Illustration for article titled Who You Gonna Believe About Batman RIP? USA Today Or Your Own Lying Eyes?

USA Today is running a story today that gives away the end of DC Comics' Batman RIP storyline - but in a way that may be contradicted by DC's own solicitation for February 2009's final issue of Nightwing. To go along with a return to Clintonian SF, are we looking at a Clintonian parsing of the meaning of "dead"? As you may expect, spoilers follow.With the final chapter of the storyline pushed out again (It's now due next Wednesday, although that again may be subject to change), USA Today is reporting that the story doesn't end with the death of Batman at all - Just a retirement:

Batman #681, due Nov. 26, wraps up writer Grant Morrison's Batman R.I.P. story line, in which the crimefighter is so shaken by a secret from his past that a new Batman must be found.


What's interesting is that DC's solicitation for the last issue of Batsidekick Nightwing's series is much less vague about Batman's fate:

As Robin, Dick Grayson fought alongside Batman as part of the dynamic duo, the greatest crime-fighting team in history. As Nightwing, he teamed up with his peers to combat injustice in the Titans and the Outsiders. Now, Dick Grayson faces the most important battle of his life. Batman is dead. The Mantle of the Bat must be passed, but it will require all of Dick's training and skills to carry out the last wishes of Bruce Wayne and protect Gotham City.


Yes, there's some wiggle room in saying that "Batman is dead" - after all, if Bruce retired, then Batman is "dead" in a sense - but adding in "the last wishes of Bruce Wayne" certainly adds to the suggestion that Batman's disappearance is a lot more permanent than just being "shaken." So is this an example of overenthusiastic ad copy, or is there more going on than USA Today knows about? And, either way, what is the secret that will leave the caped crusader so upset? It may be a long week filled with disinformation before we get to find out. Batman #681, the final chapter of Batman RIP, hits stores a week tomorrow. Neil Gaiman to design a demise for Batman [USA Today], Nightwing #153 [DC Comics]

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