Commentary: The Top 4 Deaths Of Batman

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Folks, my good friends over at Comic Book Illuminati have amazing an article regarding The Dark Knight’s supposed demise throughout various media. Check it out below.

Warning:
Slight spoilers for Arkham Knight and the stories that are discussed

Arkham Knight has been available for a few weeks now, and the one thing I’ve noticed about the game, besides that its almost ruined by the awful Batmobile controls, is that its fantastic story (and by extension the series as a whole) is a really good example of what I like to call The Final Batman Story Trope.

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One thing comic writers know is that popular characters such as Batman will never end, or at least not end until long after they’re dead. So many writers (usually, but not exclusively ,through DC’s Elsworlds imprint) will write their version of what the final Batman story should be. I’ve scoured my collection and found what I believe to be the four best versions of the Final Batman Story. Before I get started, let me share my criteria.
A lot of these won’t be from the comics themselves, I looked across all kinds of media to make my list.
Batman doesn’t have to stop being Batman.
It just needs to feel like its a worthy place for a story arc to end, whether that be Bruce Wayne passing the mantle, dying, or having brought all of the character’s thematic elements to a satisfying close.
This isn’t really a criteria, but i think it needs to be mentioned: The Dark Knight Returns will not be on this list. It used to be one of the greatest examples of The Final Batman Story Trope there is (it’s still one of the greatest comics ever written), but it no longer qualifies as it has a sequel, and that sequel isn’t very good.
Keep in mind that I’m writing this partly for people wanting to get into super heroes, so if these seem obvious to you…
It’s my list, make your own.

Number 4
The New Batman Adventures s01e04 Never Fear
This is cheating just a tad as it all turns out to be a dream caused by Scarecrow’s fear gas, but that dream is such a good example of how this story can work so well. While helping Batman take on Bane, Batgirl is killed (thrown off a roof onto her fathers police car, a scene that is still viscerally shocking to this day). The ensuing revelation that Barbara Gordon was Batgirl, and that Bruce Wayne is Batman, results in James Gordon hunting Bruce down and destroying everything he worked for.
I put it on my list because I love the hard right turn this episode takes into a dark meditation on how one day the secrets Bruce keeps are going to catch up with him. I also love that in the end, its not one of his greatest enemies that ends him, but his closest ally. Elements of this episode can be seen in Arkham knight.

Number 3
Batman: The Killing Joke By Alan Moore
I know a few people would argue (including Moore himself) that the reason I believe he it qualifies for the trope, Batman Kills the Joker, never happened. Here’s why I think it did: thematically it makes the most sense. A lot of time its set up that the Batman/Joker relationship can only result in one or both of their deaths. Alan Moore is too smart too leave that kind of payoff on the table. Joker goes way too far in this comic (at least he gave Jason Todd the common courtesy of killing him, Barbara Gordon has to live with what was done to her for the rest of her life) and it’s not too hard to believe that Batman wouldn’t lash out, finally realizing it was hopeless to try to get through to him.
Here is where it becomes part of the trope: What does Batman do after compromising his ethical code in such a way?
The Joker wins, Batman violates the morals that define him and he becomes no better than the people he fights. Its a downer of an ending, but if no other Batman comics were published, it would be a satifying ending.
[NOTE: I know that technically this should be disqualified because more stories were published afterword, but I remain convinced that this was an Elseworlds that accidentally got published in the Mainstream Universe, so they use a similar version of events to keep continuity.]

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Number 2
The Arkham Trilogy
Many are still playing through the last game, so I’ll keep this as spoiler free as possible. The Arkham Trilogy is like three fantastic television miniseries that details the events leading up to and through the end of Bruce Wayne. This gets onto the list because of how well put together it is, both from a story telling and thematic standpoint. Arkham sets the world and the stakes up, City sets everything in motion, Knight’s ties off all the loose ends for a satisfying close.

Number 1
Justice League Unlimited s04e13 Epilogue
Here is another I’m reluctant to talk about because I want everybody to see this episode and experience the wonder for themselves, so I’ll just say this:
This is episode really exemplifies what is great about Batman, his humanity. It’s also a great finale to the Batman Beyond series, bringing things full circle, and a great way to truly pass the mantle onto Terry McGinnis.

Article written by Zack Saad

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