Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader is a modern classic brought to us by the same mind behind some renown works such as American Gods, Coraline, and The Sandman. Neil Gaiman brought his style and charm to the Batman universe in this one-of-a-kind hit. Follow our Dark Knight as he is forced to witness his own funeral. With a colorful and perfectly selected cast of characters and many interesting stories to boot -there is a lot to take in with this Batman installment.
Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader TP collects Batman #686, Detective Comics #853, Secret Origins #36, Secret Origins Special #1, Batman: Black and White #1.
|Book Name||Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader|
|Book Series||Batman, Detective Comics|
|Edition Reviewed||Collected Edition Trade Paperback|
|Where to Buy||Amazon|
Battle of the Cowl
Batman: Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader Review
To start off, the artwork was amazing. This comic tried to encompass a large variety of styles and comic eras from the settings to the costumes. I think it was a rather difficult feat to accomplish, but the illustrator was able to perfectly capture these elements AND make everything fit together on top of it all! It was a beautiful piece of art from beginning to end and I really appreciate everything that this comic did.
It can be important to note that while this book addresses Batman’s “death,” this story is more of a standalone filler of sorts. Rather than being a continuation or prequal of the Final Crisis arc, this comic can be read an enjoyed on its own! Although this is not apparent from the beginning, this is one of those storylines that forces the character to confront themselves in a ghost of Christmas past kind of way.
Right from the start, we get Bruce Wayne narrating the event as he sees it. Not only that, but as he calls out, confused about the scene before it, someone answers back.
“But it’s not right.”
“Watch. Wait. You’ll see.
It opens right off with Selina swirling into crime alley recklessly. She is going to something, and it is pretty clear from the start that she isn’t exactly excited about it. When walks into the bar and gets directed to the next room, everything becomes clear. She is about to attend a funeral. Not just any funeral, but Batman’s funeral.
Now, the storyline can be a bit confusing right from the start. All that we know is that Batman is dead and in the casket that lies before her in a fairly empty room. When we see that Alfred Pennyworth is among the first attendee, the visitor list doesn’t seem too surprising. I mean, these are just the people that were closest with Batman. It would make sense that they would be there, but the lines of empty chairs indicate that there will be more guests yet to come.
As the guests start rolling in, we get more and more characters attending the funeral. From Two-Face and James Gordon all the way into the Joker himself. Still even at this point, Batman’s narration seems more mater-of-face and detective-like instead of full of fear. He is not as shocked as one might expect to be viewing his funeral, however, that is the least of the surprises that await.
Once the guests arrive we start to have Selina Kyle tell of her story with what happened to Batman. She tells of a story about their complicated relationship. A story where she offered to defend the streets so that her and Batman could continue on with a normal relationship life. The same story where she lets him die. At first, it seems like she’s telling the tale of his final moments where she failed to save him out of resentment. However, even the narrating batman knows that this is not at all true.
If that wasn’t odd enough, her story is followed by the unconventional background story of Alfred. It starts out typical enough -him coming the work for the Wayne’s following the death of his father who had acted as their butler previously. One of the critical moments here is when he covers the night where Bruce’s family was murdered. He even made a comment about how if happiness was a thing, Bruce and Mary had found it (until of course their murder hours later..). He talked about watching Bruce put on the hood and fight crime as Gotham’s vigilante. As the story goes on, it goes into a weird a twisted tale insinuating everything about Batman’s crime-fighting career had been a lie. Staged in order to make Batman happy again. It even goes as far to say that Pennyworth was the Joker all along.
Only, he couldn’t be. Not when you look into the set of people and you see the Joker there. Even between panels, the style of Batman changes and more and more people come forward to talk about how he died and what not. The more stories you hear, the less that you ultimately know about everything and what exactly is going on. If you do not want any major spoilers I suggest that you not read ahead.
Batman is the greatest detectives of his universe. He realizes on his own, he is merely watching his life flash before his eyes. With his mother as a guide, they have been revisiting episodes of his life -or versions of. He is on the brink of death and this is what death had in store for him.
The thing about Batman is that he is always knocking at death’s door. These stories seemed to explore the different possibilities that were all too real. I would even go as far as to say this comic catered a lot to the fanbase of Batman and teased a lot when it came to things such as different fan theories and those classic twists that people love.
The only thing I do have to say is I wish we got to know what actually happened or give us some more information than merely -this is Batman’s life flashing before his eyes and nothing is necessarily true or not true. However, more on what actually happened post Final Crisis is explained in the next few TPs and on his official return in The Return of Bruce Wayne.
Although it didn’t contribute to the storyline per say, I would still give Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader a 4/5. It was an amazing tale that was captivating enough to live up to the expectations one would have for the work of Gaiman. Although this isn’t the best comic for people to start off with, it is certainly entertaining for veteran fans!
Last update on 2021-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API