On the subject of a Batman timeline, how would you have Batman's journey 'end'? Personally, while I love, love, LOVE Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come and Batman Beyond; none of these are the endings I want for Bruce Wayne. I'd prefer something a little bit happier and more definitive. Maybe I'm naive and I'm missing the whole point of Batman, but that's just me.
I think that's an interesting question. I think it's got to involve the hanging up of the cowl and the prosperity of the Wayne family. Because the Batman story has become intrinsically tied to the Waynes as sort of an embodiment of Gotham City.
Okay, so I think the essential problem with the question of an end story is that if Bruce Wayne is still Batman at the end of the story, it's going to be tragic, or at least bittersweet. I think it's safe to say he didn't plan to be the ******* Batman his whole life. If he did, then we have a problem - the idea of a vigilante guarding the streets with upper eschelon military technology permanently
is a scary idea. He's supposed to be a stopgap, a way to enforce change while bringing the gears of reform into place until the city can sustain itself on its own. There was that briefly early period where it was just Batman punching thugs but then it developed into a multi-pronged assault on crime spearheaded by Gordon, Batman, and Dent. Then Dent went sour and masked lunatics started showing up, and all Wayne could do is ramp things up and devote himself solely to being the driven, merciless cop. So for a while, Wayne basically ceases to exist, and he's just The Batman, pumping iron all the time and then blowing all the adrenaline caving thug's faces in. Then he gets a kid along the way, and things mellow a little, and then everything starts to fluctuate, but eventually he basically just starts collecting a family, and the idea must have quickly settled in his mind that he's got a family now, and his goal has to be making a world where they can live better lives than he did. Sort of shades of the Godfather, with this idea of doing the dirty work so your kids can be doctors or lawyers or whatever. And so, with the tactical mind of Batman, there's been this ever evolving plan of grooming his surrogate family into a force that can rehabilitate Gotham. So Tim Drake goes away to college to study prelaw. Maybe with Stephanie Brown. I don't know much about the character, but her mom's a doctor, yeah? Maybe there's a whole era of Red Robin and Spoiler fighting crime in a college town.
Maybe she becomes the new Doctor Midnight. Anyway, Bruce Wayne takes Damien in, and the kid becomes the new Robin. Somewhere along the line, Wayne and Selina Kyle probably get together and with their kids, settle into something a little more resembling a family life. Gotham steps up the Major Crimes Unit to focus on dealing with costumed terrorism. They open up a strike team sister unit and Dick Grayson, after coming out as Nightwing, is taken on for his field experience. They aren't unwilling to use Gotham's costumes and former costumes as specialists and occasional contractors. Barbara Gordon steps in to command the sister branches in the department. Maybe the two get married or something. Harley Quinn starts the road to recovery, first doing rehabilitation work with henchmen, and eventually stepping up to take over Arkham Asylum. Her expertise and personal familiarity with the inmates makes her ideal. Less costumed vigilantes are appearing, with the older villains fading away to death, retirement, rehabilitation, or enforced asylum security. The highly trained division of GDCP is equipped to handle upstart costumes looking to fill the void. Batman starts appearing less and less, and Wayne more and more. After a lifetime of public defacing the family name, he begins to redeem the stature of the Waynes. Bruce Wayne proves himself to be a capable and progressive politician. Lucius Fox steps up to mayor, to be succeeded by Dep. Mayor Wayne. Somewhere in this period, Talia dies, probably 'cuz of her dad. Tim Drake makes his way through the criminal law circuit and steps up to DA. Damian Wayne takes on the identity of Red Robin and traipses around the city for kicks. Dick Grayson opens up a security company and starts training other international police and military organizations how to establish superhuman crime units. There's murmurs of Wayne cronyism with all of his associates established in various levels of government, but they effectively pick apart the Intergang organization in Gotham. Damian Wayne settles into the role of wanton playboy that Bruce Wayne filled, except he's not playing. He picks up the Batman identity and goes swinging around the world as an adventurer. Takes on a girl called Carrie Kelly as the new Robin. very bohemian. scandalously young! They infiltrate the League of Assassins, assassinate Ra's al Ghul, and Damian takes over. But he probably leaves someone else in charge, because sticking around would get boring. Maybe Cassandra Cain. The League softens into a brotherhood of monks, their stronghold perched on the mountainside of Nanda Parbat, as their protectors, selling themselves sometimes as mercenaries to righteous causes. The extended Wayne family (i.e. the Wayne-Kyle-Gordon-Grayson-Brown-Cain-Kane-Drake-Al-Ghul family) settle back into a role, essentially, of Gotham's patrons. In his late years, Wayne retires from political life and settles into a path of spiritual progress. The former Catwoman takes well to the riddles of high-level philosophy. Eventually they retire into the walls of Nanda Parbat for contemplation and aren't seen of after. Maybe they become the new patron gods of the City of Secrets, symbolized in the Bat and the Cat? Anyway, the extended Wayne family is prosperous, succeeding not with the hammer of established wealth and power, but through the shared lineage of dedication that founded the family. The various masks and costumes become like a personal mythology of the family, with the estended Waynes of generations upon generations taking on the various identities as crises or youthful boredom dictate.
Is that sugar-coated enough for you? Well? Is it?