Batman - Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
Batman is dead. This comic, which consists of Batman #686 and Detective
Comics #853, is about the dead midnight detective, his life and how he
died. The narrator tells about Gotham City, but it‘s not the
usual Gotham. Selina Kyle enters the bar and at its back is a
gathering. All of Batman‘s friends and enemies gathered to
celebrate the late hero‘s life. The Joker is also showing up
as well as Two-Face or friends like Commissioner Jim Gordon, Dick
Grayson or his buttler Alfred. As the narrator sees Batman in the
coffin, he says that this is him. Everyone is giving a short eulogy
about how they have met and how Batman died. Selina Kyle tells about
her first fight with Batman back when she was just ‘the
Cat‘. Then she begins to tell how the hero died. A wounded
Batman came to her petshop and asked for help. She leads him into the
back of her store and wants him to sit down in a chair. As he is
sitting she ties his limbs, so he can‘t stand up again.
Batman still asks her for helt, but Selina says that this has to end
because she loves him. Then he dies.
His butler Alfred is also telling a story about his late friend. He reveals that he was an actor once and that he and his actor friends are all of Batmans biggest enemies. Alfred himself is playing the role of the Joker. He did this because he wanted to give his Master Bruce a meaning for his life. Batman discovers Alfred‘s play and both have an argument. During their conversation Bruce Wayne recognizes the Batsignal in the dark night sky. For him that whole Batman thing is real, because people need his help. Commissioner Gordon tells him that the Riddler, also one of Alfred‘s friends, has kidnapped some kids. Batman hunts the Riddler and both stand eye to eye. The Riddler shoots right into Batman‘s face with a gun by accident. Batman is dead.
Other friends and enemies also tell their own story how Batman died, including the Joker, who seems to be very saddened by his enemy‘s death. Batman, whose voice comes from the off, reveals that all these stories have true facts but they did not happen like the speech suggests. He is talking to a voice he can‘t identify, even though it is very familiar to him. He asks if he is dead or if this is just an episode of him being close to death, where he will wake up right in time. The voice doesn‘t answer him, it says that he is the world‘s greatest detective, he should figure it out alone.
After other stories told by the likes of Mad Hatter or Superman, Batman enters a door and his mother Martha is in front of him. She reminds him of a children book she has read to him as he was a little child. In that book Bruce always said goodbye to all the things before going to bed. His mother tells him to remember this and to say goodbye to his friends, to his enemies, to Gotham City. Batman is dead and finally he accepts that. The last picture of the story shows Martha Wayne is holding the newborn child, Bruce Wayne, in her arms after giving birth to him.
Neil Gaiman wrote this story about the midnight detective‘s death. In the end you don‘t get to know why he exactly died, but in fact it might have been a mixture of all these stories. The end gives a hint that Batman never really dies, not in comics and his legacy will never die in reality. Also this is a perfect interlude to the new comics of the New 52 by DC comics, which followed shortly afterwards these comics and the megaevent of Flashpoint. Andy Kubert‘s pictures are great as well.
The comic also features other stores written by Gaiman. Like a oneshot for Batman Black And White or a story about the origin of the Riddler, which he tells a TV team. The best part about the bonus stories is the story about Poison Ivy.
Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? is a very good storyline. It shows different aspects of the dark knight‘s life. The only bad thing about it is that you don‘t get to know how the hero really died. That‘s part of your imagination.
Text © by Sebastian Berning