Wow. If I had to summarize the issue in one word, it would be "Wow".
Going into it, I was expecting surprisingly little because I felt that Whatever Happened to the caped Crusader #1 was pretty medicore for my taste. Not a whole lot of answers or questions to the end game for Batman, and because it was coming from a writer that I loved, I was going to chock this issue up to another great writer writing an okay comic book run.
After reading this issue, I want to go back in time and push myself in the face for thinking that someone like Gaiman didn't have an appropriate plan.
The issue is fantastic. In this one comic, so many great Batman moments are relived while at the same time something truly great is revealed about the essence of the character and why we love the caped crusader so much. Gaiman's pacing for the issue is superb. Every little moment and bit of dialogue is necessary, and every panel is paced in just the right way that the impact of each word can be absorbed. And when you finally read the "Goonight, Batman" story, you do feel like the impact of the death of Bruce Wayne and more importantly, the death of Bat-Man.
But the writing isn't everything. Andy Kubert draws Neil's words perfectly, and not only shows some of his greatest work in his own style but pays homage to some of the greatest Batman artists of all time--Dave Mckean, Jim Lee, and Bob Kane just to name a few. My previous Neil and Andy book was 1602, which made me realize how great comics can be, and now this two-issue run makes me realize just how necessary a great relationship is needed between artist and writer for a book to excel.
There are many definitive Batman stories out there. Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader will forever be amongst them.