They picked a hell of a time to kill off a hero. Recession stalks the global economy. Woolworths has gone into administration. And Kilroy has just escaped from the jungle.
So what on earth was DC Comics thinking when it allowed the Scottish writer Grant Morrison to pen a storyline that ends with the demise of Bruce Wayne? As every comic fan will know, Wayne is the alter ego of the caped crusader: Batman.
It's certainly a blow, but don't give up hope. Remember that Batman has been in some pretty nasty scrapes in his 70-year crime-fightingcareer. He was turned into a figure of camp fun in the 1960s television show. His back was broken in the 1990s by a vindictive writing team.
So can the dark knight come back against the odds for a third time? Perhaps some advice from the new Business Secretary, one Peter Mandelson, might be in order. Send for the bat-phone!