Bruce Wayne, better known to millions of comics fans as Batman, is dead.
Many months ago, in an effort to defeat Batman and sow discord, the Devil himself, in the person of Dr. Hurt, attempted to drive Batman insane. However, Batman had the greatest plan ever, because Batman plans for everything — he had created a back-up Batman persona, an ultra-violent Batman amped up to 10. And then Batman kicked the Devil’s ass, but in the process, the world believed that Batman was gone.
(I should note that the fundamental difference between Batman and Spider-Man is this. When confronted with the Devil, Batman kicks his ass. When confronted with the Devil, Spider-Man sells his marriage in exchange for whiny emo-ness.)
However, Batman was not gone. He had gone underground, and then the events of Final Crisis happened. Darkseid conquered Earth and turned it into a literal Hell.
And, because Batman plans for everything, Batman had planned for this.
Batman shot Darkseid and killed him.
But Darkseid unleashed his Omega Beams on Batman before he died and fried his body, leaving a bleached skeleton inside the Bat-costume.
The world believes that Batman is dead, and former Robin and Nightwing Dick Grayson has taken up the mantle of the Bat again, as he did in the aftermath of KnightsEnd fifteen years ago.
However, Tim Drake, another former Robin, does not believe that Batman is dead. And as he travels the world, he is uncovering evidence that Bruce Wayne has been present throughout a long period of human history. Tens of thousands of years of human history.
Because, somehow, the Omega Beams didn’t kill Batman, despite the body that Superman cradled in his arms. Nor did the Omega Beams trap Batman into the world of the Omega Sanction, though Neil Gaiman’s “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” may indicate that if Batman was trapped in the Omega Sanction, he worked out how to escape it.
Because, let’s be honest. If Batman can outthink the Devil, Batman can outthink Darkseid. Easily. It’s just that simple.
But how can Batman be present in human history, for thousands of years?
I’ve got it.
He’s a disembodied spirit!
The spirit of Batman refuses to die. Refuses to die!
Much like Ra’s al-Ghul’s spirit refused to die, come to think of it…
Where I think the story is going is this. In The Resurrection of Ra’s al-Ghul, the world believed that the Demon’s Head was dead, but evidence began to surface that he wasn’t. The League of Assassins tried to kidnap Damien, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al-Ghul. The reason, as we learn, is that Ra’s al-Ghul was alive, sort of. He was a spirit, and he could take over a body, but unless the body was part of his bloodline the body would decay quickly and his spirit would have to move to another body. Damien, because he is Ra’s al-Ghul’s grandson, could provide Ra’s with a stable body.
Batman, Nightwing, and Robin are able to save Damien, and Ra’s al-Ghul takes over a different body, that of a heretofore unknown son, which is probably why when we’ve seen Ra’s since (in the pages of Nightwing and Red Robin) he’s looked almost exactly as he had before.
You may be able to see where I’m going with this.
The disembodied spirit of Bruce Wayne will occupy Damien Wayne’s body.
Tim Drake will, in some fashion, find the spirit of Bruce Wayne. And to make Bruce Wayne live again, Damien, who has been shown will do anything for his father, will sacrifice himself so that Bruce’s spirit can have a vessel.
Thus, Dick Grayson remains as Batman. And now Bruce Wayne will be the sixth Robin. Or maybe still the fifth, since it’s Damien’s body, after all.
Which means that the future Damien Batman we see in Batman #666 isn’t really Damien. It’s actually Bruce.
There it is. My crackpot theory on the search for Bruce Wayne and the return of the original Batman.