Batman LIVES!
Author: Chris Clow
January 19, 2009

Is it too late for me to issue a partial retraction on my review of FINAL CRISIS #6? I believe I said, "Batman is dead. Really dead. If the last page of FINAL CRISIS #6 isn't enough of a hint, then you're just in denial." Consider me wrong. The whole Batman being "really dead" part? Incorrect. "But Chris!" You may say. "He was burnt to a crisp by Darkseid with his Omega Beams!" To which I answer, "Close. He was burnt to a crisp by Darkseid, but not by his Omega Beams. By the OMEGA SANCTION."

For those of you scratching your heads trying to figure out what the Omega Sanction is, here's a crash course. One of the big relatives to FINAL CRISI is Grant Morrison's retake on the SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY. A couple of years ago, Morrison took these lesser known characters and placed them up against…guess who? Boss Dark Side. The same Boss Dark Side that we saw at the beginning of FINAL CRISIS: Darkseid in human form. Specifically, in SEVEN SOLDIERS: MISTER MIRACLE, Darkseid first used the Omega Sanction on the title character, Mister Miracle, aka Shilo Norman. Guess what happened? It fried him, leaving a burnt husk of a corpse not too dissimilar from the one we saw of Batman in FINAL CRISIS #6.

After he was burnt, the Sanction sent him into an alternate reality, where he was forced to live a series of oppressive lives that progressively got worse and worse and worse. Inside his mind, he was living these lives for, well, lifetimes. Years and years and years. Here's the kicker: Mister Miracle is known in the DC Universe as being (arguably) the greatest escape artist in the world. It also doesn't hurt that he has access to a Motherbox (A super-intelligent sentient computer) and that he's a friggin' New God. So, what happened? He ESCAPED from the Omega Sanction, reclaimed his consciousness and his life, and is operating in FINAL CRISIS.

Now, we move to FINAL CRISIS for Batman. As we saw in BATMAN #682-683, Batman was able to thwart the disciples of Darkseid's attempts to turn him into an Anti-Life drone, or a vessel for another Apokoliptian god. As soon as he was able, Batman takes the god-bullet out of his utility belt, explains to Darkseid exactly how he can stop him, and provoked the Apokoliptian dictator into threatening him. Threatening him with the Omega Sanction. In Darkseid's own words, "the death that is life."

Batman isn't one to be threatened, so he fired the god-bullet and shot Darkseid, but not before the new god landed the Omega Sanction on the two main points of his consciousness: his head, and his heart. We see a burnt out corpse. No other hero or villain in the DC Universe knows what Darkseid threatened Batman with. For all they know, it's time to bury the Bat and remember him fondly (or fearfully). But for us, who know exactly what the Sanction is, we need not fear.

Batman has trained himself for literally any situation. His resolve is unparalleled. Someone like the Green Arrow, if he was doomed to the Omega Sanction, might give up around life 19 or 20. Batman? Never. His willpower is unending, his endurance unstoppable. Batman will live each and every oppressive life, and he will beat it. And one day, in life 2,000 or 40,396, he will find out how to escape. And when he does, he will reclaim his mantle from whoever wins it in the BATTLE FOR THE COWL.

This isn't just a death that they can arbitrarily erase. They purposefully built in this "back door." This will be exactly what it looks like to 95% of the heroes and villains in the DC Universe. Which means that when Batman finds his way back to us, they'll be in for a true shock. I was ready to mourn and stop reading comics. But now, I'm very interested in the BATTLE FOR THE COWL and even THE BLACKEST NIGHT (wouldn't it be wild seeing Batman's "remains" as a Black Lantern?), because I know this is temporary.

The Dark Knight will prevail, no matter how much he must endure, and now matter how many lives it takes. So let's just enjoy the interim and not worry about Bruce Wayne, because, my friends…

…the Batman lives!

Chris Clow is a BOF contributor.

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