what is going through the mind of the Joker besides his end game. Joker wants the old Batman back, he doesn’t like how batman has seemed to soften up and wants things to basically be like they used to be. He blames Batman’s allies for making him weak and part of his plan is to kill them all so that Batman can reach his full potential. For most of Batman’s enemies, encounters with him are a hindrance, but to Joker this is his life. He lives for the moments that he can challenge Batman’s morals, to make him go against everything he stands for. Life is a game to the Joker and with his return all those that get between him and Batman are disposable.
To Joker, Batman is the King and he is the king’s Jester. It’s all fun and games for Joker as he treats the city as Batman’s Kingdom. For such a feared villain Joker puts Batman on such a high pedestal as if he worships him and wants nothing more than to play with him any chance he gets. These games involving pushing Batman to the very limit both physically and mentally. Only Joker can do this and he knows it which is why not even Batman’s other formidable foes were even allowed to be a part of Joker’s final plot.
What Makes This So Great?
Everybody has a stake in this event. While Batman continues to avoid the fact that Joker knows all their secret identities, all of his allies are at risk because Joker knows how to get to everyone of them and knows what makes them tick. What makes this more intense is the fact that they confronted Batman about Joker knowing their identities to have Batman deny it even though it was obvious Joker actually did know who they were. This alone created the rift between them that started to cause the “Death of The Family”. There is no family if there is no trust and if they can’t trust Batman to tell them the truth about something like that then they are all doomed in the end.
Even Cat Woman and Harley Quinn have stakes in this. Cat Woman is always known for flirting with Batman and that is something the Joker considers to be a hindrance to Batman being the best he can be. Love to the Joker is an emotion he doesn’t care for Batman to feel and for Cat Woman to make him feel the way he does is something to push Joker to eliminate her for in order to keep that from continuing. Harley Quinn is something different. Since Joker has been gone she has fallen out of love for him, even more since his return. From the way Joker came at Harley when he first confronted her since his return, we can only assume that Joker in his own way loves her and wants to impress her. Even to the point that he would want her to become like him and remove her face like his.
Now I also want to ask a question for any comic readers out there keeping up with this book. With a month to wait for the next issue, who do you think will fall by the end? And what is in that cloche the Joker is serving to everyone as he captured them?
Me? I think it’s a toss up between Joker and Redhood. Joker because it’s the Joker, and Redhood because he’s still the hotheaded one of the group so he’s bound to do something dumb if he gets the chance. As for the second part, not too sure though hoping it’s not Alfred chopped up into pieces…
And stay tuned!