Here's a question, and an idea (perhaps a crazy idea).
Has Batman ever been (or close to) unmasked in public?
If no, tell me what you think of this as a basic plot for a Batman story.
A new villain comes into town. He has studied Batman (not the way Bane did in Knightfall where he let all chaos loose), but by just using all information and data he could get access to. (How he manages to do that and with what resources is up to the writer I guess.) Then the villain finally strikes in a series of setups for the Batman. Leaving Batman gagdet-less and physically weak the two go at it.....and Batman does not come out on top. The villain has prepared to broadcast the demise of the Batman on air and promptly does so. The world now knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne. This would just be the lead in to a longer story which would hopefully answer some of the following questions:
What effect does the unmasking of Batman have on Bruce Wayne/Batman?
Does Batman continue to fight crime?
How do the villains react to this? A lot of have gotten close, and a couple of them know, but villains like the Joker have always stopped short of taking off the mask because the like the mysterious element.
How does this affect Wayne Corp?
What happens to those close to Bruce Wayne? He doesn't have a great deal of people close to him I'd say, but the few he has he holds very dear.
And what happens to guys like Commissioner Gordan? Does he continue to accept help from the Batman (assuming Bruce continues to keep Batman alive)?
A bunch of other questions about the psychological effects on the characters would be answered I would hope.
The biggest question would be I guess is how do you actually fix the unmasking?
Does Batman reach out to someone who can wipe the minds of everyone in the world?
Does Bruce Wayne use his money to fake his own death and use money to change his face? Would he still be the Batman if he did this only to try to convince the people that Batman and Bruce Wayne are/were not the same?
Keep in mind that Batman's unmasking would not be voluntary like Spiderman's.
What do you guys think? How would you handle a story like this?