2. Death Of The Family
Throughout the story, all of the people close to Batman were kidnapped by the Joker. Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin and Red Hood were all trapped, drugged, and used to torture the Bat. Although it was not truly a death
of the family, it seemed that way in Batman #16. Near the end of the issue, when Joker and Batman are face-to-face in the Asylum, the Joker traps himself (along with Two-Face and the Penguin) in a cage, making him out of Batman's reach. As the Bat advances, the Joker puts on a bit of a show. He reaches for a remote and turns on a TV screen. It shows images of all of the Bat-family in peril. Nightwing is laying in a pool of blood, Batgirl and Robin are either unconscious or dead (it sure looked that way to Batman), and Red Hood and Red Robin were both about to pass out from the Joker's toxin. At that moment, it didn't look to good for the family. Then, right when I expected Batman to actually kill
the Joker, he gave in. Batman walked over to the electric chair that the Joker had set up and sat down. I was completely confused. Why in the world would Batman give up? What could possibly have been bad enough to break the Bat? But, after thinking about the situation that he was in, and all that he has gone through, it actually made sense. Batman had failed to save the people he cared about most and realized that their was nothing he could do. Despite their being no actual deaths in the story, the title made loads of sense when it is related to this. Now that Batman has let down the only people who care for him, the family is dead. Throughout the story Batman has lied to the family about Joker and about himself, now that it's all over, the trust between them is nearly gone. That was the true "Death Of The Family". In that moment us readers saw our hero at his weakest, and there was nothing that could possibly prepare us for that. When The Dark Knight slowly and willingly walked into the chair, it was surprising and effective. Although this will never be equal to the iconic breaking of the Bat in Knightfall, it certainly had a similar feel to it. At that point in the story all was dark for the Batman and his family. Yet, despite having no hope and even giving up, one issue later the Bat would rise. That is why the panel where The Dark Knight walks over to the chair is one of the best moments in the "Death Of The Family" story arc.