200812010425We haven’t read the finale of the BATMAN RIP storyline which came out last week…but lots of other folks have. Apparently Bruce Wayne’s dad comes back and shoots him and there’s a big helicopter crash AND…only a cowl is found! The issue got a lot of press around the world but reactions, as one might expect, are mixed.

The Mindless Ones annotate and are caught up in the mystery:

imagine how violated you’d feel if you realised someone had not only been fucking around in your head, but that they’d even gone so far as to booby-trap it. There in the last cave, the gloomy recesses of the psyche, Batman discovers the post-hypnotic word, the mind-virus, and no wonder he has difficulty fathoming its shape! What would it look like?

Reactions among fans at the Harvard/Radcliffe SF blog are more dubious, with a column called When in doubt, kill your heroes:

Okay, my glamorous daydreams of Batman crashing heroically through a windowpane two blocks from my office aside, it sure seems fishy to me that a hero’s narrative–even those of heroes owned by a corporation, not by a writer–can be altered because of the company’s marketing and publicity concepts. But that’s exactly what DC has done, over and over, and they wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t working.

Den of Geek recalls similar situations from the past:

Of course, it’s not the first time that Wayne has given up the Batcowl. Longtime readers will recall the Knightfall/Knightquest saga back in the early 1990s when Bruce Wayne’s back was broken by the villainous Bane and a new younger model – Jean-Paul Valley.

That particular saga, which ran over the whole gamut of Bat-titles from April 1993 to August 1994, is a bit of a mess. It is not high on most people’s favourite Batman stories and there is a reason for that. No one liked Jean-Paul and his hi-tech new costume and there was a palpable sense of relief when it was all over and Bruce Wayne returned to normal, crime-fighting duties.

The Comicbook blog has a headline that just might be the most accurate thing anyone has written: Batman Dead But No One Believes It.


  1. I love the last line in the BBC report:
    “Last year, Captain America was killed after being shot by a sniper in New York.” – it almost sounds like a real news report of a political death.

  2. For me, the most interesting thing about this story is the revisionist history

    “RIP? doesn’t meant anything!”

    “oh Batman wasn’t suppose to die in this story, that was always the plan!”

    “You need to read final crisis to get the full story, that was always the plan!”

    On the story – it’s ok but Morrison’s work here is similar to that of the Wachowski Brothers on the matrix sequels where they drop in “deep” ideas but at an entirely superficial level.

  3. If DC are seriously trying to promote this as a permanent change, they can’t have been thrilled by Grant’s interview in the Sunday Times this weekend. (“We all know that the status quo will be restored, but I have to make it as exciting as I can before we get there.”)

  4. “If DC are seriously trying to promote this as a permanent change” – They moved away from that position a couple of months ago.

    I’m unsure if Batman “final” fate was always suppose to be in final crisis or they decided to switch and bait a little later in the planning.

  5. I’ve gone on my own one-of-millions bloggety rant about this, but I think the whole thing is a fairly large failure, with every clever bit outdone by two obtusely hack ones. And the fact that it happened in a year when they could have gotten thousands of new people to pick up a good Batman story makes it an even bigger train wreck. It’s nice that Grant Morrison can make subtle references to obscure Bowie albums, but that does not a mythos make.

  6. Pffft. Everybody knows that Steve Rogers will wear the cowl for a while until Aunt Harriet gets brutally murdered, which will set her lover, Conan, off on a quest where he’ll clash with Buffy for the magic power gems that will find Bruce Wayne & convince him that he needs to take up the mantle of Batman again, but *oh no’s* – Wolverine beat him to it & he’s pissing Gordon off, which is why Bruce needs to find the only person who can help him now: Herbie.

    All coming to you in 245-issue series at $4 a pop by 23 writers & 47 artists, none of whom communicate with each other, so just ignore all the gaffes, k?

  7. From the first time we saw Batman in Final Crisis, we were told that that was Bruce Wayne. And that’s after we were told that RIP happens before FC. I’m not arguing that everyone should have known that or anything (footnotes and related stuff would have helped A LOT), but revisionist history?

    I’m not so sure…

  8. R.I.P. ends like some incoherent, Freudian version of “The Final Problem” (the story in which Sherlock Holmes and Prof. Moriarty are presumed to have fallen to their deaths over Reichenbach Falls).

    Not impressed.

  9. Hmmm, someone needs to tell Den of Geek that the entire point of Knightfall was that readers weren’t supposed to like the all-killing Image-a-like Jean-Paul Valley Batman – the whole point of the story was to give the ‘Batman should kill the Joker’ letter hacks what they wanted, show them what a bad idea it was, and reaffirm Bruce Wayne as Batman.

  10. I read it, and I couldn’t tell what happened. I don’t mean that it ended as a cliff-hanger or was open to interpretation. I mean that on multiple occassions from one panel to the next I couldn’t tell what had happened. People and objects appeared as if from nowhere, or seemed to be headed nowhere. It was very poor storytelling as I knew what to expect coming into it. If someone just picked this issue up as a starting point it would be unintelligible.

    Now people are saying it was his dad, but I read the whole issue and didn’t really think that was honestly what they were trying to say. I thought it was a throwaway line or two, but okay.

    I got done with the issue and had no idea what really happened. Besides “good” or “bad,” this didn’t rise to the level of “cogent.”

  11. Oh,…everyone knew it was his Dad from the get-go.
    It should have been Superman. THEN,…you would have had something.

  12. “Knightfall was that readers weren’t supposed to like the all-killing Image-a-like Jean-Paul Valley Batman – the whole point of the story was to give the ‘Batman should kill the Joker’ letter hacks what they wanted, show them what a bad idea it was, and reaffirm Bruce Wayne as Batman.”

    I’m sure I remember reading that the majority of the letters they got were “wow ! now he can get a gun and smoke the joker!” – the reaction wasn’t what they’d wanted or expected.

  13. The best Batman is coming out of Japan anyway (courtesy of Mr. Jiro Kuwata) and there’s a fat chance the next movie will top The Dark Knight, so kill him, I won’t miss him.