BATMAN ON FILM, 'The Dark Knight Fansite!' Est. 1998.

OPINION

Batman, R.I.P. Really?
Author: Ryan Hoss
February 4, 2008

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article may contain spoilers to those who have not read the last several issues of BATMAN. FYI. - Jett

“DC is killing off Bruce Wayne!? How could they kill off MY Batman?”

This is what a lot of us Bat-fans have been thinking lately, as a response to these off-and-on rumors that DC Comics has it in for our dear hero. Everything’s been so shady and shrouded around what’s actually going to happen, but I can tell you one guy that does know.

Grant Morrison.

Morrison started his current run in BATMAN #655. If I could pick one word to describe his work on the title so far, it would be “eclectic.” I’m not saying that I’ve disliked his run by any means, but anyone that’s followed the title to this point knows that you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get each month. To further complicate things, when it seems like the stories are going nowhere, Morrison begins to drop subtle clues and foreshadows that something is coming together. Let’s recap what’s happened so far.

“BATMAN AND SON” started out with a bang: a Batman imposter shoots The Joker point-blank in the face, but when you throw in some crazy ninja Man-Bats, and Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul’s son into the mix, you have one heck of a story.

Then, you have a story involving what The Joker’s up to (written as a novel, inside a comic book)…

Then, the imposter Batmen (there are three now) once again rear their ugly heads and Batman starts mentioning a black casebook (explaining “all the things we’d seen that didn’t fit and couldn’t be explained,” think 1950s Batman stories), and that brings us to…

A Batman story set in the future where Damian, Batman’s son (oh wait, he’s not really his son anymore, he was genetically engineered) has taken up the mantle of the Bat and Gotham City has gone all to hell (literally) under the hands of this mysterious third imposter Batman. Then we switch gears to…

The three-issue revival of the “BATMAN OF ALL NATIONS” from the 1950s, an international group of Batman wannabes, which then (somehow) leads to…

“THE RESURRECTION OF RA’S AL GHUL,” a multi-title story that involved Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Damian, Talia, Ra’s, and others, which revived one of the Dark Knight’s most worthy adversaries (stay with me, we’re almost done), then things get back to normal (kind of) when…

Batman runs into the third imposter Batman (yeah, the same third Batman featured in the future story), and he shoots him point blank in the chest. And then Bat-Mite shows up. Yes, you read that right. Bat-Mite.

“Eclectic?” Yeah, it seems that way. Morrison’s run has seemed like nothing short of that until recently, and that brings us to the recent BATMAN # 673. Somehow, he’s managed to mold a good chunk of all of that craziness I just attempted to explain into something that leaves you speechless and wanting to find out just what’s in store for the Dark Knight.

In short, Batman’s still in a coma from the previous issue and is subconsciously recalling the “Thogal Ritual,” a highly advanced and dangerous form of meditation that he experienced while at Nanda Parbat. He dreams of such events such as his encounter with Joe Chill, his childhood, and even his own death.

I must postulate though, could some of the odd, stand-alone stories from previous issues be “dreams” that Bruce is having in the same fashion as the ones presented in this issue? The story ends with the mysterious third imposter Batman looming over the real one, threatening him with death.

So, with all of Morrison’s run leading up to this moment, and April’s BATMAN #676 kicking off part one of “Batman, R.I.P,” it’s clear that Bruce Wayne will likely meet his end somehow, but how, when, where, and why are anyone’s guess. I know that this “sensationalism” is nothing new, and has been used an inane amount of times since DC’s “THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN.”

I know that a lot of Bat-fans will agree with me that whenever any of these writers/creators say that they’re doing this because “it’s a story worth telling,” sometimes you want to smack them across the face. However, I’m getting an entirely different vibe from Morrison. It seems like the story that may unfold before us really does have a purpose and a meaning. Let’s hope it does. Besides, if you’re upset about Mr. Wayne biting the dust, let Morrison’s description of the Thogal Ritual put you at ease:

“The Thogal Ritual is one of the most highly advanced and dangerous forms of meditation. During a seven-week retreat known as Yangti, the practitioner undergoes an experience designed to simulate death and after-death…

…and rebirth, too.”

Ryan Hoss is a Digital Media major at East Tennessee State University.
He runs and maintains his own website, www.billybobthecactusblob.com.
Contact him by e-mailing to ryan.hoss@mailcity.com.

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