Batman and Robin #16 ends the “Death of The Family” storyline for this series and leads into the finale in the Batman comic series. And while this issue really set up for what I think will be a great ending to the best storyline in the Batman universe since the New 52s started Batman and Robin #16 seemed a bit less impactful compared to Batman and Robin #15 (full review can be read here).
In the last issue we saw that Damian Wayne decided to neglect his orders from his father to stay at the mansion and insisted on tracking down Alfred on his own. The clues he found at the scene where Alfred was taken led Damian to the zoo of all places and ultimately after what I consider one of the best speeches from the Joker he was captured and now face to face with who appears to be Batman under some sort of toxin thanks to the Joker. After being caught by the Joker, Damian has to confront what appears to be a Joker Toxin riddled Batman.
Batman and Robin #16 picks up where the last issue left off with Robin reluctantly fending off a vicious attack from Batman and refusing to fight back while the Joke laughs and watches on, not to mention the added commentary and taunting from the Joker that makes this even more of an entertaining battle. But, underlying past the action readers will get an ominous tone that the Joker’s plan to break Damian and have his Batman puppet defeat him, which really plays into everything that the Joker has been trying to prove that Batman (being called Bat King constantly by Joker) is weak because of the family he has created. Below is just a quick look at the panel where once again the Joker shares his thoughts on Batman’s company he keeps.
Eventually Damian decides that words aren’t working and fights back for a quick moment, which really made it seem that the Joker would not get what he wanted with breaking Damian to the point where he would kill this ‘Batman’ and while what happens was a bit lackluster of an ending compared to how the previous issues have been it ultimately showed that whatever happens in the end it will only come down to two people: the Joker and Batman.
One of my personally favorite parts of this conclusion to the Death of the Family story for Batman and Robin comics is the artwork team of Patrick Gleason (penciler), Mick Gray (inker), Keith Champagne (inker), and John Kalisz (colorist) are outstanding with what they’ve been doing. They really captured the environmental tones of the zoo and made it really seem creepy which was fitting giving how this series has been so far. And you can really see just how out there and sick the Joker is with how they decided to portray him where as with the Batman comic series design is more grittier and darker some of those are still apparent here and they don’t stray to far from how the ‘proper’ Joker redesign is suppose to look.
Since this is now the officially conclusion of Death of a Family for Batman and Robin it will be interesting to see where things go once this is all concluded in Batman #17 and what sort of relationship if any will remain once this is all resolved and Batman and Damian are reunited again. Also it will be interesting to finally figure out where Alfred is and what exactly is in that mysterious serving tray that the Joker has been keeping with him and has been seen throughout parts of this series.