Is Batman dead or what??

Every now and again something happens in the comic book world that effects the non-comic book world, causing speculators to buy crate loads of comics in hopes of a quick return on the investment. Robin is killed, Superman is killed, Captain America is killed… notice a pattern? Big deaths seem to be the only way to make the news, so how do you top that? Hire cult Scottish comic book scribe Grant Morrison to take over Batman and do whatever he likes.

And then he kills Batman.

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Promising the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman, Morrison has been quoted as saying that his current story Batman R.I.P. will be even bigger than simply killing off the world’s greatest detective. “People have killed characters in the past, but to me, that kind of ends the story,” Mr. Morrison said. “So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all.”

Morrison‘s run on the title began in issue #655 , and has been steadily building up to a major revelation ever since. But who has time to read the actual comics?

Thankfully the fans are here to bring you up to speed…

Now that you’re up-to-date, the finale promises big reveals on the identity of the mysterious villain The Black Glove, a darker look at the persona of Bruce Wayne‘s father, Thomas Wayne- revealed to be the most evil villain of all, the fate of Robin and Nightwing and many more details. You read that right. Not only did Thomas Wayne not die on that fateful night in Crime Alley but he has secretly been gearing up to defeat his son all this time.

As a follower of Grant‘s work, I must warn the layman looking to pick up today’s issue because it made headlines. There are many rumors and lots of speculation on the conclusion, but I can tell you that it will make very little direct sense to not only the casual reader but also the devoted fan.

Comic stores are privvy to a few golden hours to read their comics before anyone else and so far they have practically shrugged their collective shoulders in DC chat rooms saying that they are completely befuddled at what the ‘big revelation’ even is. To clarify, no one is outraged by the ‘revelation,’ instead they are flipping between the pages looking for a hidden panel or two where the big deal surely must be hidden.

This reaction is to be expected from a Morrison script alone, but rumored interference from editor-in-chief Dan DiDio promises for a truly convoluted and empty conclusion. So far the story is that the finale will not only fail to reveal the identity of the main villain but also fails to cement the fate of star Batman, instead leaving that pleasure to the much delayed Final Crisis series.

That’s right… in order to find out what happened readers are encouraged to pick up a major crossover that is delayed by two months.

Fans and civvies alike will all find out together what the deal is with the most talked about Batman tale since Bane broke his back years ago (remember the quickest recovery from a spinal injury in human history?). The story has been hyped as the most important and shocking Batman comic in 70 years, yet so far it hasn’t added up to much. New characters file in and out, Batman has flashbacks that are vague and cryptic and the word  Zurenarh appears over and over as if the reader is being tested by the writer. I don’t mean to be so hard on the story, I’m just not sold on it being any good at all.

And in the end, will it be worth all of the hooplah?

The NY Times has already confirmed that Wayne will return in due time to the tights he loves so much:

“You realize in their absence how valuable the character is,” said Dan DiDio, DC’s senior vice president and executive editor. “Bruce Wayne will always be back as Batman someday.”

I’m not so naive to think that Batman would be dead, but this reveal so early that like Frosty the Snowman Batman will be ‘back someday’ take more than a little bit of dignity and importance from the past few years’ worth of comics.

DC Comics have been trying to ‘change’ Batman for years now. Ever since the dark knight detective twigged to the fact that he had been duped by his ‘friends’ in the Justice League back in the day (see Identity Crisis), he hasn’t been the same. Even more driven, grim and paranoid, he even developed his own global anti-super hero final solution with the O.M.A.C. Project. Yet the flaws in DC‘s grand design were evident when writers Geoff Johns and Mark Waid publicly disagreed on ‘which Batman‘ would emerge from the universe-changing Infinite Crisis; the grim one or the happy one.

The guys at PVP know just which version works best, the blunt one.

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The follow-up ‘Battle for the Cowl’ and ‘Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader’ by Neil Gaiman next year will string along any readers brave enough to weather the rough weather ahead for the pulp hero to millions.

Recommended:
Batman: The Man Who Laughs
Batman Chronicles Vol. 06 (Batman)
Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor: An Interactive Mystery (Interactive Batman Mystery)
Batman: Year One Hundred
Batman: Black & White, Vol. 1

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Batman R.I.P.?

Batman RIP

BATMAN #676
Written by Grant Morrison; Art and variant cover by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea;
Cover by Alex RossAre you ready for “Batman R.I.P.”?Beginning the epic story that will change the legend of the Dark Knight forever! Everything in Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking run on Batman has been leading to this story, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Who will live? Who will die? Who will be Batman? The answers are sure to shock you in “Batman R.I.P.,” featuring artwork by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea and covers by Alex Ross.

A ways back you may recall that I write about how DC Comics was going to kill Batman. The story went that former sidekick Robin was going to ascend the ranks and finally get to wear pants as the new Batman. Warner Bros quickly squashed the rumor saying that no such thing was going to happen on their watch.

Well… apparently it will happen.

Whether the death of the Caped Crusader is a definite major event or just writer Grant Morrison being stylish and odd remains to be seen. After all, this could just be another part of the Many Batmen storyline Morrison began when he arrived at the title. I have heard rumblings that with the recent Death of the New Gods storyline would see a new set of Gods ascend to rule over the ‘Multiverse’ consisting of Superman, Batman, Hawkman and the other regular mystery men in the aftermath of this May’s mega event ‘Final Crisis.’

Final Crisis

But this could all just be hokum.

In order to find out, you have to just keep reading.

Still… fab cover, eh?