"Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (Part 1 of 2): The Beginning of the End": Batman's conscience overlooks Gotham City and a voice talks and takes his view towards Crime Alley, where something important is taking place. At that moment, the Catmobile enters the str
- Kid... I'm the Joker. I don't just randomly kill people. I kill people when it's funny. What would be conceivably funny about killing you?
Synopsis for "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (Part 1 of 2): The Beginning of the End"
Batman's conscience overlooks Gotham City and a voice talks and takes his view towards Crime Alley, where something important is taking place. At that moment, the Catmobile enters the street and Selina Kyle stops the vehicle in front of a bar. When she steps down of the car, a youngster offers to keep an eye on her car for a few cents, but she replies that her car is already protected and as the young man turns around, he sees the car filled with astray cats. Selina walks into the bar, which is apparently empty except for the bar tender, who is in fact Joe Chill. Joe tells Selina to walk to the back door to reach her destination and as she starts walking there, Selina remembers that Chill was supposed to be dead, but he just tells her that he was there when it all started and that he needs to be there in the end. As Selina enters the room in the back, Alfred welcomes her and takes her to the main room, where they are waking Batman, who had just recently died.
Batman's conscience keeps watching as more people start arriving to his own funeral. Two-Face arrives and he allows the youngster to keep an eye on his vehicle. Commissioner Gordon and Barbara arrive as well and Alfred places them on the seats in the front. When Joker arrives in his Jokermobile, the youngster doesn't really wants to take care of that car, but Joker insists. The young man is left in shock as he believes he will most likely be killed by the Joker whether he takes care of the car or not.
More people keep arriving at the funeral, both Batman's greatest allies as well as his greatest foes. Harvey Bullock talks to Montoya and he explains her that he believes that with Batman dead, Gotham City is already dead as well. Meanwhile, villains like Harley Quinn, Joker, Mad Hatter and Penguin are courteously talking about their common enemy's demise. When enough guests have arrived, Dick Grayson talks to the people in the room and asks if there's anyone who would like to say anything about the departed.
Selina Kyle walks to the front and starts telling the story of how they met and her unique relation with Batman. Selina was once a thief disguised as a cat, when Batman confronted and stopped her. Their encounters would become much more regular and each time, there would be an increasing romantic tension between both of them. One night, after Batman captured her for the umpteenth time, Batman tried to talk her into going straight and be a normal person, but Selina refused, as she believed that while doing so, he wouldn't care anymore about her. Selina then tired to talk Batman into leaving crime fighting and become a normal person, but Batman couldn't even think about it. The conversation went like that, talking about possible scenarios where Batman and Selina would work together or they would both live normal lives. In the end, Selina told Batman that she would start taking down criminals, hoping to clean the city until there wasn't need for a Batman. Selina did her best and took down organized crime factions as well as known villains like Penguin. When she was taking care of a street pimp, Batman appeared and told her to stop her crusade, as she is turning into a worse criminal herself. Selina finally understands and retires from her vigilante activities, opening a pet store in which she takes care of cats. For years, she kept doing her honest job, listening to stories about the dark knight, but never actually talking to him again. Until one night, Batman appeared in front of her store just as she was closing it. He was badly injured and after losing a lot of blood, he was looking for help. Selina took him inside the store, but hours later, Batman woke up and realized that instead of giving him medical attention, Selina had tied him to a sofa, preventing him from escaping. Selina then talks how he asked her to take him to a hospital and how she refused to do it, killing Batman.
As Selina walks away from the coffin, Alfred steps forward and starts telling his own version of Batman's life and adventures. He starts telling the attendees about his past as an actor and how he was called to Gotham City once his father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. By the time Alfred arrived in Gotham, his father had died and following his will, Alfred started working as the butler for the Wayne family. Alfred witnessed the sheer happiness on the Wayne household until the night when Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed by Joe Chill, leaving young Bruce as an orphan. The shock of this events never left Bruce's mind and he began training his mind and body to the point of perfection. After years of training and preparation, Bruce, now and adult, started going to the streets as a masked vigilante to stop crime, but on his first missions, he always ended up badly injured. A short time later, Bruce started dressing as a bat and he even designed his base of operations underneath Wayne Manor. His crime fighting skills improved as well as his general mood. However, his mission started to consume him and soon, Batman became a force too powerful for the common crime of the city. Alfred witnessed how Bruce's purpose in life started to fade away and he decided to give the man some joy back into his life. Alfred met with one of his former actor colleagues in Gotham and asked him to play the role of a criminal mastermind with a compulsion for riddles. After a few nights of planning, they came up with the Riddler's identity and a perfect criminal plot that would keep Batman distracted from the futility of his existence.
After their successful feat, Alfred called his other friends and asked the same of them, giving them all a new criminal identity. However, Alfred noticed that Batman could defeat them all and that this hero needed a nemesis. Alfred took it upon himself to create the perfect villain for Batman. Using some special make-up, a purple suit and a green wig, Alfred turned into the Joker and would create crime plots, the best one he could come up with and confronted Batman every once in a month or so, just to keep the idea alive. However, one night, Bruce found Alfred's equipment and using his actual detective skills, he deduced Alfred's whole charade. Alfred and Bruce discussed their future and Alfred suggested that maybe then, Bruce could give up being Batman, but Bruce replied that Gotham won't allow Batman to give up. At that moment, the Bat-Signal was activated and Bruce answered the call. Batman arrived at the Gotham Zoo, where "The Riddler" had captured several kids and the dark knight stepped down and confronted the man. Batman revealed to him that he already knew the truth about his plan with Alfred and his own past as an actor. However, Eddie Nash's mind was gone and he actually believed that he was The Riddler. Batman attempted to stop him, but Riddler shot Batman in the face, killing him. Alfred ends his story telling that Eddie was taken to the real mental hospital and not Arkham Asylum, which was only another part of his own made up world.
While everyone keeps mourning the death of the Dark Knight, Batman's conscience is aware that none of what's happening makes any sense and soon the figure of a woman joins him and Batman asks if she is death. She refuses to give an straight answer and tells Batman to figure it out for himself.
Appearing in "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (Part 1 of 2): The Beginning of the End"
- Selina Kyle
- Barbara Gordon
- Dick Grayson
- Gotham City Police Department
- Kirk Langstrom
- Harley Quinn
- Joe Chill (Flashback and main story)
- The Joker
- Mad Hatter
- Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) (Cameo)
- Damian Wayne (Cameo)
- Martha Wayne (Flashback and main story)
- Thomas Wayne (Flashback only)
- The Eraser (Final appearance) (Cameo)
- Fu Manchu (Cameo)
- Gaggy (Cameo)
- Gentleman Ghost (Cameo)
- Jackanapes (Cameo)
- Mr. Freeze (Cameo)
- Poison Ivy (Cameo)
- Ra's al Ghul (Cameo)
- Gotham City
- This issue is reprinted in Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? and The DC Universe by Neil Gaiman Deluxe Edition.
- The events of this story are not considered canon in the current DC Universe continuity but rather an indeterminate amalgamation of the entirety of Batman's 70-year history. The story continues in Detective Comics #853.
- This story takes place after the events of Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis, where Batman is apparently killed.
- This issue features a sketchbook by artist Andy Kubert on the last pages.
- There are some references to legendary Batman artists including Jim Aparo and Bill Finger.
- There are also some references to the Batman '66 TV Series.
- Some of the panels on Alfred's story are a recreation of some panels in Detective Comics #33 and the cover art of Batman #37 and Batman #49.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)