I don’t read Batman comics (nor am I a DC Comics fanatic), but I checked out the two-issue “Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?” because Neil Gaiman (Sandman fame) is an extraordinary writer. Also, this arc is an homage to Alan Moore’s classic “Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?” After finishing the issues, I sum it up as an exceptional piece of work. We see a deceased Bruce Wayne attend his own funeral accompanied by an unseen woman. The various attendees (from the Joker to Alfred to Catwoman to Robin) pay their respects, but provide different conflicting tales on how Batman died. It may seem confusing but, the idea works because they provide different interpretations on who Batman is: Batman will always keep fighting, he can never retire, and will die in a blaze of glory. It’s a great message that represents the iconography of the modern folklore since Batman is universally known with different takes for almost 70 years. As a final tale, we come full circle (with a clever reference to Goodnight Moon). We return to the tragic moment where Bruce became Batman, a cameo from Joe Chill, and the unseen woman is revealed to be Bruce’s mother. With all Batman’s memories, they bombard him before he dies and we have a final page where we go back to Batman’s birth. It’s a metaphorical scene, so it’s open to interpretation. Worth checking out even if you don’t have any knowledge of Batman comics (I sure didn’t).
My Rating: B+