While Batman periodically is forced into killing a villain, it's pretty uncommon...and as we've seen with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, there is a subset of Bat-fans who hate the idea so much that it will send them into a rage.
...So why does it look like Batman actually killed a kinda/sorta good guy and beloved DC antihero in this week's Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #4?!
Okay, last warning for SPOILERS AHEAD.
During a battle against Maxwell Lord's Suicide Squad, it fell to Batman to stop Lobo from killing Amanda Waller.
After a series of pages in which the Caped Crusader prevented the Main Man from actually accomplishing his objective, but Lobo continually moved incrementally closer to taking out Waller once and for all, finally Batman told Lobo that the Czarnian bounty hunter had left him no choice.
He injected Lobo with one of the Suicide Squad's brain bombs, and detonated it, blowing up Lobo's head in a gruesome splash page that seemed to have left the '90s staple dead.
...So why aren't we buying it?
First and most obvious, Lobo is actually solicited as part of Steve Orlando's forthcoming Justice League America title. That could easily be a misdirect, but it would be a baffling one. The only reason to issue a misleading solicitation three months in advance would be to protect a major plot secret (such as when DC killed Bart Allen but continued to solicit his comic so that people didn't realize he was going to die). Done right, the death of Lobo could qualify as a sufficiently big deal, but it doesn't seem as though DC is marketing the book that way, so it seems more likely that somehow or other, Lobo finds his way to recovery.
How? Well, the generally-accepted way that healing factors work in comics is that the body can sustain truly incredible amounts of damage as long as the brain remains intact enough to keep life function going.
Somebody like Lobo, an over-the-top character with frankly absurd levels of power, could easily prove immune to even the destruction of his brain...
...and in case you're new to the character and didn't realize that Lobo has a rapid-effect healing factor, Deadshot fired a massive cannon at the character just a couple of pages prior, resulting in the total destruction of Lobo's left arm as well as big chunks taken out of his right arm, his left leg, his head (yes, even the brain area), and more. His jaw was hanging loose. Literally two panels later, before he finished his slog across the room, Lobo was back to 100%.
When Lobo's head is blown off, we don't get another clear shot of whatever wrecked remnant of it is still on his shoulders. There's a wide shot, but there's a column of smoke coming up from Lobo's neck area, and moments later, Maxwell Lord is making a play for a weapon that makes him incredibly dangerous, so everyone leaves the room running.
Will we see Lobo back in action early next week? It seems likely...but if not, expect plenty of controversy around not only the decision to bring back "classic" Lobo just to kill him off, but also the move to have Batman be the one to kill him rather than Waller or another Suicide Squad member.
Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #4 is in stores today. You can get one at your local retailer or buy a digital copy at ComiXology...and when you go, check out the cover for Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #6, just recently "declassified," which seems to give a definitive answer as to Lobo's fate.