If you can believe it, there is currently an in-progress comic book story arc involving Batman which will end in the death of... Bruce Wayne.
Written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Tony Daniel and Alex Ross, the series is a cheap response to Marvel's recent killing off of Captain America.
According to Grant Morrison, "the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman" is "a fate worse than death, things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all." It is rumored that Batman will emphatically die tomorrow, November 26, at comic book news stands everywhere.
Unknown though, is who is behind the character's demise. Some say it will be at the hands of Robin (Tim Drake) when he makes a play for the dark side. Others insist it will be at the hands of the mysteriously unknown villain "The Black Glove." Still others speculate that Wayne will simply retire from the bat-mantle. All I ask is that it be for a proper reason.
That fateful day when Captain America was hit by a sniper's bullet will resonate in comic book history with the same weight that accompanied Superman's death at the hands Doomsday. Captain America was on his way to a trial, having opposed the Registration Act that he believed put so many more lives in danger than it proposed to protect. His death, at the end of the Civil War, shook the foundations of the comic book universe - characters have died before, but none so beloved as the Sentinel of Liberty.
His death was more than the death of a character many loved, it was a political statement. Though the story hasn't come to an end, I don't see anything worth dying for in the Batman story arc.
To his credit, Morrison is responsible for some of the greatest stories and re-interpretations of characters I've had a chance to read, but he's quickly becoming a victim of his own twists. Arkham Asylum is one of my favorite Batman stories and 52 was revolutionary work, but Batman RIP is stepping out of bounds. When fans of The Dark Knight film flock to their local comic book stores, the last thing they should see is Batman on his deathbed.
Killing a hero is by no means a way of redefining him, it merely ends his story. What reason Morrison could be using to justify his actions is as mysterious as the "Black Glove" himself. For Batman's sake, I hope it isn't to further the story of Robin or another sub-character inside the DC Universe.
It should be noted that Bruce Wayne has given up the cape and cowl before. The Knightfall storyline resulted in Bane breaking the Dark Knight's back. Bound to a wheelchair, Wayne recruits Jean-Paul Valley to replace him. As we all know, eventually Bruce Wayne resumes his role as Bats.
Also, I should mention a follow-up series is planned. It is tentatively titled Battle for the Cowl, in which the question of who will continue as The Caped Crusader shall be answered.
Does Grant Morrison deserve another Eisner Award or an Arkham Asylum sentence?
Images: DC Comics