MARCH 2009 – NO. 31
GOTHAM CITY (LM) — Batman, the longtime protector of Gotham City and member of the Justice League of America, died last month from grievous wounds inflicted by the evil God Darkseid. His exploits have been documented since May 1939, but his true age was unknown.
Batman was in Darkseid's lair when he was struck by two of the villain's Omega Beams, one in the heart and one in the head. Darkseid's beams quickly pierced Batman's well-known sources of strength, his unflagging spirit and his fierce intelligence, but were not fast enough to beat the God-killing bullet fired into his chest by the Dark Knight. Thus did Batman, merely a man, kill a God and begin the end of Darkseid's global domination.
He is survived by his closest allies Robin and Nightwing, the entire superhero community, and the denizens of Gotham City who looked to him for inspiration and protection from malevolent forces, be they human or metahuman.
While his detailed origin and identity remain undisclosed, it is widely believed that Batman's early life was marked by tragic death, which served as the catalyst for his training and ultimate creation of a superhero identity.
A man dressed up as a bat, the legend's early career was marked by a substantial drop in gun-related crimes, tentative team-ups with other heroes (most notably Superman, with whom he developed a strong bond of trust and respect) and a rise in the ranks of costumed villains whose consistent defeats were inversely proportional to their repeated attempts and the advent of new, increasingly bizarre outfitted reprobates.
When Batman was joined by a young boy dressed in green and gold in his ongoing mission of keeping the streets of Gotham safe for the innocent, the world met Robin and saw a distinct rise in the optimism and good-humor of our hero, a light that tempered his darkness. Despite allegations of child endangerment, the Dynamic Duo worked well together, and the crime rate in the seediest parts of their bedeviled city dropped significantly. Those years are commonly referred to by those who knew him as Batman's happiest times.
In later years, when the original Robin ended their partnership to become the hero Nightwing, Batman found another young man to take his place. Thus did tragedy re-enter Batman's life, as this new Robin was brutally killed by the psychopathic Joker, who would continue to be Batman's most dogged and successful foe. Unwilling to break his code of justice and life's sanctity, Batman once again incarcerated Joker without exacting vengeance. Nonetheless the period after Robin's untimely death was marked by increased darkness, both in Batman's attire and his crime fighting methods. Despite Joker's repeated escapes and killing sprees, including the vicious crippling of Batgirl, Batman held firm in his oath to never kill, yet he doubled his heroic efforts with an unprecedented ferocity.
It was not until the arrival of a third Robin that Batman regained a kind of stability, and once again was infused by Robin's youth and hopefulness. Thus did the most modern chapters of Batman's saga begin, marked by battles and threats of greater scope than any he had encountered before. The escape from Arkham Asylum of all the crazed killers he had incarcerated there wore Batman down as he struggled to restore order, and in his weakened state his back was broken by the drug-enhanced newcomer Bane. Dropping off the radar for many months, Batman was replaced by a ruthless metallic substitute, at which time his convalescence ended and he took back his mantle by force. The Ventriloquist later manufactured an earthquake that destroyed a huge portion of Gotham City, and led to the government's abandonment of the metropolis, refusing aid and labeling it a No Man's Land. Ever committed to his hometown, Batman remained and waged a new kind of war, fighting the gangs and emerging warlords in a more primitive and guerilla manner, never giving up on the Gothamites and their desire for redemption.
Marked by his uncanny ability to "pull victory out of the jaws of defeat", Batman never accepted failure. A true symbol of America, Batman represented the limitless nature of self-determination, man's ingenious capacity for invention, the clear values of a traditional morality, and the unparalleled defense of innocence. With his own two hands and little regard for his own health, he saved thousands of lives and took dozens of bullets, knives, contusions and poisons. Without him this world is a substantially grimmer place, and the disbelieving citizens of Gotham look to a newly matured Robin to fill his shoes, or else succumb to the natural entropy that defines their city.
While simply a man in the company of godlike superhumans, Batman was the truest hero of them all. Using all the gifts inherent to humanity, he fought for our freedoms without tolerance of defeat, unceasing and ever triumphant. We can only pray that somehow this time, like so many times before, he will cling stubbornly to existence and one day return to us.
A public memorial service will be held in Robinson Park, sponsored by Wayne Enterprises, this next Saturday at dusk. All are welcome.
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