The Death of Batman

Batman #681

In this issue, Batman doesn’t actually die.

Ooops. Was that a spoiler?

Well, it wasn’t much of one. Did anyone really believe DC Comics was going to kill Batman at the end of the “Batman R.I.P.” storyline? Nah, of course not. Still, the story is okay. We start out with Batman straitjacketed inside a coffin, Nightwing about to get lobotomized, and Robin under attack from the Club of Villains. Luckily, the Club of Heroes makes an appearance to save the Boy Wonder, Nightwing escapes pretty easily, the Joker proceeds to scare the holy howling heck out of the Black Glove stooges, and there ain’t a straitjacket or grave in the world that can keep the Dark Knight buried.

In the end, it all boils down to Batman vs. Dr. Hurt. Is he Thomas Wayne, Batman’s father? Is he an actor driven mad? Is he the Devil himself? We don’t hear anything for sure. And then there’s a fight, a shooting, a helicopter crash. Jezebel Jet gets her comeuppance, the Joker gets his ride run off a bridge, Le Bossu can’t escape justice. Batman goes missing, but dead? Definitely not.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The best moment probably comes early in the issue, with the return of the Club of Heroes. The Joker terrorizing Dr. Hurt’s domino-masked guests is also pretty good. If I have any disappointments with the story, they are, first, that this turned into yet another event, with Bruce Wayne disappearing, a new Batman taking over for a few months, and then Bruce returning again not long after that. Second, wow, is there anyone left in Gotham City who doesn’t know that Bruce Wayne is Batman? Commissioner Gordon knows. Everyone working with the Black Glove knows. The Joker definitely knows, and that’s gotta be pretty scary news, right?

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