Booster Gold #25
Warning: this post contains long-winded ranting.
A bit of background for the uninformed:
This issue has Booster sneaking back into the Batcave to once again try and retrieve the photos of him at the scene of the Joker shooting Barbara Gordon. Bruce!Batman was aware of what happened and of Booster's attempt at preventing the shooting, but now that Bruce is gone, Rip advises him to get them out of the Batcave so that no one else knows, lest it mess up the timeline somehow.
A couple issues back he tried to get them out, but was caught by Dick, and then Dick disappeared because Black Beetle messed with the timeline ensuring that Dick got killed off when he was still Robin and working with the Teen Titans. After fixing that situation, he tries again by arriving five minutes earlier than the last time he went there. This time, however, he's caught by Damian!Robin, who is quickly followed by Dick!Batman. Alfred is all "Oh hey Booster, s'up?*" and brings refreshments.
*Except, you know, in Alfred-speak.
It's bad enough that the issue where Booster tries to prevent Barbara's shooting just uses her as a prop for the story, and that present-day!Barbara has yet to be informed. (I like to think that Bruce would have told her what Booster did, right after he told Booster that he knew about it, but I doubt we'll actually see that as canon. And actually, this issue would have been perfect timing for Babs to catch Booster in the cave and confront him on what happened, given that she's set up shop there now. She could yell and tell him to not mess around in her past without her permission, then be sympathetic and say she was sorry he went to all that effort for her, and then they could have bonded over missing Ted.) But I find it especially irritating how the photos of the shooting keep getting thrown around so lightly.
Those photos hold such pain and humiliation for Barbara. Not only because of what the Joker did to her, but because their entire purpose was to cause pain to her loved ones.
Given that the photographs hold that kind of awful power, it would make sense that access to them would be severely restricted, and that only four people (excepting the Joker and his goons) would have ever seen them prior to Booster's encounter. (I would think that Bruce would have made them a little bit harder to find than just sitting in an unlocked filing cabinet out in the open in the cave.) Commissioner Gordon saw them because the Joker subjected him to them. I'm guessing that Barbara would have seen them at some point, but it's possible that she chose not to look at them. Harvey Bullock was the detective on the case so he would have seen them, and Bruce would have seen them as he was also on the case in theory, and he apparently elected to store and protect the photos so that they don't run the risk of ever falling into the wrong hands.
So, given all of that, it is logical to assume that Dick Grayson has never seen the photos before this time. Maybe Babs has described the experience in great detail to Dick in the past, but Babs would absolutely not want her friend (who cares a great deal about her and vice versa, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend/fiancé) to see those photos of her.
As I said above, the entire point of those photos was to cause pain and humiliation for Barbara and people who cared about her*. It would be horribly painful for Dick to see them, and the same goes for Babs, and she wouldn't want him to see that way either, for both their sakes.
*Although really, it was not about Babs in the first place, hence The Killing Joke being a classic case of fridging.
So, yeah. That bugs me. Anyways, onward:
Um, okay. Look, I like the idea of Dick and Booster bonding and becoming pals as much as the next gal ("they have the two best butts in the DCU: together, they fight crime!"), but that last panel? They are essentially smiling and toasting their glasses over the fact that nothing can be done to prevent all the horrible things that the Joker has done (not to mention all the deaths in WWII).
It's one thing to acknowledge the permanence of solidified time (i.e., "you can't change the past"), but it comes off as more than a little callous to be so light-hearted about it, considering the events they're discussing. The millions of people killed because of Hitler, the Joker beating and blowing up Jason Todd, shooting and paralysing Barbara Gordon, torturing her father, murdering Sarah Essen (not to mention all the random unnamed Gothamites who have also been his victims), and all the hell that the Joker has put Bruce and Dick and everyone in the extended Bat-family through over the years. That is kind of what you're toasting over, boys.
Okay, nothing to really rant about this, I just didn't expect what we saw on the following page.
I always picture the Graysons as living in a cozy little trailer at the circus, not living in a spacious suburban house, so I was kind of misdirected and assumed that we would see Dick as a kid at Wayne Manor (especially in light of feeling lost in training Damian and whatnot). Ah well, it was a nice thought, if somewhat awkwardly executed.