Tom King has got to be one of the wordiest writers in the business right now. I swear every time it’s like I have to buckle down for some heavy reading. To be clear, this stuff is good, but far from what you expect of a typical Batman book… certainly not the kind for kids.
In this issue Batman finds Alfred dead and has his own little breakdown while an extensive recording of the butler’s final words plays on. At the the end Batman comes to confront Thomas Wayne, breaking into a clash just as the issue ends.
Now… the thing about Tom King, this far into his run, I literally can’t tell if any of this is real or not. It seems feasible, and would be cataclysmic if it remains, but there’s enough scapegoats to doubt (ahem, Psycho-Pirate, ahem). There’s some level of density that makes me doubt and believe all at once. Given that this grand arc that King has been spinning has been nothing but mind games, he’s done a successful job of spreading it to me, the reader.
If this is indeed Alfred’s end, then I’d say it was a tremendous, emotional sendoff. If it all turns out to be a hoax, well, then I suppose check off another for the old comic tradition and move along.
TL;DR Score: It’s been a long haul, but we’re nearly there…. I think?…. I HOPE!?