A couple of months ago, Bleeding Cool ran the observation that the main Batman title was going to kill off its titular lead. That this was the only way out to the conclusion of the current Failsafe storyline. In which Batman is believed to have killed the Penguin, a trick, set up by The Penguin to fake his own death, before getting plastic surgery and changing his life to one away from organised crime. However, the resultant news coverage showing Batman having killed The Penguin triggered something called Failsafe, a robotic Batman created by a sub-personality of the Bruce Wayne in case of such an event, that he murdered someone. And now on a murderous rampage to kill Batman, going against the entire Justice League, the kingdom of Atlantis, taking over all of Gotham, defeating Superman, injuring Batman, capturing the entire Batfamily and proving itself as the most dangerous foe Batman has ever faced – an algorithm designed by his own brain to defeat him. Alfred Pennyworth, who would have normally been able to turn off Failsafe in case of a false positive, is dead, and Batman didn't know that was Alfred's role.
Bleeding Cool had suggested two ways out. One, that Failsafe realises that the Penguin is alive, and two, that Failsafe verifies that Batman – or Bruce Wayne – is dead. But we noted that DC Comics is going towards the latter. And this week sees the publication of Batman #130 which told us "The final chapter in the Failsafe arc reaches its brutal and stunning conclusion! Batman has one desperate, final option…will he walk away from it? The answer will shock you!" and for Batman #131, "Gotham City has never been darker or deadlier. And after Failsafe, there is no Batman to save it. Can the fractured ghost that roams the streets survive? Whatever happened to the man known as…Bruce Wayne?" And Batman #132 for February tells us "The mean streets of Gotham City have gotten meaner as the likes of Harvey Dent and Killer Croc roam free, brutalizing the population. Where is Batman and why hasn't he responded to the cries of a city in peril?! Can Bruce Wayne find the answers before the mysterious Red Mask captures him?"
Well, that does lead us to believe that Bruce Wayne is alive. But solicitations also lie. And now to Batman #130, officially out this week, but already on sale in some stores from last week, necessitating this kind of image.
There we go. Maybe I should make a more title-specific image.
Bingo. I think that will do, going forward, don't you?
So, we have Failsafe facing down Batman, as seen in a previous preview. Now with added letters.
Now the question is here, is Bruce Wayne reassuring Tim Drake, his third Robin, over what is going to happen? Or has he realised something? Does he have a plan?
The death of Batman at the hands of Failsafe, and even destroying the very weapon used to kill him. And the death is confirmed, as much as any perfectly designed weapon for killing can ascertain.
Failsafe has killed Bruce Wayne. Or has he? There are possibilities at play here. The nature of the weapon that shoots him – the Darkseid death was a New Gods weapon that sends him spiralling back in time. The last gun Batman used on Failsafe was of New Gods origin. Might Failsafe have appropriated some of that? Sent to another dimension rather than another time? Split between Batman and Bruce Wayne? Or maybe, and this might be a stretch, this is all happening within the Unsanity Collection mind machine, and he's trying to repair his psyche through a simulated life experience? After all, "this was all a simulation" seems to be "this was all a dream"… Batman #131 by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez is published on Tuesday, officially.