Welcome again, Gothamites! Now that the mud from the Metropolis of Bane occasion has settled, Gotham is returning to regular, with a couple of exceptions. Should you haven’t been maintaining, Alfred Pennyworth was killed in Batman #77. On the time, I used to be anticipating a last-minute fake-out. Perhaps the corpse was actually Clayface in disguise, or Alfred’s damaged neck was some type of hoax. I’ve spoken about my relationship with denial in different articles I’ve written, and it seems to be like I used to be experiencing it once more. The storyline is over and Alfred Pennyworth is certainly lifeless.
Now we’re experiencing a Gotham with out Alfred, and our hearts are breaking. The Batcave feels slightly empty, and I’m unsure that void can ever be crammed. James Tynion IV has taken the reins of Batman beginning with Batman #86, which contained probably the most heartbreaking scenes in Gotham historical past. After an intense sparring match with Deathstroke, Batman radioed Lucius Fox requesting a police automobile to select up the mercenary. Batman referred to as Lucius “Alfred” out of behavior, momentarily forgetting that his oldest ally was gone.
For a couple of seconds, Batman forgot that he was residing in a world with out Alfred, till Lucius snapped him again to actuality. Should you’ve ever misplaced a beloved one you possibly can most likely relate to that second. What number of instances have you ever taken out your cellphone to textual content or name a departed beloved one, solely to do not forget that they’re not there?
Think about this, on this model of continuity, Alfred has recognized Bruce since he was born. Thomas and Martha Wayne had been his dad and mom for eight years, however Alfred was his surrogate father for many years. Bruce Wayne has by no means lived in a world with out Alfred, and now he should. The loss is hitting Bruce onerous, and he’s making an attempt to honor Alfred’s reminiscence by remaking Gotham utilizing his Wayne Enterprise’s sources.
Nevertheless, Batman isn’t the one member of the Bat-Household who’s dealing with Alfred’s loss. Dick Grayson wasn’t current for the ultimate battle in Metropolis of Bane, so he didn’t instantly find out about Alfred’s loss of life. The previous Boy Surprise is presently placing his life again collectively within the pages of Nightwing.
Ever since he was shot by the KGBeast in Batman #55, Dick has been affected by amnesia. He has no reminiscence of his time as Robin or Nightwing and has determined to make a brand new life for himself as a cabbie named Ric. 2019’s Nightwing Annual #2 revealed that the Court docket of Owls had manipulated Dick’s restoration to delay his amnesia. All the things lately got here to a head in Nightwing #68 as Ric regained his reminiscences and took down one of many Court docket’s lethal Talons.
I received’t lie, I obtained fairly giddy once I noticed Dick again to his previous self. There’s an superior web page the place Dick picks up discarded items of armor and makes use of them like Escrima sticks. It feels identical to previous instances. The place does Dick go from right here, although? There are nonetheless some unanswered questions concerning the subsequent section of his life as he struggles to reconcile his life as Ric along with his reminiscences as Dick. Right here’s what breaks my coronary heart: now he’ll bear in mind how a lot Alfred meant to him, solely to find that his previous pal is gone. The final time Dick noticed Alfred, he didn’t bear in mind him and that’s going to hang-out him for the remainder of his life.
The Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. one-shot reveals that Dick did find out about Alfred’s loss of life, nevertheless it was throughout the time he nonetheless had his amnesia. Because the Bat-Household gathered to share their reminiscences of the butler, Dick acknowledged that he had no actual reminiscences of the person. How will you not really feel dangerous for Dick? Not solely is Alfred gone, however his amnesia robbed him of the possibility to correctly grieve for his pal.
I can’t imagine I’m about to say this, however possibly Dick and Bruce needs to be taking their grief recommendation from Jason Todd. I see you all elevating your eyebrows at me, however hear me out. In Purple Hood: Outlaw #42, Jason reveals depths of emotional maturity which may shock you. Everyone knows that Purple Hood and Arsenal had been buddies, having starred within the Purple Hood and the Outlaws collection collectively. After Wally West by chance killed Roy Harper in Heroes in Disaster, Jason’s emotions in the direction of the speedster have been a bit difficult. If this had occurred ten years in the past, Purple Hood would’ve outfitted himself with a pair of double weapons and hunted Wally down.
Jason has grown since then. He explains to Artemis that Roy’s loss of life was an accident, and he really feels dangerous for Wally. Loss is tough, and all of us have our personal methods of coping with it. Jason has realized to forgive, Bruce is making an attempt to construct a brand new starting and Dick continues to be determining his path. What are your ideas on the world of Gotham with out Alfred? What do you suppose the Bat-Household ought to do now? Tweet your ideas my means, and maintain trying out the Bat-Books as we head into this courageous new world collectively.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, films and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, is an everyday contributor to the Sofa Membership and writes our month-to-month Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Observe him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.