ID: I'm sitting down with the Batman, billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne. He contacted me shortly after the passing of his friend and confidant, the late Superman, Clark Kent. To anyone live in a cave not inhabited by bats this last year, his identity was revealed by "accident" during an interview with Kent. Now, in quick succession, he has three revelations to share. Whenever you're ready, Bruce.
Batman: I'm quitting.
ID: You wear a lot of hats and cowls and such; care to elaborate.
B: Being Batman. I'm stepping down from it. My first Robin, who many of you will know better as Nightwing, will be stepping into the role.
ID: Now why is that? I understand why he'll be taking your place in the League, and even why he'll be assuming your place at the head of your impromptu bat “family,” but why not just leave it at that, let him still be Nightwing?
B: Vanity, I suppose. Because the Batman is my legacy, and I'd rather see it outlive me. But there's also other facets to that question. For example, why does Nightwing want to take the title and costume- because he does- and that's another reason why I want him to take over. And finally, because I think Batman matters. Not that Nightwing doesn't matter or hasn't, but I think Batman is symbolic, because there are people who Nightwing has been punching in the face his whole life who will still, for incomprehensible reasons, fear him more in a pointy-eared cowl.
ID: Okay, that's one. The second has to do with why you're quitting now.
B: I have AIDS. I've been living with the HIV virus for years, but recently the disease has progressed to the point of full blown AIDS. I'm still in physically good shape, but my immune system is compromised to the point where I would be a liability to my friends and colleagues if I did not relinquish my cowl.
ID: That's two down. The third revelation?
B: I believe I'm a homosexual. I've had long-term romantic relationships with women, and let me state unequivocally right now that each of those have been legitimate. The women I've dated I've cared for genuinely, and when I said I loved them, I meant it. Some might argue that that would make me bisexual, and, historically, I would agree, but I think, in light of all sorts of things, that I am and will continue into the foreseeable future to be a homosexual.
ID: And that brings us to our first official question of the interview: why are you here? You could have given a press conference, could have bought a giant laser and carved these three facts on the moon and signed it with a bat symbol, so why are you talking to me?
B: Mostly because I appreciated what you did for my friend. Despite your own inclinations, I think you dealt with him fairly, and tried to maintain his sense of dignity throughout. On the one hand, I think those qualities ought to be rewarded; on the other, I think I'd like to be similarly treated. But mostly, I think, it centers around one question: in a world without a Superman, who's going to notice that the original Batman's retired?
Really, this has been a long time coming. I've been sick for years, and been taking and trying all manner of treatments. But in that time I couldn't talk myself into giving up- I thought, and this was probably mostly vanity, that the world needed me. I think, in hindsight, I needed to be a part of the world far more.
Another factor is that the people who know me, my impromptu bat family as you called them, intervened. In a nutshell they told me that they've talked to doctors, and from this point on I'd be taking time off my life. I'm not exactly terminal, at the moment- people with AIDS can live relatively long, healthy, full lives, but if I continued to put the kinds of stresses being Batman does on my body, I'd be dead very soon- assuming that I wasn't done in prematurely by any number of the toxins several of my more colorful adversaries routinely make use of that my body is no longer equipped to fight. So basically we made a deal, whereby they would continue the work we've been doing so long as I retired.
ID: What was your other option?
B: I think they were going to taking turns kicking the hell out of me until I came to my senses.
ID: But do you think they could have? Aren't you the goddamned Batman?
B: I used to be.