I really have been out of the comics scene for a long time. Seems like over the past couple of years I'll turn around and find out one of the old standards has finally met a challenge he couldn't overcome. It started many years ago with Superman, then, about two years ago, Captain America fell to an assassin. Just yesterday I was at the office chatting with Steve (who, beyond being my source for a good deal of Doctor Who news, is also a comic fiend of the first order), who informed me that Batman was dead.
Quite the shock for me. I collected comics up until about '93 (I still buy the odd title once in a blue moon) and had never been much of a Batman (or DC in general, for that matter) fan. Sure, I bought the Batman vs Predator crossover, but that's because I was collecting Predator comics at the time, more than any interest in the Caped Crusader. But even though I didn't collect him, I never thought Batman would get killed. Yeah, all bets were off for A-list superheroes when Superman was snuffed, but it never occurred to me that they'd do it to Batman.
At any rate, take a gander at Steve's site for some of his thoughts on Batman's fate and what DC has done with the Dark Knight's legacy afterward.