Underwhelmed by the end of Batman RIP? That's because it wasn't actually the end of the story, according to DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio. And, apparently, was never meant to be, either.
Talking to Newsarama.com about the muted response to watching Bruce Wayne confront a man who claimed to be his father or an actor or the devil himself before disappearing in an exploding helicopter, DiDio explained why the final part of a story doesn't have to have an ending:
The R.I.P. story was always meant to play through to the end of [current DC Comics mini-series] Final Crisis - always. The thing is, we had to come up with a very complete story in “Batman R.I.P.” as it existed in its title. The reality is that the “Batman R.I.P.” story does not conclude until Final Crisis #6. There are also issues #682 and #683 of Batman that feed directly into Final Crisis #6, and we’ll have a big finale to the Batman storyline. That’s how it plays out.
But as I said, because we live in the world of collected editions, we needed a conclusion in the Batman series, so that we could collect it properly within Batman, without having to bring in segments of Final Crisis to complete the story... [O]ne of the things we did, going in to Final Crisis is that we wanted to feel that if people just wanted to read Final Crisis, they were fine just reading that one storyline, and wouldn’t feel that they were being “forced” to purchase other storylines and material. That should be the same case with “Batman R.I.P.” We wanted to give what felt like two distinct conclusions, even though they are very much intertwined.
So, you're not being "forced" to read Final Crisis - it's just that it's necessary to get the real conclusion to a story that was advertised as finishing months earlier in a different series altogether. If you do feel compelled to pick up Final Crisis #6 to, you know, find out how that other story you've been following all along in Batman's comic ends, it's not DC Comics that's forcing you... it's your own natural curiosity.
(This would be the point where I ask whether it's semantics to say that it's RIP continuing into Final Crisis as opposed to vice versa when referencing this interview from earlier this year, where DiDio told Newsarama.com:
As fans will notice, there are no Final Crisis crossovers taking place in any of the ongoing series.
You have to wonder whether those covering the 'final' chapter of Batman RIP were told that the story was actually continuing for a few more months, and that Bruce Wayne wasn't stepping off-stage just yet, don't you?)
Dan DiDio: 20 Answers, 1 Question - Batman and More [Newsarama.com]