Over the years DC Comics has been known for doing things that “push the envelope” of the comic book genre. They’ve been known to kill icons, make characters that have drug addictions, and write about stories that most of the industry seem simply too risky to talk about.
Final Crisis seemed to follow that pattern. However, Batman seemed to be the target this time.
In the sixth issue of this series fans saw the apparent demise of the hero by the hands of Darkseid. The DC universe would mourn this character in the issues and books that follow, but fans where shown in issue seven that the Dark Knight wasn’t actually dead.
Fans realized very quickly that Darksied used the “the Omega Sanction” on Batman and not the “Omega Effect”. To comic fans the difference is obvious, but to many, its just another subtle difference in word usage that will eventually make a story confusing.
Bottom line is that if you’re unlucky enough to get hit with the “Omega Effect”, you’re completely and utterly dead. But if you get hit with the “Omega Sanction”, you’re not only going to wish for death but what you experience next will feel far worse than death could ever be. The “Omega Sanction” takes the victims consciousness (or soul) and traps it in a series of alternate and consecutive lives, each worse than the one before it.
Die hard fans knew at the end of that sixth issue Batman wasn’t dead. But for the rest of society Batman was dead.
It wasn’t until the final pages of Final Crisis 7 that readers fully knew what happened to Batman. The issue’s finale shows Anthro’s (DC comics Cro-Magnon boy born in the Stone Age) death of old age after bringing fire to the people of Earth. But in a twist and to everyone’s surprise Bruce Wayne, still in his Batman garb, is there as well. The final pages are shown with Batman laying his utility belt upon the deceased Anthro’s body, and begins drawing the Bat-Symbol on the cave wall.
So is the Batman dead? No. But the world will treat him that way because he is now living millions of years before anyone who knew him would be born. Batman, Bruce Wayne, is indeed alive, he didn’t die in the pages of Final Crisis 6 by the hands of Darksied, but sadly for now Gotham City will need a new Batman, and personally I hope it is Nightwing who takes up that mantle.