[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Batman_The_Cult_1_cover_3303.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:"There's something ''very scary'' going on out there."]]

->''The Deacon [[BreakTheBadass broke]] me, Robin. He starved, drugged, and [[BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil tortured]] me... ''{{brainwashed}}'' me. Blackfire convinced me his ''twisted outlook'' on life was ''right''. I just wasn't ''strong enough'' to resist him.''
-->--'''Batman'''

''Franchise/{{Batman}}: The Cult'' is a 1988 four-issue mini-series written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, colored by Bill Wray and edited by Denny O'Neil. The series tell how a man, Deacon Blackfire, has created a secret underground cult in order to take over Gotham. He also kidnaps, drugs, and converts Batman in order to use him against the very city he swore to protect. After being missing for over a week, Robin (Jason Todd) infiltrates Blackfire's cult, rescues Batman, and escapes Gotham. After regaining their strength and upgrading their arsenal, they assault the cult-controlled Gotham to put an end to Deacon Blackfire's reign of terror. Facing Blackfire in an arena, Batman beats him into submission and turns the cult against him, resulting in Blackfire's death at their hands. With Blackfire dead, the cult quickly disbands, with Gotham returning to normal.

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!!This graphic novel provides examples of:
* BatmanGrabsAGun: Literally, where he and Robin literally machine-gun masses of cultists with {{Tranquilizer Dart}}s.
* BigBad: Deacon Joseph Blackfire.
* BloodierAndGorier: Than most Batman stories of the era.
* BloodBath: [[spoiler:Blackfire claims bathing in buckets of human blood is the secret to immortality.]]
* BreakTheBadass[=/=]{{Brainwashed}}: Deacon Blackfire turns Batman by torturing and drugging him. It's implied this is how he got most of his followers, given how quickly the cult breaks up after he's dead, and how most former members had no idea what they'd been doing under his command.
* CrazyHomelessPeople: It's not their fault, though.
* {{Cult}}: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin To be expected with a name like this.]] Essentially, Deacon Blackfire's cult believes him to be a messiah who was sent by God in order to help them change their ways and save them from destruction. In turn, they believe they're ''saving'' Gotham by destroying it, like a modern telling of [[Literature/TheBible Sodom and Gomorrah]].
* DarkMessiah: Deacon Blackfire.
* DisposableVagrant: When it becomes apparent that the homeless of Gotham have seemingly disappeared, one cop comments that he doesn't care where they went, just that they're gone.
* DontCreateAMartyr: Blackfire tries to get Batman to kill him in front of the cult for this reason. Batman instead beats him 'till he gives up, at which point the cult rips Blackfire apart.
* GenreSavvy: At the end, Batman sets fire to Blackfire's totem to destroy it and make sure that it can't be used if it's indeed mystical.
* HeroicBSOD: Batman has one after escaping from Blackfire's cult.
* {{Horror}}: Part PsychologicalHorror, part SurvivalHorror. It makes ''Comicbook/ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth'' look like a children's movie at times.
* HowWeGotHere: The first issue opens with Batman [[InMediaRes already held captive]] by Blackfire, with flashbacks showing how he was taken prisoner.
* KilledOffForReal: Blackfire stayed dead after the story. The closest he ever got to coming back was as [[BlackestNight a Black Lantern]]. [[spoiler: At least as far as the universe, pre-''Comicbook/{{Flashpoint}}'' is concerned, as he makes his return and Comicbook/{{New 52}} debut in ''Comicbook/BatmanEternal''.]]
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat: Done to Batman when he escapes into the sewer. Fortunately, Robin knows better.
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: Batman's defeatist attitude claiming there's no way to stop Blackfire is enough to leave both Robin and Alfred visibly disturbed.
* RoguesGallery: [[AvertedTrope Notably absent.]] Outside some brief hallucinations of the Joker and Two-Face, none of Batman's Rogues Gallery make any sort appearance, the story focusing more on Deacon Blackfire and his cult.
* SanitySlippage: As Batman's sanity breaks down, his hallucinations become more and more deranged.
* SinisterMinister: Blackfire.
* {{Tranquilizer Dart}}s: Batman and Robin use ''hundreds'' of them during their return to Gotham. They even use them in ''rifles and turrets''. Of course they all cause InstantSedation.
* TheUnreveal[=/=]MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: It's never made clear if Deacon Blackfire's just a con-man or something more. When records of a man named Blackfire show up from fifty years ago, it's hypothesized they could be for this Blackfire's father.