Bruce Wayne is dead. Bruce Wayne is alive. Long live Bruce Wayne.
No matter what side of the dead or alive controversy following Bruce Wayne’s apparent death during the events of Final Crisis one may be on, the return of the character is inevitable and if the talk around town is correct will be the first major Missed Direction of 2010 for the DCU.
While it seems likely that the character will be returned to life or, at least, to our time period using the mechanism of 'Oh Darkseid used the Omega Sanction on Bruce Wayne and that doesn’t really kill the person just displaces them in time', using such a wellworn plot device to bring the character back would immediately suck the integrity out of not only the "Battle For The Cowl" arc, but all the existing Batman storylines (along with any emotional investment readers have put into the new world of Dick Grayson as Batman).
Since the return of Bruce Wayne in 2010 seems inevitable, here are a few scenarios to help keep the DCU Powers That Be on track.
1) Don’t bring back Bruce Wayne. Wait. That’s inevitable.
2) Don’t bring Bruce Wayne back as Batman. This is an excellent opportunity to show the personal growth of the character and explore storylines that take Wayne beyond Batman.
3) Don’t bring Bruce Wayne back in a series of stories that have him traveling through time until he reaches the present or have him be saved by Booster Gold. Remember, to those in the present moment he’s already dead if he’s in the distant past.
Instead, consider this: a new ongoing series that has Bruce Wayne in a time period set in the past using his skills to fight evil in a different place and time permanently.
Just a bit of out-of-the-cowl thinking can turn what will look like a marketing ploy into new mythology. The DCU Powers That Be should be urged to avoid taking this wrong direction with 'The Return of Bruce Wayne' in 2010.
Now, if only the Justice Society of America and Justice League can be saved. But that’s the subject for another tomorrow.