It's been hinted at by DC Comics' head honcho Dan Didio and now the official solicitation copy for April's Batman #676 seems to confirm the long-standing rumor that Bruce Wayne is not long for this world.
Are you ready for "Batman R.I.P."? Beginning the epic story that will change the legend of the Dark Knight forever! Everything in Grant Morrison's groundbreaking run on Batman has been leading to this story, and nothing will ever be the same again. Who will live? Who will die? Who will be Batman? The answers are sure to shock you in "Batman R.I.P.," featuring artwork by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea and covers by Alex Ross.Nothing will ever be the same again!
The first question upon reading the solicitation should be "Who are they trying to kid?" Considering that DC are rumored to have postponed Greg Rucka's Batwoman comic until after the summer release of The Dark Knight movie for fear of offending moviegoers by daring to have a lesbian crimefighter fouling up the franchise, the idea that they'd kill Bruce Wayne before the movie even comes out sounds a little unlikely, even factoring the success of Marvel's killing of Captain America last year. But that said, Batman writer Morrison is also heading up DC's big cosmic story of the year, Final Crisis, which is also rumored to feature the death of big-name characters before restarting history and returning them all to life again, so who knows?
Let's take them at their word right now, and try to answer the third question they ask: If Bruce Wayne was to die, who would you like to become Batman, and why? Tim Drake, the current Robin? Dick Grayson, the unfortunately-name first Robin and current Nightwing (who's already had a go at the gig)? Alfred? Or someone else entirely?
First one to say Jean-Paul Valley is directed to please return to 1993 as soon as possible.