Hmm…back from the margins?

June 30, 2005

Check out this article from Christianity Today: We’re Prime Time, Baby!

The article says that Evangelicals are now getting more and better press.  We are no longer marginalized in popular culture.  Here’s some telling words from the article:

So, we’ve been mainstreamed. Now what?

First, we can thank God. Jesus Christ’s unique message and values will gain a larger and more respectful hearing.

Hmm…I thought that our society was becoming increasingly post-Christian…so what are we supposed to make of this?  First of all, I’m not sure that this turn is a good one.  I think that Evangelism re-asserting itself as America’s civil religion isn’t a good thing.  This is all wrapped up in the shoring up of the ties between the Republican party and the Evangelical right.  Is the evangelical movement actually stronger? Or is it that, as a friend of mine tells me, that movements often appear strongest before their decline.  The fact that the media now recognizes the Evangelical movement as a power-player and has had Rick Warren featured aren’t signs that things are getting stronger, but perhaps that the media is just realizing seeing a trend that is already in decline.  The apex is always more visible on the downslopes.

West Bank Tea Room

June 29, 2005

Ok, I’m having a massive brain attack.  At the risk of sounding Charismatic (I guess I’d call myself a "soft" Charismatic), I’ve been having this really wierd spider-sense lately.  We’ve been having some communications issues at Missio Dei.  Nothing horrible, but it has clearly been that special phase in a new group’s life where it struggles and stretches in its quest to define itself. :)  Usually, a shift or an intensification happens after that (or the thing dies).  Besides just knowing that something should happen in this stage in our development, I’ve really been discerning, at a gutteral level, that a big step is coming.  I’ve felt a sense of excited anxiety that we need to move past this stage, and that God is going to do something really cool, but something really costly.

And so, this spidey sense that God has something in store around the bend has been really heavy. 

Today, I met with my friend Shane Long.  He really affirms what Missio Dei is trying to do.  I shared my hopes and frustrations (which are usually tied up with one another).  One of my frustrations has been how much harder it is to establish presence in a place than I expected.  It is difficult to find housing on the West Bank, and we haven’t been able to find a place on the West Bank to do our central gathering.  Having people simply hang out there can be a good thing, but we are few and just hanging out has limited impact.  Usually I love a challenge, but this is a rather big one.  And unfortunately, I’ve taken it out of my brothers and sisters at Missio Dei on occasion.  Something much more drastic needs to happen if we’re going to serve the West Bank and Seward. 

So I shared some of this stuff with Shane.  As we spoke, an idea popped into his head.  He said, "this is probably too far out there, but maybe you could start a Tea shop.  You can really meet alot of internationals and students that way" (or something like that). 

When he said that, something in my head, snapped.  His idea hung there, midair…it was the solution I’ve been searching for…a place to meet on the West Bank, a way of connecting with diverse people…a way for me to be bivocational in ministry…it not only appealed to my intellect, but resonated deep in my heart. I don’t presume that "God told me to open a tea house." But this seems to resonate with my soul and fill me with excitement.  If I find a large enough space (there is a multiple-level space available for lease that would be ideal for a tea room, and ample space for groups and concerts).  It would simply be a great way to make connections with people and a great place for Missio Dei to use for various activities.  And hopefully it would also be something that can fund ministry projects and whatnot in the future.

I’m realistic.  This idea would take alot to get off the ground.  I’m not wealthy, but would be willing to expend a good deal of my income to make it happen.  But I’ll need to get a small business loan, and I’ll need to find one or more partners.  Ideally, I’d like to find a partner who has experience in the tea or coffee industry and knows how to run things.  I need people who are cool with the West Bank Tea Room having strong ties with a church.  And they’d need to throw some money into the pot to have a start-up fund.  I think things would take a little while before things get profitable. 

Spead the word…anyone want to help start West Bank Tea Room?


June 28, 2005

Every week, Missio Dei has its Central Gathering.  In the past, there have been a day here and a day there when we didn’t have music as a part of our gathering.  But lately, we’ve gone without more often then we’ve had it.  We used to have three people who helped with music.  One moved on, a second person didn’t want to share out of obligation, and hasn’t felt like sharing anything lately, and the third person wants to help, but only every other week.  And if he is out of town at all, it can be less than every other week.  I don’t think you need to have music to worship God, but I think it is a good thing–whether it is participatory or the people just listen to someone play.  Some of my pastor friends tell me that I need to go recruit more music folk.  I don’t like the idea of going out and recruiting someone simply because we feel that we need it to be complete.  I’d rather have musical expression–or any other sort of ministry–emerge from within our community.  I’m open to people coming in who want to do music, but I want then to come for more of a reason than just that we covet their talent.

How important is music?  I find myself missing it alot.  I think music and the arts are a beautiful thing, and if a community has artists, they should be encouraged to share their gifts.  But what about the community that doesn’t have many artists? What should they do? 

City Church

June 27, 2005

A great post by Len at NextReformation.  Check it out.  Here’s a snippet:

Q. So.. the old churches are going to die?

A. Some will die.
Some will be like seeds sown in the ground and will spring up in new
life. Others, even in their decay, will become fertile ground for new
life.. life from the ruins. You see how mushrooms can appear fully
formed over night.. in reality, they have been growing in hidden places
for many days before they appear.

Others will remain much like
they are, but their leaders will be free to bless what I am doing
outside their walls because they hear My voice. These ones will become
part of a new tent and a new chaordic network. I have many faithful children in existing structures.

I know that urban types kinda poke fun at suburban types.  But I love this post because of its hopefulness.  I used to love the City because I hated the suburbs.  Now I love the City because it is so blissfully messy and complex and dark, yet crying out for hope.  Things aren’t hidden there.  You can see people walking down the street, with their stories dangling behind them like a shadow.

An open post to my fellow techno-elites

June 27, 2005

It wasn’t long ago…about six or seven years or so…that I was almost a Luddite.  I hated the fact that so many people were using cell phones.  It seemed to me that the idea of making communication immediate and labor-free cheapened communication.  Instead of calling their spouses during their lunch break or before they leave work in order to touch base, couples began calling each other from stupid places like the grocery store or the video rental place (this was before Netflix).  At a moment’s notice, a guy can call his wife and ask "do you want me to pick up Moonstruck or Mermaids, honey? I forget."

I also noticed that people were no longer content with their desktops.  Many of my friends opted for laptops (something I thought were only for graduate students and computer industry professionals) or pdas.  I resisted, I really did.  I was one of the last people I knew to get a CD player (in fact, I had only had an 8 track player and a record player until my teens, and I am only 29).  I was bound and determined not to get sucked into shiney allure of new technology.  It happened quickly.  I think I started with a cell phone, and then I decided that it made sense to turn in my Day Planner for a simple PDA.  I got a hand-me down from a friend.  Then I started selling books online and realized that I could check prices better if I had a better PDA with a cellular modem attached for easy price-checking.  When I was considering going to seminary, I decided that I wanted to take notes in class, so I got a keyboard for my PDA (which was an HP Jornada).  This quickly proved to be inadequate.  Since I had a Pentium II 400Mhz computer, and it was 2002, I decided to get a laptop to replace my desktop.  The keyboard wasn’t powerful enough, so about a year or so ago, I replaced that with my Dell 5160 and also bought my wife a little Gateway 200 so she wouldn’t have to use mine.

Now I find myself desiring a more sleek and powerful laptop, as well as a more beefy cell phone with will effortlessly synch with Outlook 2003.  I also want to start podcasting, and find that TiVo would be swell…etc.  Currently, I feel pretty strong, self-assured that I won’t cave anytime soon on any of these (except maybe the cell phone). 

It is times like these that I remember that my heros are people like St. Francis, Rich Mullins, and Mother Theresa.  How can I follow Jesus in the margins while I am part of the techno-elite? Many of you whose blogs I read and who read my blog are probably all in the same boat.  We have the same desire to reach out and love like Jesus…the same desire to live faithfully.  But most of us, as evidenced by our blogging, are techno-elites.  We have loads of technology and go to churches that are perhaps tech-savvy.  Does this ever bother any of you, or am I alone in my self-doubt?

Of Illness and Mission

June 23, 2005

I’ve been sick for about a week. Normally it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it went into my lungs and turned into bronchitis.  This wouldn’t be a big deal either, except that I am currently uninsured.  My loving wife has been taking care of me, feeding me vitamins, nutritious drinks, medicine, etc.  I’ve also cut out dairy, sugar (besides fruit sugar), and gluten (more or less).  I actually am feeling much better.  Earlier this week, in the midst of illness, I went away to beautiful Bayfield, Wisconsin with my wife for our 8 year anniversary.  The trip was refreshing, but my illness kept us from walking around much.

On our trip back to Minneapolis, we stopped in Washburn, Wisconsin (population about 2000).  Lo and behold, they had a coffee shop/bookstore with WiFi!  From there, I sent an email to my fellow Missio Dei-ers.  I want to include part of the email I sent to them, followed by a question I’d like to pose to you, my blog friends (some internal comments that don’t appear in the original are in red):

brings up an important part of Missio Dei?s identity: neighborhood focus.  From
the beginning, we?ve talked about focusing our mission in Cedar/Riverside and
Seward [these are two neighborhoods in South Minneapolis that are our geographical focus].  But doing this isn?t easy.  We?ve struggled with how to be focused in a
neighborhood when most of us don?t currently live there.  For a while I encouraged people
to move, but after a while I stopped talking about it.  What the neighborhood
focus should look like has been in flux, since we are still in our infancy.  In
our last oversight meeting we struggled over the idea of how to keep a focus on
the neighborhood, while remaining realistic about the simple truth that most of
us don?t live in the neighborhood.  I want to make things abundantly clear to
everyone-in case their has been some confusion: unless God clearly tells us otherwise, we will not
make living in South Minneapolis a criteria for
.  However, we are struggling to find a way to make the
neighborhood a key part of our identity.  Please pray that we can find a way to
make neighborhood a part of our identity in a way that doesn?t exclude.  This is
something we?d like to discuss at our next oversight meeting.  My hope is that
we have a sort of community covenant and a church constitution that spells
things out by the fall.

Here is my question for y’all: What are some ways that a church can authentically focus on a neighborhood, without requiring all church members to live in that area?  Is it merely a matter of repetitively communicating the focus during public gatherings?  How should it be reflected in a community covenant or constitution?  What do you require of leadership?  How important is it to have a neighborhood focus in your eyes? How large of a focus area is too large? 

Please respond with any idea you have.  This isn’t one of those posts in which I already have an answer and I am just waiting to unveil it.  I covet your thoughts.

Quick Question about Missional Education

June 18, 2005

Are any of you, my readers, aware of any smaller-sized churches that have a solid approach to leadership training or theological education?  I don’t think training and education should always have to be out-sourced.

Call Me Crazy, But… (my response to Emergent’s Latest Press Release)

June 14, 2005

Today, Emergent announced that they are adapting to expand to their growing influence.  This means that they will be bulking up organizationally and naming Tony Jones as a full time director.  Read more about that here.

Now, before I launch into my critique, I want to share some of my thoughts regarding Emergent in general.  I used to be really cynical about them.  If you read my blog about Christian Kitsch, you’ll know why.  While there has always been a core to Emergent that I respect (its adventerously constructive approach to theology and ecclesiology), there have been some flavors among some who identify themselves with Emergent that are less than exciting–the INCREASED homogeneity, the sometimes willy-nilly slapping together of traditional elements into a sort of digitized frankenstein of pomo-sacramentalism, the over-reaction and over-rejection of established churches, etc.  Nevertheless, I have found the movement as a whole to be helpful and neccesary.  There is some good thinking coming out of Emergent, and I think the discussion has gotten better and richer over time.  I was getting more and more on board…more willing to engage and identify myself with Emergent…

But then today, they announced that they are beefing themselves up organizationally.  That might not seem like a big idea to most of you.  To me, however, this is a huge mis-step. 

Call me crazy, but I think the best thing for the emergent movement
is for it to de-centralize and dissipate. My argument is similar to an
argument made by Brian McClaren: the best thing for the Church is to
decrease attendence by sending people out. The emergent movement is
gaining influence. The ideas are reproducing like bunnies. I simply
don’t see what purpose it serves at this point to strenghten the
Center. Saying that Emergent is "a conversation" when it is
increasingly looking institutional isn’t a good thing. Fostering
conversation through a centralized conference seems to me to be a way
of making sure the conversation goes in the way that a handful of
leaders want it to go. Now, none of this would be a problem if the goal
was to start a nation-wide association of affiliated Emergent?
churches. If the goal is something more like an association or
denomination, then this is a good move. But if I were trying to foster
a movement that is supposed to be fluid, open, and evolving, I might start
with a central discussion forum or conference (as Emergent did). But
after people caught the flavor, I’d close up shop and let the movement
take over. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that the only reason to
bolster the organization and take advantage of new organizational
networks is to manage the conversation and make sure that it develops
towards a desired end-result. That isn’t an inherently bad thing to do,
per se, but it is no longer a conversation, and it isn’t exactly a
movement either. So as much as I’ve been growing to love the Emergent
conversation, I think we should be scattering rather than strengthening
the center.

really wonder if this is a huge mis-step. It seems like the typical
driving forces of American institutionalization are at work here. The
first step was brand-establishment. The second step is strenghtening
the company. THe third step is usually to cut out competition and


The Passion of the Batman, part 6

June 14, 2005

This is the sixth, and final, part of my homage to Batman.  Make sure you’ve read the five previous Batman posts before digging into today’s post. Tomorrow, Batman Begins opens in theaters nationwide.  I hope that my six part essay will help deepen your viewing experience. 


I have attempted to show that in the DarkKnight Returns, Frank Miller re-interprets the story and tradition of the Batman,
using Christian imagery in order to show the Batman as a messianic figure who
brings salvation to a world falling apart.
Miller?s use of religious imagery underscores his reformation of the
comic book genre. At this point, I want
to depart a bit from viewing the Dark
Knight Returns
through the lens of faith, and perhaps view our faith a bit
through the lens of the Dark Knight
. While it is outside the
main argument of this paper, I would like to briefly point to two things we can
learn from Miller?s work.

Contextualizing the Christ Narrative Afresh

I think much can be learned from
Miller?s approach to revising the Batman story. While remaining faithful to the entire Batman tradition, Miller is able
to add new elements which make the Batman?s story more compelling in our
generation. Geoff Klock writes,
“Batman?s (and Miller?s) struggle is not to control any villain but to master
preceding visions of himself and his tradition.”[1] The
Dark Knight Returns
is an exercise in revision. The particulars of the Batman don?t change-he
isn?t given a new costume, or a new name. Miller is able to change the meaning of the Batman by placing him in a
new context-making Miller?s work fundamentally an exercise in

While we most certainly must be
careful, in doing so, I believe Christians need to consider how we could learn
from Miller?s achievement and approach the gospel afresh. This is obviously fraught with danger, since
the Batman is merely a fictional character who exists for our entertainment,
whereas Jesus Christ is both historical and the object of our worship. But if we are faithful to both the story of
the gospels, as well as the past two thousand years of tradition, perhaps
theologians can tell the story afresh in new contexts. After all, isn?t this what each of the gospel
writers did? They each relay a message
that is fundamentally the same, yet unique-being shaped by the concerns of
their intended audiences.

This will result in greater
faithfulness-not less-for it requires us to engage the gospel before we
intentionally reinterpret it for our generation. Often, the gospel is reshaped unintentionally
by pragmatism or the felt needs of our society. We, like Miller, should go through this process intentionally, as to
make sure that our telling of the story is faithful to who Jesus Christ was and

Understanding the Conflict between the American Monomyth and the Gospel

indeed, the story of the Batman has become a mythic story in our culture-encapsulating
and expressing dominant cultural values-then we need to take the message of the
Batman seriously. In talking about the
American superhero myth, John Shelton
Lawrence and Robert Jewett write, “The connection of these superhero materials
with the American religious heritage illustrates the displacement of the story
of redemption. Only in a culture
preoccupied for centuries with the question of salvation is the appearance of
redemption through superheroes comprehensible. The secularization process in this instance did not eliminate the need
for redemption, as the Enlightenment had attempted to do, but rather displaces
it with superhuman agencies. Powers that the culture had earlier reserved for
God and his angelic beings are transferred to an Everyman, conveniently
shielded by an alter ego.”[2] For many, then, our cultural superhero myths
have taken on religious importance. This
isn?t to say that people worship the Batman-but it is to say that the Batman
expresses the new spiritual and religious sensibilities of our culture.

Frank Miller epitomizes this
sensibility when he writes, “I?m in love with heroes, not because I think there
are that many, or that there is any one
individual who could do what Batman does…but because I think we?re at our best
when we?re autonomous.”[3] One of the religious values which the Batman
incarnates is that of autonomy or self-sufficiency. Americans have traditionally valued rugged
individualism. And there is no character
more ruggedly individualistic than the Batman is. In this, he is distinctively American: “[In
comic books] the American Hero is portrayed as the lonely individual
confronting the forces of evil without support from a cowed or corrupt or
impotent community…”[4]

Another religious value embodied by
the Batman is his utilitarian use of evil and violence. Miller writes, “We?re not simple
creatures. We all have God and the devil
in us. Batman makes his devils work for
the common good.”[5] Miller wrote this long before 9/11…but this
sentiment could easily be said of the USgovernment in its response to
terrorism. How else could we justify a
pre-emptive military strike against Iraq-by definition and unjust act-unless we
felt that it were for the common good? Many Americans do unethical things because the “ends justify the
means.” While this sentiment isn?t
unique to our nation, it is perhaps prevalent enough to be considered a part of
the American ethos.

This ties in to my previous
statements about being intentional in our re-interpretations of the Gospel. If we aren?t intentional, than the traits of
the American monomyth (Batman is one of many incarnations of this myth), will
infuse our understanding of who Christ is. This, in itself, isn?t the problem. The problem is when the values infiltrating the gospel are
anti-Christian-which the Batman is. The
Batman secures justice by inflicting violence. Jesus secured justice for us by receiving it.

area in which I believe our values have infiltrated the gospel is the dominance
of the penal substitution view of the atonement. In our view of justice, where the question of
guilt is paramount, the guilty are displayed throughout the media as Americans
everywhere demand punishment for their heinous crimes. As the media has become more pervasive, so
has our cynicism. Evil things happen all
around us, and our desire for not only justice, but also punishment, grows.[6] It isn?t my aim to say the penal substitution
view isn?t biblical. I am saying,
however, that it isn?t the only approach to the atonement. Nevertheless, it is often presented by
evangelicals in this country as THE view of the atonement. As theologians, we need to reflect over how
much of our understanding of the faith is being shaped by values which are
antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Batman brings to light the cultural values which have been shaping
our understanding of the gospel.

[1] Klock,

[2] John S. Lawrence and Robert Jewett, The Myth of the American Superhero (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 44.

[3] “Batman
and the Twilight of the Idols”, 43.

[4] Leslie A. Fiedler, “Mythicizing the Unspeakable,” The Journal of American Folklore (Vol.
103, No. 410, Fall 1990), 391.

[5] “Batman
and the Twilight of the Idols”, 44.

[6] Joel B.
Green & Mark D. Baker, Recovering the
Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament & Contemporary
(Downer?s Grove:
InterVarsity Press, 2000), 24.

The Passion of the Batman, part 5

June 13, 2005

Make sure you check out my previous 4 posts on The Passion of the Batman before you jump into this one.  This is part of my ongoing homage to Batman in preparation for the release of Batman Begins on Wednesday.


Miller employs a variety of
religious imagery and symbolism in the
Dark Knight Returns
in order to add depth to his project. Because he set
out to transform not only the Batman, but also the comic industry, Miller has
woven messianic symbolism throughout his work to under-gird the rebirth of the
comic book genre. The genre must be
“born again” in order to be an adequate form of media for a new
generation. In order to re-forge what
has become a mythic story, he must use images and structures that are deeply
mythic as well.

The Dark Knight Returns consists of
four books-I was unable to find whether this intentionally reflects the existence of four gospels-which effectively recount the origin or “birth” of the Batman, and the later adulthood of Batman, focusing on the last season of the Batman?s life. The Batman?s later childhood and early adulthood are a mystery. His life is oddly reminiscient of the life of Christ as told in the gospels; we only have mention of his “birth,” and of his vigilante “ministry,” passion, and “resurrection.” I will develop this section of my project in intentional correspondence with the broad progression of the gospel narrative(s): starting with the problem of Gotham and its need for a savior, continuing with the Batman?s self-understanding as
the “anointed one.” Next, I will show how the Batman prepares to take up his cross, launching out to subvert the system, which would eventually cause his death. After “dying,” he will go down into hidden caves (sounds rather tomb-like), where the Batman will be reborn.

A Fallen World

Bruce Wayne is effectually forced out a retirement by the increasing moral and societal decay of Gotham City. The world is falling apart-it has fallen-and the Batman is the remedy. On page 12, we
can see someone holding up a sign which reads “we are damned.” The world of Bruce Wayne is damned, and it requires a savior-someone who can restore justice and order.

The salvation which the Batman offers has two facets. The first facet is order which the Batman brings directly. In his battle with Superman, we can read from the Batman?s internal monologue what sort of “salvation” he brings: “My parents…taught me…a different lesson…lying on the street-shaking in deep shock-dying for no reason at
all-they showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to.”[1] The Dark Knight Returns, along with its sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again (which tells about the Batman?s “second coming”) constantly flirts with fascism. The Batman attempts to utilize his superior abilities and insights to force society into a proper place. This is the salvation he wants to bring.

But there is a secondary type of salvation. This is the salvation which happens when ordinary citizens follow the Batman in his intolerance of evil. On page 90, we see an ordinary shop-owner defending an old woman from a would-be mugger. The world would be a better place, it would seem, if ordinary citizens would watch out for one another, thwarting evil and
injustice wherever we find it.

The Batman as Anointed One

The Batman feels that he is above the law. He seems aware of his high calling. Frank Miller writes: “I think that in order for the character to work, he has to be a force that in certain ways is beyond good and evil. It can?t be judged by the terms we would use to describe something a man would do because we can?t think of him as a man.”[2] And at times, it hardly seems the Batman is a man. On page 87, we read a sort of discussion between the man Bruce Wayne, and a bat (though, it would seem that it is much more than a bat). In this exchange, the reader is able to see into the thinking of the Batman-that he is called by some greater power, or a greater sense of destiny, to do what he
does. He has been set apart-chosen-for the task of redeemer.

Taking up the Cross

Immediately following a section of the story where Bruce Wayne yet again relives his parents? death, we see him struggling with his inner “bat.” In the end, the bat wins. On page 26, we can
see Wayne succumbing to the bat-to his destiny. The use of images here is worth noting. In what is the pivotal page in book one, we see Bruce Wayne gazing out the window, the cross-bars of the window making the unmistakable shape of a cross. Behind the cross is the silhouette of a bat. Bruce Wayne
embraces the cross-embraces his calling. He puts aside his misgivings and embarks upon the adventure that will lead to his “death.” Like Jesus Christ, the Batman?s ministry is initiated with baptism. On page 34, the Batman refers to the rain falling on his chest as a baptism-he is “born again.”

Subverting the System

The Batman?s “ministry” is one of subversion. On page 135, the subversiveness of the Batman?s calling is made clear. Superman, relaying the words of the Batman, says in internal monologue: “?Sure we?re criminals,? you said. ?We?ve always been criminals. We have to be criminals.?” It is part of the comic book genre for the superhero to operate outside the law. However, most superheroes have enjoyed a level of social acceptance-being tolerated by the authorities, often working WITH the
authorities. Superman is a perfect example of this. In the Dark Knight Returns, we see Superman working for the United States government to avert nuclear war. Superman and Batman are in stark contrast to one another. On page 190, we see the Batman?s disdain for the boy scout-ish approach of Superman: “You?ve always known just what to say. ?Yes?…to anyone with a badge-or a flag.”

Miller turns convention on its head in this book. Instead of making the Joker or Two Face-or some other criminal-the antagonist, it is Superman who plays that role. Superman embodies the “system” that has enabled the world to fall into chaos. Superman has become part of the problem. In the end of the story, they face off in combat-perhaps one of the great moments in comic history. Geoff Klock writes, “What makes Batman so different from Superman is that his character is formed by confronting a world which refuses to make sense.”[3] Superman is part of the establishment-and the Batman wants to turn the establishment upside-down.
This may be an innovation for the comic book genre, but it isn?t new. After all, the greatest adversaries of Jesus in the gospel accounts are the good guys-the perpetuators of the establishment-the Pharisees. The Pharisees had become pawns of Satan, as
Superman had become a pawn of the US government. In both cases, the messianic figure speaks
judgment and seeks to subvert the system that has become oppressive.

The Death of Bruce Wayne

In the final of four books, The Dark Knight Falls, the Batman stages his own death-dropping dead of a heart attack during combat with Superman (who he almost defeated). After his “death” (which was actually the masterful application of various chemicals that gave the Batman the appearance of death), all of Bruce Wayne?s possessions are either mysteriously destroyed or disappear (by this point everyone knows that Bruce Wayne is the Batman). All traces of Bruce Wayne and his fortune are gone. Bruce Wayne is dead…

The Batman, Immortal

But the Batman lives on. He takes a number of his “disciples”-led by his new Robin, into the caves beneath the rubble of Wayne Mansion (which Alfred, his butler, destroyed after Bruce Wayne died). The Batman spends years underground, apparently, while he trains his small army for the battle ahead, which takes place in The Dark Knight Strikes Again. And
so, the Batman is now immortal-at least through his new followers, the “Sons of Batman.”

[1] Frank
Miller, The Dark Knight Returns (New York: DC Comics,
2002), 192.

[2] Frank Miller, “Frank Miller: Return of the Dark Knight,” The Comics Journal 101. (August 1985), 61.

Raynolds, 67.

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