Barbatos has been Teased since Death of the Family

Dark Nights: Metal is a story many years in the making. DC comic books have been setting it up for a while now and we’re only just learning about it. This week’s Dark Nights: Metal #2 showed us a number of instances in Batman’s past where Scott Snyder was clearly setting up for Metal (if you don’t know what we mean by this, check the “Continuity” section of our Metal #2 review right here).

Here at ComicBookWire, we stumbled across a rather odd page from Snyder’s Death of the Family (Review) that makes much more sense now that Metal has started. Today we’ll be taking a look at this passage and seeing how it might relate to the main event.

Death of the Family

Barbatos in Dark Knight, Dark City (left) vs. Joker’s bat skeleton in Death of the Family (right)

During one particular scene in Death of the Family (Review), Batman is waking up from unconsciousness while the Joker talks to him. Joker talks about something that is coming for Batman, something that “wants (him) bad.” He says that “there is no reasoning with it… it was the same for me, when I saw it coming.” He tells Batman that this is Batman’s real face “the real bone and tooth beneath it all.” While he is telling Batman all of this, he is dangling the skeleton of a dead bat in front of him.

The weird thing about this entire exchange is how little it relates to the story at hand. Death of the Family (Review) is about Joker trying to convince Batman that he doesn’t need his Bat-family and that he is better on his own. However, his conversation here is talking about beings coming for them in the dark and there being no way to stop it. Readers could argue this passage is Joker trying to convince Batman to embrace insanity and join him, but this connection is frail at best.


This passage’s connection to Metal is more direct. First off, during the entire scene, Joker is dangling around the skeleton of a bat. Those familiar with Barbatos (if you’re not, see our “Who is Barbatos?” article here) know that his first ever appearance in comic books was in Dark Knight, Dark City as a decaying bat skeleton. This immediately gives the reader reason to frame the entire conversation around Metal’s big villain, Barbatos.

Once this connection is made, everything Joker says makes a lot more sense. When Joker says “it wants you,” he is referencing Barbatos needing Bruce Wayne in order to open the door to the Dark Multiverse. When he says that this skeleton is Batman’s “real bone and tooth face,” he is referencing Barbatos’ role in creating Batman. He even indicates that he has some connection to Barbatos as well, something which comes up again in Dark Days: The Casting (Review).


So what does this connection mean? It’s quite possible that this was just foreshadowing designed to give more weight and substance to the Metal event overall. However, there is the possibility that this is teasing more. Death of the Family (Review) and The Casting (Review) both seem to indicate that Joker knows more about the Dark Multiverse than Batman. Could this all be pointing toward Joker playing a larger role in this event? Or could it relate to the “three Jokers” phenomenon and involve his overall importance to the DC Universe?

Either way, make sure to let us know what you think about it by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to learn more about Metal make sure to read our Barbatos history here, our Metal timeline here, and our reviews/continuity breakdowns of Metal here.

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