We've mentioned it a couple of times before, but now writer Grant Morrison is making it very clear for the entire doubting io9 readership (and, for that matter, writers): Batman R.I.P. is intended to end Bruce Wayne's crime-fighting career once and for all. But, unlike Morrison's All-Star Superman, that doesn't mean that he's going to kill Wayne off; he has something much less pleasant planned, apparently.
Morrison's current end-of-career fatalism for the big name superheroes is, he insists, just a reflection of the current times:
It either means that I am going to die next year or else, the way I see it, I've just been tapping into something, especially since 9/11, this sense that the whole culture feels quite dark and threatening. It kind of feels like the end of western civilization and like we're somehow all to blame for it... Superheroes are a good way of confronting this stuff head on. They're designed to deal with evil and darkness and fear and all that so it can be helpful to take these incredible, powerful characters and subject them to all of our worst fears and nightmares given form. And see what they can tell us about surviving that because superheroes always find clever ways of getting out of trouble.And will Batman find his way out of trouble, as well as out of his costume?
I came to [Executive Editor] Dan DiDio back then and said, 'Okay. I am going to work towards this big storyline called 'Batman R.I.P.'' And he said, 'Okay. Go for it. But it just can't be 'R.I.P.' and nothing happens, we have to do something with him.' So he encouraged me to take it more literally and that's where it has ended up. This is the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman... [What happens to Bruce Wayne is] so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past but to me, that kind of ends the story! I like to keep the story twisting and turning. So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all.Well, we've already seen Bruce Wayne giving up the identity because he was crippled (Thankfully, his magic girlfriend fixed his spine), as well as he's gone insane more than a few times in the past... So exactly what fate worse than death are we talking about here? And, more importantly, how quickly will it end up being undone?
All-Star Grant Morrison II: Batman [Comic Book Resources]