Batman Killed, Long Live Batman
Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter ego since 1939, has been killed. By Dr. Thomas Wayne, his own father, who was himself “killed” in the origin story.
Bruce Wayne — who by night is Batman — gets murdered by a man claiming to be the father he thought was dead. In a highly controversial new storyline Bruce, who first appeared in 1939, is killed by Simon Hurt — the leader of the shady Black Glove organisation. Simon claims he is really Dr Thomas Wayne, saying he faked his own passing when Bruce was a child. The superhero dies when he tries to stop his foe escaping by helicopter in the new comic Batman R.I.P.
Writer Grant Morrison said: “This is so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past but to me, that kind of ends the story! I like to keep the story twisting and turning. So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all. This is the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman.”
Batman will live on though, with another character filling his Batsuit. Two likely contenders are Dick Grayson – the original Robin – or current Boy Wonder, Tim Drake.
These death stories are getting ridiculously lame. Of course, when a character has been around seven decades, it must be difficult to come up with new ideas several times a month. And these gimmicks seem to work.
Killing off superheroes has become a popular practice among comic book companies. Marvel Comics wrote a storyline in 2007 that ended with Steve Rogers, a.k.a Captain America, being shot and killed by an assassin. Captain America’s sidekick, Bucky, has since taken over as the hero. The storyline involving Rogers’s death saw sales of Captain America-related comics soar.
Indeed, DC killed off multiple universes twenty years ago, along with at least two major characters (the Silver Age Flash and Supergirl) in order to clean up the continuity messes created by half a century of making it up as they went along. As I understand it, DC did another reboot recently and Marvel has also done something similar at least twice.