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DC Comics, Bruce Wayne, Marvel, Captain America

The Death of a Batman?

By Joshua Hill —— Bio and Archives--November 14, 2007

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Sometimes, there is a bit of news, seems not to have been publicized as much as you would think. This story is based upon one such tidbit. Rich Johnston from Comic Book Resources in his Lying in the Gutters column has revealed to the world—in what I think is the only location so far—that Bruce Wayne is to be killed off next year by DC comics.

Before we get to the outraged commentary on why this is a phenomenally bad idea, let’s get the facts down as they’ve been reported.

According to Johnston, in what is a fairly renowned column, DC Comics will be killing off Bruce Wayne in June or July of 2008. The Batman series will also apparently relaunch from #1.

Now at the moment, despite the source, this is just rumor. However the media coverage is about to blow off the roof, as I think we’re getting to this pretty early.

A few background facts before my righteous indignation springs into effect. Batman was first introduced to the DC Universe (DCU) in Detective Comics #27, and then made his debut in a self-titled book in the spring of 1940. He remained one of the popular books even through the comic industries decline in the 50s.

Obviously a lot of media attention has gone the way of Batman with the campy success of the 1970s TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward, and the 1989 film by Tim Burton which went down as one of the best comic movies. Along came Batman Begins in 2005, which garnered further praise for the caped crusader.

Fan reaction is already against the decision, with Comic2Film running an article, succinctly summing up people’s feelings; “Killing Batman…what the f&#k?!”

What’s worse is that their decision to kill off Bruce Wayne—whether pre-planned or spontaneous—comes right on the back of Marvel killing off Captain America. The two characters—Captain America and Batman—have often been compared to each other as the morale center and tent pole for their respective franchises.

So is this a blatant following suit on DC’s part? Simply acting like the sheep and not thinking about the ramifications? Or is this actually something that has been on the drawing boards?

Granted, Bruce won’t stay dead for too long, and it may very well allow DC to reboot the character from a younger age. It has been a topic of discussion for some time regarding Wayne’s age, and when the mantle will be passed on to younger, fitter bodies.

Up for the role of Batman are, primarily, Robin #3 Tim Drake, and Robin #2/Red Hood Jason Todd—who himself returned from the dead. Tim Drake’s Robin has been slowly evolving in to a more Batman character with each issue of Teen Titans and the self-titled Robin, so the likelihood that he will take up the cape and cowl is high.

But, ontheotherhand, Jason Todd’s recent return to the DCU could suggest that DC had planned this move. In addition, his featured role in the current “Countdown” weekly comic series is another tick on his likelihood.

Of course, for fans of the Batman series, Dick Grayson—the first and original Robin, who is now known as Nightwing—is going to be a fan favorite to take over the role. But he has invested himself in his role as Nightwing, and stepping away from Batman’s shadow, so his storyline would have to be dramatically revamped—for the worse—to make this happen.

Everything being said, the idea is ill-thought out at best, and is definitely going to do damage to the series: from the eyes of Batman and DCU fans. And while sales will no doubt jump to witness the event, and the fallout, whether they will hold long enough to keep sales up until his return is another question. The death of Superman from the mid-90s was an unmitigated failure, and does not bode well for Batman. Ontheotherhand though, there are writers currently on DC’s payroll that may be able to pull this off with a level of skill that was lacking back then.

My opinion is simple: this is a bad idea. However, considering that I have no impact upon DC’s decision making process, I am not really worried. I look forward to reading the intervening issues with a new Batman, and I look forward to Bruce’s return; hopefully younger, and ready to keep going for decades to come.

Joshua Hill, a Geek’s-Geek from Melbourne, Australia, Josh is an aspiring author with dreams of publishing his epic fantasy, currently in the works, sometime in the next 5 years. A techie, nerd, sci-fi nut and bookworm.

Guest Column Joshua Hill -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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