Bruce Wayne: DOA?

The DOA in this case stands for dead or alive?

Spoilers ahead. The last panel of the penultimate issue of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis strongly suggests that the original Batman is dead. The tip off is the image of Superman holding his dead body after attempting to kill (but most likely only wounding) the great and powerful Darkseid.

The image itself is of course an homage to the original Crisis (on Infinite Earths) in which Superman held the dead body of his cousin (which is itself an homage to dozens of other comics before it). If its true, this seems to be a jab at Marvel which pulled a similar stunt, suggesting in hints that Captain America would die in its Civil War event, only to kill him with no announcement in issue 25 of his regular series. This time around, DC spent months building up Batman RIP (also penned by Grant Morrison) which was expected be many to either kill off or replace Batman. Despite an amazing start, that event failed on many levels with a disappointing last issue. Instead, Batman died rather abruptly in one of the last scenes of FC #6.

A lot of fans, including myself, were rather disappointed with Morrison’s handling of longstanding Justice League member J’onn J’onzz in Final Crisis #1, in which he was killed off panel. So was Batman’s death handled as well as Captain America’s or as badly as the Martian Manhunter’s?

The answer is neither and both. Morrison didn’t crap all over the memory of Bruce Wayne like he did with J’onn, though I will say it seems like a cheap stunt death to add weight to the very disappointing event that is Final Crisis. I mean, sure, the Earth is being destroyed, but really, how long will any of this stuff stick?

I don’t think he handled Bruce’s death as well as Cap’s either. In fact, the Batman’s death is lacking when you compare it to the FIRST TIME Morrison penned it. In the Rock of Ages storyline, Bruce Wayne is killed helping to take down Darkseid (sound familiar?). The difference between the two scenes is that in Rock of Ages, Batman’s last moments are truly bad-ass, and fully worthy of the last moments of the Dark Knight. In Final Crisis, the death scene is admittedly kind of cool, but rings a little false. For one thing, he uses a gun, which is a Bat-no-no. For another, the dialogue comes off like a cheesy Die Hard rip off. Batman’s final words “DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR????????” To which the answer would be, “no Bruce. Because you didn’t say anything before that statement. Unless your point is that you have a gun. But as you can see, I’m not blind, so I know you have a gun. Therefore, you kind of sounded like a tool just then.”

It’s a little wordy, sure, but I think it comes off better than Darkseid’s actual response.

Of course the big thing is— Batman may not actually be dead after all. Darkseid’s murder weapon of choice is called the Omega Beam. It’s like a living laser that he shoots from his eyes which disintegrates it’s target. Yes, I really just typed those words. But the beams that Darkseid uses this time is called the Omega Sanction, which he refers to as the “death that is life!” Also, Batman’s body is left intact… if somewhat crispy. My guess is he’s in a… and I can’t believe I’m typing this… super-coma.

Yes, a super-coma. (fuck me, I am done as a writer.)

Death is rarely permanent in the make believe world of comics. Hell, Batman’s protege Jason Todd was just brought back to life after Superboy Prime punched the Universe. (soooooo done as a writer after this) Surely Bruce can take a super viagra and some espresso (super espresso?) and wake up from this!

And most damning of all is the felling that Morrison wasn’t really done writing Bruce Wayne. At the end of RIP, he clearly had a lot of story left to tell.

So is Bruce dead or alive? My guess is we won’t find out until DC’s next event, Blackest Night. It’s tagline? The Dead will rise.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by danoot on January 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

    His last words are actually “gotcha”, which is more of a last … word. I guess. This ending felt a bit weird, but also so very right.

    I don’t know if you read the Seven Soldiers series, but the Omega Sanction is what Darkseid did to Mister Miracle – a series of pointless and depressing lives where, basically, everything sucks, and ends up at the anti-life equation. Mister Miracle got out of it by making his life not suck. And we’ve just had some pretty clear indications that bats can stand up to new gods depression-technology and win, so I guess it’s probably not the end for Brucie…


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