The betting window is about to close, so the question has to be asked: If someone dies in "Death of the Family," who could it be?
We're not actually taking bets here at Newsarama, mind you (and if we were, we wouldn't make it public, for those of our readers who are active members of a governing agency). But we do think it's fun to set the odds. And while we visited this idea before the storyline started, we've decided to dust off our predictions now that we're only a couple weeks away from the conclusion of "Death of the Family." To guide the gambling activities, Newsarama presents the following odds based on our interviews, solicitations and what we've seen so far from the Bat-family in the New 52.
BatmanIf this storyline was happening five years ago, we'd be all for Scott Snyder killing Bruce Wayne to shake things up a bit in the Batman universe. But Bruce just died... sort of... a couple years ago.
Plus, Joker has made it clear that he loves Bruce, and he's only trying to make his stronger by eliminating the family that is tying him down.
So we're calling this one the least likely death in Bats' family.
Batman Death Odds: 100-to-1
CatwomanSelina Kyle dying? We just don't see it happening.
OK, yes, she got Joker all riled up during her "Death of the Family" tie-in issues in Catwoman. And yes, she's got a relationship with Batman, so it would hurt the character and be like losing "family."
But Catwoman is also one of the most iconic Batman characters. So her newly youthful, sexy, New 52 version dying only a year or so after her reboot? We're not buying it.
We also get the feeling DC wants to give Ann Nocenti a chance on her Catwoman run, which just started in September.
And then there's also the fact that Catwoman has already been announced as a member of Geoff Johns' and David Finch's new Justice League of America title. Could that be a different Catwoman under the costume? Maybe. But we don't think so.
The end of the Catwoman tie-in issues also implied Joker was finished with the lady in the catsuit.
All this adds up to Catwoman being a real long shot for a death at the hands of The Joker.
Catwoman Death Odds: 75-to-1
Thomas Wayne Jr.If we were betting people (and for this article, we are), we'd bet against the alleged Thomas Wayne (a.k.a. Lincoln March) even being involved in the finale of "Death of the Family."
He's an owl. Not a clown.
We also hope he's sticking around awhile. The alleged Thomas Wayne Jr. — the mastermind behind Snyder's "Court of Owls" story — is a terrific new villain that can be mined for Batman stories in years to come. So killing him off so soon wouldn't make much sense.
However, this storyline does have the word "family" in it.
And if this guy really is Thomas Wayne Jr., he's the closest blood "family" Bruce Wayne has left.
Also, Snyder might want to control the way his new character dies before he leaves Batman someday. And Thomas dying at the hands of The Joker might redeem Bruce's alleged brother in Batman's eyes, which would make for a good story.
That said, we haven't seen Thomas Wayne Jr. at all during the Joker storyline, so it would sort of come from left field. So we're leaning toward Snyder not mixing his owls with his clowns.
Thomas Wayne Jr. Death Odds: 60-to-1
Bat-VillainsThere are several Batman villains that have been involved in "Death of the Family," so it's possible that a villain could go down.
But is a villain really "family?" We're thinking that's a long shot.
Plus, let's face it, most of the better-known Batman villains are also really iconic characters. They've been in everything from live action TV series to cartoons to movies. With the New 52 still so young, eliminating an iconic character wouldn't be in DC's best interests.
Bat-Villain Death Odds: 55-to-1
Harper RowHarper Row is the young character who tried so hard to befriend Bruce Wayne in Batman #12. (For a complete examination of this character and who she might become in the Batman universe, see our recent in-depth story about her appearance.)
While we don't currently like the idea of her getting killed off quite so quickly, it's possible she could die in "Death of the Family," only to be later revealed as a blood relative of Bruce.
OK, it's a long shot. But it's supported by the fact that Batman #18 is all about Harper Row! In other words, the issue right after the finale is about this character.
Could her death be more linked to Joker than Batman? We don't know who her parents were. Could she somehow be related to The Joker? After all, we've already laid out a case for why she might be the new "Joker's Daughter" in New 52 continuity.
Still, the fact that she's a fairly unknown character would make her death resonate very little, particularly since she hasn't shown up during the storyline.
Harper Row Death Odds: 50-to-1
BatgirlWhile the wedding-themed rematch between Batgirl and The Joker may have been one of the more creepy scenes in "Death of the Family," the truth is we don't think she's going to die this time.
Why? First of all, she was just healed from paralysis, and DC cited Barbara Gordon's iconic nature as the reason they resumed her Batgirl identity. We hardly think the company would return to Barbara's Batgirl being gone so soon.
Still, she is among the members being "invited" to the "dinner" that Joker has planned, and she was presented with one of those bloody silver platters. That means she's in the running.
So even though we're dying to see Batgirl be instrumental a defeat of the Joker ("woman scorned," "sweet revenge" and all those clichés), we'll put her chances at dying a little higher than the folks we've listed so far.
Batgirl Death Odds: 45-to-1
NightwingDick Grayson is a beloved member of the Bat-family, both inside comics as Bruce's first adopted son and outside the stories as a fan-favorite superhero. And reviewers have been pleased with the direction writer Kyle Higgins has been taking the character since his Nightwing title was launched last year (after Dick spent time in the Batman cowl).
But we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge that we've heard more than one DC editor remark that Dick Grayson is always in danger of being just a "Batman lite." (To Higgins' credit, he attacked that perception head-on in recent stories [see our discussion with him about it here].)
Despite Higgins' best efforts, the prevalence of that "Batman lite" perception might lead DC to make Dick the victim of The Joker. And it's not like his generation of "original sidekicks" have fared well in the New 52 (see Wally West and Donna Troy).
Plus, there's Higgins' interview with Newsarama about the "Death of the Family" tie-ins in Nightwing. The writer said Dick Grayson's encounter with The Joker will bring a "seismic shift" to the series. That sounds like something big.
Also, Nightwing is among the characters who are attending Joker's "dinner," complete with his own silver platter.
Still, we're leaning toward Dick Grayson's death as being unlikely, because the character's series is selling pretty well and he's played an important role in Batman stories so far.
So we'll put this one as pretty unlikely.
Nightwing Death Odds: 40-to-1
Damian WayneWhile we at Newsarama have just recently outlined why we think Damian may soon be facing a major challenge (see our argument here), we don't think "Death of the Family" is where that challenge might happen.
And we're not even sure the challenge will be death. (In fact, readers of Batman Incorporated know that Damian is right now racing to fight his own mother, which opens up all kinds of mental health issues in the boy's future that could trigger a turning point.)
Sure, it would be devastating for Bruce to lose his son to The Joker, but it seems like an improbable place for young Damian's story to end. If Damian is to be tested and taken down — whether through death or another challenge — we're thinking it would be something connected to Talia or Grandpa Ra's. And we're hoping it's a story told by his creator, Grant Morrison.
So maybe we're just letting wishful thinking for the finale of Morrison's Batman run guide us, but we're leaning toward Damian's big "end story" to not be told in "Death of the Family."
Damian Death Odds: 30-to-1
Jason ToddThere are two things in favor of Jason Todd's survival after facing The Joker:
One: He lost last time The Joker tried to kill him, so it's unlikely DC would have him losing yet again. It's a little repetitive, don't you think?
Two: The character has made a name as the villainous Red Hood, having starred in one of DC's popular animation DVDs after writer Judd Winick brought him back to life and developed him as a Batman villain.
But unlike some of the other characters in the Bat-family, he doesn't have his own title (sharing it with a team), and he hasn't been as much of a Bat-villain in the post-New 52 universe.
Writer Scott Lobdell has also been building a strong case for why The Joker might be targeting Jason Todd in particular. In Red Hood and the Outlaws #0, we learned that Joker "created" Jason Todd. (See our details about the surprising new development here in #3 of this linked list.)
In our interview with Lobdell about Jason Todd and The Joker>, the writer made it clear that the collision between The Joker and Jason "hurls" the Red Hood comic "into an entirely different direction."
Plus, there's not only quite an effective irony in the same Bat-family character dying at the hands of The Joker yet again, but Jason Todd's death would explain the storyline's title. After all, the original "A Death in the Family" story was the last time The Joker killed Jason Todd. This new "Death of" might echo that title because its death does as well.
Could the cover of Red Hood and the Outlaws #17, with Bruce holding a dead Red Hood, be more than symbolic?
Still, Jason Todd's appearance in Batman Incorporated as "Wingman" makes us think there's more of his story to tell. So we're still making this one a bit of a long shot.
Red Hood Death Odds: 20-to-1
Tim DrakeSure, this former Robin is a member of the new Teen Titans comic. But before the reboot, he had his own comic, so it's actually a post-reboot demotion.
He's also got a history in the DCU that has caused readers to scratch their heads a few times, with continuity glitches seemingly surrounding his creation/non-creation of the "Teen Titans" name and his adoption/non-adoption of the "Robin" moniker. For long-time Tim Drake fans, it appears DC isn't being highly protective of the character's history.
Tim Drake has his own silver platter. Could it be a weapon of death for the former Robin?
We're thinking no. Although he may be considered a "redundant" character to some editor-types, killing off another Robin just feels unlikely. So we're keeping Tim even with Red Hood on this one.
Tim Death Odds: 20-to-1
Harley QuinnShe showed up in the very first issue of Snyder's Batman story, and it was clear that she's not as sure about her alliance with "Mista J" as she used to be.
But her tie-in in Suicide Squad has finished, so that implies her part in this story is done as well. Doesn't it?
There's also the question of whether the "family" in "Death of the Family" is Batman's family.... or Joker's. And who's more Joker's family than Harley?
Would DC kill off Harley Quinn at the hands of The Joker? Could she be represented in those silver platters?
Harley Death Odds: 15-to-1
Jim GordonThe very first issue of "Death of the Family" already saw Joker trying to kill Jim Gordon and failing, so the thought of him being the "end" death doesn't seem likely.
Still, there's always the chance that Snyder introduced his story with Jim Gordon for a reason. Maybe he's more central to this story than we knew. And it wouldn't be the first time The Joker has targeted him, since he was going after him in "The Killing Joke."
Snyder actually addressed this in our interview with him about "Death of the Family":
"People will say, 'Oh, well, he came after Batgirl in The Killing Joke,' but he was really going after Commissioner Gordon," Snyder told Newsarama. "So when Batgirl realizes that here, too, it's almost like the Joker is staring at her saying, 'I'm coming after you this time. I'll kill everyone and burn down everything in your life to do what I did to your father, but to you.' You know?"
It sounded like Snyder was implying The Joker's target was Barbara this time, and not Jim Gordon. But could he have just been misleading us?
We know where Barbara Gordon's mother and brothers are. But where is Daddy?
Might the tasty dish on all those silver platters be one of Jim Gordon's fingers for each Bat-family member, with the head served to Bats?
Jim Gordon Death Odds: 5-to-1
Alfred PennyworthBefore reading the opening scenes in "Death of the Family," we probably wouldn't have given Alfred much of a chance of being killed by The Joker because, really, who would expect the famous butler to actually die?
But the cliffhanger in the very first issue of the "Death of the Family" storyline (Batman #13) made it clear that Alfred is one of the first victims of Joker's mad crusade to attack Batman's beloved. And he's also been a central focus of Snyder's Batman run, dominating most of the back-up stories.
And what was his fate after allegedly being "blinded" by the Joker in that first issue? Could the "dinner" that we'll see in Batman #17 be one that is not served by the butler, but is instead the family be served the butler himself?
OK, we admit that revealing the big death in the first couple chapters of a five-issue story doesn't seem probable, but when have Snyder and Capullo ever created a scenario that was expected?
Alfred Death Odds: 3-to-1
The first time we presented this deadpool, a very adept reader suggested that we take the title of the story literally. Death of the family doesn't say there will be a death in the family. Only that the family itself will die.
Could this be a much more major shake-up of the "family" than we know?
Could the "bat-family" be no more? The Joker allegedly found information in Bats' Batcave. Could it be something damning? And would they turn their back on Bruce after this mess?
Family Death Odds: 2-to-1FACEBOOK and TWITTER!