Holy Crap, Batman is DEAD!!!!
Or, rather, Bruce Wayne is dead, but Batman lives on in the form of his first protege, Dick Grayson, aka, Nightwing, aka the original Robin. The young, brash, brilliant but hopelessly infantile incarnation of Robin is now played by Bruce Wayne's son and Ra's al Ghul's grandson...
But hang on to your cowls, men and women (mostly men. actually, mostly guys). The lead-up to this is quite the ride, or at least different from what fans from the 70's & 80's (as I am) are used to.
So, there was a Crisis (the second, apparently middle one) wherein, from what I gather (yeah, I'm not feeling too world's greatest detective myself right now...) the greatest heroes (the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) all disappear - at least from fighting. Somewhere in the ensuing year (in the weekly series turned four-book series 52), Bruce Wayne kills Batman.
But that doesn't last long...
Batman was supposed to die (and many thought he did) psychologically and physically in the series "Batman RIP", written by Grant Morrison. Herein, he's tortured by a man posing to be his father who had apparently faked his own death (and, in the process, killed Ms. Wayne). Kidnapped by "Thomas Wayne's" gang of villains, Batman once again goes missing and is presumed dead. But, Batman being Batman, he didn't.
Is your interest piqued yet? To be honest, mine is...
However, Batman's triumph is short-lived. He is then batnapped (Batnap? Get it? Bat - like Cat... oh, forget it) by super evil, supervillain Darkseid who is in the process of destroying the entire multiverse (as a tie-in from the first Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which I read as a kid in the 80's and blew my friggin' mind on... dude.). Bats himself gets out of the trap that Darksie has planted for him only to end up in this confrontation:
The gun that the Big Bat points at the New God is armed with the bullet that can kill New Gods, as it is also the one that Darkseid used on Orion, who, if you don't know (and why don't you?) is (was) Darkseid's son and the bane of his existence. Which brings us back to Jack Kirby, father of the modern comic book era along with Stan Lee, his once partner. Kirby went to DC and created the New Gods, blending ancient myths into what was only considered the new-mythology of the comics universe. He also seems to be the homage of this Final Crisis., a classic myth in its own rite - akin to the weirdness in any of those Homeric or Herkales epics.
Anyway, back to the main event: While the bullet grazing Darkseid starts his end (and in the process, the universe's, of course), Darkseid uses his lazer beam eyes (ok, they're not lazer beams. They're like tracking beams of infinite deaths) to smoke Batman. Superman shows up at the scene from the future (where he fights an evil version of Superboy) too late to save his bestest friend.
Or is it?
Read but beware for spoilers: