The end of batman is always a fascinating concept, because Batman can’t die. Not really. He’s not a mortal man, he’s an idea a legend which is what makes him able to still be alive after so many years, changing and evolving to be a vigilante in whichever time period that doesn’t need him, but totally deserves him.
The story takes place at the wake of Batman. We enter a small Gotham City bar in an alley where a lone bartender guards the entry to the back room. During the wake all the characters from the universe appear. The joker, Catwoman, the riddler, etc. Each one gets up and they tell the tale of Batman’s death.
This book is nice, it’s twisty, but not overtly so. I like the idea of leaning into the elusiveness of a legend. It is impossible to give a proper ending to such a character and I love that in the end I still didn’t know. That is the power of Batman – there are always more stories left to imagine.
Neil Gaiman writes a lovely foreword to this book as well. One thing he mentions is that he would have liked to title it simply “the end” rather than the rather wordy Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? They should have listened to Neil Gaiman. The End is a much more punchy title and it plays nicely against the themes in the book. That there is no real ending to give the Batman, other than the one he gives himself. And it’s fitting that it’s an ending we never get to see.