Since BOF posted my "DEATH OF BATMAN" op-ed back in August, I've examined what sprang from it. By typing a few simple words into Google, I was able to see responses in independent blogs, various forums, and on other personal websites. The responses were interesting. Some included:
"That dude's on crack for thinking that BATMAN #666 plays a role in continuity."
"This scares me!"
"Why does he think that part in JLA #0 was a hint?"
"I think he has a point."
"That guy's a D-bag."
Well, a few months have passed, and I've decided to amend my opinion a little bit. With the grimly titled "Batman R.I.P." coming from Grant Morrison in a couple of months, and various revelations brought forth from Dan DiDio and Grant Morrison himself, I've decided that Batman could die in the pages of the BATMAN monthly.
As for other places in the DCU, including the other "present" continuity Bat-book Detective Comics, I kind of doubt it.
The most obvious reason to me is that from convention to convention, whenever he's not talking about Countdown, Paul Dini talks about his continuing plans for Batman in Detective Comics. If Batman was truly going to die in the DCU, wouldn't Dini be coordinating with DiDio and Morrison about a fallout storyline? It would, conceivably, have to affect the rest of the Bat-books and the DCU as a whole if The Dark Knight were to meet his maker.
Also, there's a new weekly series starting in June, the same month as "Batman R.I.P," called Trinity. As I'm sure you've heard, Superman and Astro City writer Kurt Busiek is teaming with artist Mark Bagley, who just defected from Marvel as the artist of Ultimate Spider-Man (115 issues of work) and New Avengers. Bagley came DC with exclusive contract for the express purpose of working on the new weekly which focusing on Superman, Wonder Woman, and a very alive Batman.
So, yes, Batman may “die” or have a near death experience in the upcoming Morrison/Tony Daniel story in Batman, but by no means does it appear permanent -- or at least as long as the deaths of other big comic heroes like Superman or the Steve Rogers Captain America.
I'd be able to accept this a bit more, and probably won't boycott DC if Batman experiences "a" death in his monthly. I still have faith in what Morrison is doing, and it's still my "main event" book whichever week it comes in (I order my books from the least anticipated to the most anticipated, and read them in that order).
Is a full-on Batman death likely? Maybe. Would it be the right time to do it? In my opinion, absolutely not.
One of the most anticipated summer films this year just happens to be a new Batman film. It would simply be bad marketing, especially since the movie (as with the last one) is likely to snag a few more regular readers of Batman comics upon release. New readers, looking for adventures of Bruce Wayne, may be a little confused and angry if they find Bruce Wayne dead when they pick up a Batman book.
However, if it plays out the way I think it will, it may change Batman's status quo in the DCU, and it will definitely change the relationships with not only his supporting characters, but other heroes as well. With that said, I seriously doubt that Batman will fall for a significant amount of time.
Bottom line, I'm waiting patiently but excitedly to see how this plays out, and I'm looking ahead at the awesome completed story that I believe will come out of it.
Bring it on!