If you've been on the internet for the past several days, then you already know that something big happens in this week's Batman #77 out today and that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Tom King's story is fully in the City of Bane arc in which Bane is running the show in Gotham. Big, stunning developments are to be expected. And yet, what actually happens in Batman #77 is going to have major impact on not just King's story, but potentially on every member of the Bat Family from this point forward -- especially on Damian Wayne.
Warning: Spoilers beyond this point for Batman #77.
One thing that has been made clear to Batman's allies as part of City of Bane is this: the cost of members of the Bat Family coming to Gotham is Alfred's life. However, in this week's issue even Alfred's life isn't enough to keep Damian out of the city. The young man is determined to get into the city and face off with Flashpoint Batman/Thomas Wayne.
It predictably doesn't go well. Damian confronts Thomas and pretty quickly gets his butt kicked. Thomas even points out that Alfred's life-in-the-balance situation was suggested by the beloved butler to protect Damian from the consequences of coming into the city, but it still isn't enough. Stubborn and arrogant, Damian fights Thomas and loses and the next things we see are the consequences. Beaten and bound to a chair, Damian comes to in enough time to hear Alfred plead to not be killed in front of him, but, to no avail. While Damian watches in helpless horror, Bane breaks Alfred's neck. And if that wasn't bad enough, it gets a bit worse for Damian. With Alfred dead, Damian is now Thomas and Bane's hostage -- just as the real Batman is poised to make his return, Catwoman by his side.
The death of Alfred is a shocking one, but it will be interesting to see if it actually sticks. King's Batman has seen the story go down several strange dream sequences and other horrific moments that have ultimately ended up not being real. This also isn't the first time that Alfred has been killed in comics and, well, Alfred came back. One of the good things about comics is that stories can have lasting emotional weight even if the actions themselves get changed later on in other stories.
And it will be interesting to see what impact that emotional weight will have on the rest of the Bat Family when the series continues next issue. Specifically, there are echoes of Bruce Wayne seeing his parents murdered in front of him in Damian being witness to Alfred's death. What kind of impact will that trauma have on the young man -- provided he makes it out of City of Bane alive himself?
Batman #77 is available now.
What did you think about Alfred's death? Let us know in the comments below.