Comic Book: Batman Eternal

Your allies have been slaughtered. Your city is burning to the ground. I have taken everything from you, piece by piece. Watch, Bruce... Watch as you lose everything.

A typical case for the caped crusader goes horribly wrong when a gunshot from Commissioner Gordon hits an electrical transformer and causes a high-fatality, head-on collision between two subway trains. Gordon is quickly blamed for the event and thrown into Blackgate Prison, but a suspicious Batman soon discovers evidence suggesting that not only was the commissioner framed but that his framing was just part of a far, far bigger scheme by a mysterious villain who seems to be determined to utterly destroy Gotham itself. As the mysteries begin piling up and foes old and new start rearing their heads, the various members of Batman Inc. will have to band together in order to stop this deadly conspiracy, but is it already too late and is there anyone left in Gotham for the Batfamily to trust?

Batman Eternal is a weekly comic-book series running from 2014 to 2015 in the New 52, focusing on the eponymous Caped Crusader, his supporting cast and his Rogues Gallery. Released to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Batman, the series plot was developed by popular writer Scott Snyder one of his proteges, James Tynion IV, with a cadre of other creators conrtibuting to individual issues Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, John Layman and Tim Seeley. Not to mention a veritable army of pencillers, inkers, colorists and letterers added to the fray.

The storyline was also the unique feature of a Flash Forward in Batman #28, which teased the return of Ensemble Darkhorse Stephanie Brown.


This Comic Book storyline contains examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Catwoman combines this with a gender-flipped Man of Wealth and Taste look as the kingpin of Gotham crime.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zigzagged by Cluemaster; while he was caught and outsmarted by his daughter multiple times, he managed to mastermind the entire plan simply by removing Jim Gordon from his position, and having the rest of Batman's top villains go wild on the city by sending them invitations to do so.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Crystal Brown is apparently getting this, since she's apparently willing to sell out her daughter to her ex-husband, who had just tried to kill Stephanie, whereas in previous continuity she cared a lot for her daughter. Later subverted when she claims she had no idea he would try to take it that far, but it doesn't excuse the fact that it nearly got her killed.
    • Jason Bard is revealed to have undergone this as well, feeling that Batman is somehow responsible for his partner getting killed by an imitator.
  • Abusive Parents: Cluemaster is... not a good dad for Spoiler. Her mom isn't so good either, though she claims that she had no idea he would take it that far and try to kill her.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Hush and someone else, likely Lincoln March, take over the Batcave, tie up Alfred, and kick out Julia.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The Joker's Daughter has developed an obsession with removing peoples arms. They wind up being used as part of a ceremony involving Blackfire.
  • And I Must Scream: See "Fate Worse Than Death" below.
  • Back for the Finale: Batwoman returns to help the Bat-Family in issue 52. Along with Talon, Black Canary and Katana.
  • Badass Boast: By the state police in issue 24, to Arthur Brown.
    "You're six miles outside Gotham, sweetheart. You're in state custody, not Gotham. And you don't own us."
  • Badass in Distress: Stephanie is kidnapped by her father in Issue 48. She escapes in the next issue.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Stephanie pulls this on her own dad in issue 24, getting him captured by the State Police six miles out of Gotham and their jurisdiction (and, thus the ability to get out a free man by pulling the right strings).
    • And it turns out her papa's entire plan ran on this trope, using the fact that he was a literal nobody to get away with everything. However, Lincoln March kills him when he felt that he missed the entire point of his plan.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: Catwoman breaks up a dog fighting ring in #23. The ring sometimes pits exotic animals against the dogs and this time were using an endangered leopard.
  • Bedlam House: Arkham, just for a change. But this time around, it's somehow managed to get even creepier, with Professor Milo in charge, patients being dragged out of their cells, and the insane cult in the basement. Oh, and the Joker's Daughter running around.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Since Kingpin!Catwoman seems to refute her and Batman's old school Foe Romance Subtext and Dating Catwoman status quo, their relationship is more this and Friendly Enemy; she refuses to take his crap about her new job and explicitly tells him "No more Double Entendres" while choking him with her whip, but helps him find Stephanie Brown.
  • Beneath Suspicion: The Big Bad was Cluemaster, who Batman had dismissed as a "second rate Riddler knock-off" previously. In fact, he counted on this, taking in other C-list villains such as Lock-Up, Ratcatcher, Prankster, and Signalman to cause the most chaos, with nobody, not even Batman, believing he could possibly be the mastermind or the main problem.
  • Big Bad: The person manipulating Batman's Rogues Gallery and the GCPD, which has so far been assumed to be Carmine Falcone, Hush, the Riddler, and even Ra's Al Ghul by Issue 46, who were all simply invited. It's Cluemaster.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Spoiler, in issue 52, saving Batman from Lincoln March.
    Spoiler C'mon, don't you recognise me? I'm Batman!
  • Bigger Bad: Lincoln March was manipulating the Big Bad as a Man Behind the Man, pushing him through his humongous Batman Gambit, only to pull off a Hijacked by Ganon when he realizes that Cluemaster wanted to become one of the all-time greats and not some unknown nobody.
  • Body Horror: Does not begin to describe what Batwing and Corrigan find underneath Arkham. But special note goes to the weird stuff in the air Batwing identifies as being human spinal fluid.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Cluemaster could have just shot and killed Batman while he was chained to the Bat-signal, and later monologues before he tries to shoot him. After they fight, he pulls his gun and prepares to finish the job, but Lincoln March steps in and slashes his throat. Though to be fair, Bruce hadn't gotten any sleep for more than a day and had been running himself ragged for even longer, had gotten his chest cut open, and was barely capable of standing.
  • Break the Cutie: Stephanie Brown goes through the wringer, starting from issue 3.
  • Breakout Character: Harper Row and Stephanie Brown are both intended to be this; Harper is finally going to become a superhero herself, while Steph's entire role in the story is intended to 'bring her more fans than ever before'.
  • Brick Joke: When Corrigan comes calling, Alfred complains that his presence fogs up every mirror in the mansion. Several issues later, Alfred is briefly seen valiantly trying to clean a fogged-up mirror.
  • Call Back:
    • Dr. Darrk eventually appears, still analyzing Death Man for Ra's Al Ghul, as he was at the end of Talon. He's having no luck with it, on account of Death Man being completely insane, and Ra's has written the whole affair off.
    • In the endgame, Joker's Daughter holes herself up in the same circus the Joker dragged Commissioner Gordon to. Batgirl, the one going after her, is understandably pissed at this.
  • Cardboard Prison: Averted by the GCPD now... because Commissioner Forbes isn't even locking Falcone's men up anymore, or anyone Batman captures, including people like Professor Pyg.
    • Bard gets around this by having Vicki Vale around, knowing that the moment they're let out it'll be all over the papers that Falcone's men are running the department.
  • Car Fu: Stephanie Brown hits Hush with her motorcycle. He gets up immediately.
  • Cassandra Truth: Stephanie Brown's role in the plot chiefly revolves around people not believing anything she says about Cluemaster. This begins with her resolving to become the Spoiler to expose him directly, but extends to the point that she's the only one who really knows what is going on in Gotham City, and it's only the fact that she gives a USB stick full of evidence to Vicki Vale that anybody else has any proof she isn't just kidding herself and over-emphasizing a comparatively small problem compared to A-list villains like Hush.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: While it already happened in the reboot thanks to Executive Meddling, Cassandra Cain's lack of presence in the Bat-books becomes far more blatant by issue 20-21 when the Architect from Gates Of Gotham makes his return. Given Cass's role in the story (especially at the timenote ), it raises the question of what happened if she wasn't there. Of course, Batman is the one who reacts with shock upon seeing him, despite not even being a player in the story, so exactly what happened is a mystery.
  • C-List Fodder: Exploited Trope. See The Dog Was the Mastermind and Beneath Suspicion.
  • The Commissioner Gordon:
    • Deconstructed Trope: His existence as a known aid to a vigilante puts James Gordon in prison without bail as he waits for his trial for manslaughter in Issue 4.
    • Defied with Bard, who Batman opts to work loosely with after he arranged for Penguin to find Carmine, which led to the death of several men. Batman doesn't kill or allow people to be killed and doesn't trust him.
      • And then, Bard becomes the new Commissioner, and while he doesn't trust him, Batman is willing to work with him; unknown to Batman, however, is that Bard is secretly working to undermine him and help Hush take control of Gotham. Once he figures this out and Bard ties to kill him, no one wants to work with Bard willingly. Not even his men.
  • Continuity Snarl: Ra's mentions the chasm Batman threw him into at the end of his hunt for Damian's body, but there is no sign of Damian in the story, despite Robin Rises occurring afterwards.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Cross-continuity, that is. Upon the reveal of Blackfire as a major villain, the death of said villain in Batman: The Cult is gone over by Vicki Vale's newspaper in summary for new readers.
    • There is mention of Nightwing's "death" from Forever Evil when Batgirl talks to Red Hood.
    • When fighting Mister Freeze, Batman utilizes heat gauntlets like the ones he had when fighting him in his first New 52 issue or Arkham Origins.
    • In Issue 46, several of the other "Batmen" are shown, including the older Bruce from the Kingdom Come universe and various successors Terry Mcginnis, Damian Wayne, and Dick Grayson.
  • Continuity Porn: Since it's meant as a celebration of Batman's 75th anniversary nearly every major and minor character in the Batman mythos plays some role in the story, including obscurities like Road Runner and Ten-Eyed Man.
  • Corrupt Politician: Mayor Hady is finally directly identified as one in Issue 2 by his "kingmaker" Carmine Falcone.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Batwoman brought anti-hypnotizing lenses and fear gas, just because she might have ran into the person responsible for Jim Gordon seeing things and uses it to make him talk.
    • There are at least six different ways to escape the Batmobile, which comes in handy when Bard takes over the car.
  • Darker And Crazier: Hush's obsession with Bruce Wayne has gone Up to Eleven, as seen in the flashbacks of Issue 26.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Subverted. Falcone tells Tiger Shark to get rid of a guy he's talking to. Tiger Shark asks whether he means get rid of him or "get rid of him". Falcone states he just means show the guy out.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Cluemaster gets his throat slit by Lincoln March minutes after learning Bruce's identity as Batman.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Tiger Shark, who's working for Carmine Falcone.
  • Dirty Cop: By the time of Batman #28, the nightly patrols of GCPD officers either beat you to a pulp for breaking curfew, or escort you to an illegal nightclub. Invoked by Mayor Hady and Carmine Falcone when looking for a new Commissioner of Police. The man they choose is perfectly aware of who the latter is and what he wants, and has no hesitation in turning the police department into just another cog in The Roman/Carmine Falcone's war on masks.
    • Somewhat subverting the norm, when the Obviously Corrupt Forbes takes the reigns of Commissioner, most of the unnamed officers and SWAT unit appear to follow his example, but mostly due to Just Following Orders. When given the chance to defy him, they willingly support Jason Bard's Batman Gambit to force Forbes into charging Falcone's men, and expose himself as corrupt to give them the evidence to take him down.
  • Dirty Coward: Forbes again. When briefly kidnapped by one of Falcone's men to take him to Falcone, and when he gets there and Falcone is displeased with him, he is clearly terrified.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The ending of issue 50 reveals Cluemaster of all people orchestrated the whole scenario. The following issue confirms he was exploiting this, bringing in bigger and bigger villains so that Bruce would reach higher for villains to be in charge of this without thinking down to the C and D listers who are the real masterminds.
  • Double Take: Tim's reaction to meeting Julia Pennyworth, and learning who her father is.
  • Empty Shell: Maxie Zeus reappears as one of these. Perfect for a case of Demonic Possession at the hands of Deacon Blackfire.
  • Enemy Mine: Batman and Killer Croc, as well as Jason Bard, team up to save a little girl named Jade from becoming a Human Sacrifice.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jason Bard was clearly angry with Hush when he realized that Hush had ordered him to send his men to an area that Hush intended to destroy by setting off the explosives in one of Batman's caches, killing the two officers. Hush made it clear to Jason that he had no choice but to do what he said in the matter by shattering a glass bottle and threatening him with it.
  • Evil All Along: Jason Bard isn't the honest cop he appeared to be; in actuality, he's working with Hush to get rid of Batman. He eventually has a Heel-Face Turn when he realizes the city needs Gordon, though.
  • Evil Plan:
    • Someone manipulates Gordon, a henchman, and the subway trains under Gotham to make it appear that Gordon opened fire on an unarmed man, hit an electric box and somehow caused two trains to collide head-on. Gordon is then arrested and removed from being Commissioner of Police. It's a minor villain who is responsible using tech derived from the Mad Hatter, but he's killed by a knife that links to Carmine Falcone, who states it was someone else pulling the strings. Bard is also working for Hush, who is working for the same person who got Falcone to return to Gotham.
    • The Flash Forward at the end of the first issue implies this will somehow lead to Bruce Wayne, unmasked and with the bat-symbol carved into his chest, tied to a broken batsignal while Gotham burns. It's stated in Issue 3 that Cluemaster, Lock-up, and two other minor villains are working for someone who might be manipulating everyone, even possibly Falcone and Batman, to take over Gotham. In Issue 10, Falcone hints that someone else was behind him deciding to go back to Gotham and in Issue 21 outright states that he was invited to do so and shows Batman the card. In Issue 34, it's revealed that Hush is also working for the as of yet-unknown Big Bad.
  • Evil vs. Evil:
    • The man behind Gordon's disgrace specifically mentions that he'll be targeting the Penguin as well as Batman. By issue #7 he's destroyed Penguin's casino and legacy.
    • The chronologically later Batman #28 implies that Catwoman, as the new leader of Gotham's underworld, has mutual enemies with Batman, inclining her towards being a Friendly Enemy in spite of her proclaimed withdrawal from the Villainesses Want Heroes trope.
    • And as it turns out, Bard taking down Falcone was this as well.
  • Expospeak Gag: Tim Drake uses this to say Harper is a pain in the ass.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The Bigger Bad got this. Lincoln March is captured by Court of Owls and is being put into a coffin with cooling tech similar to one that sustained Talon in Batman's cave... this tech completely paralizes him, but he still can see, and hear, and think... and they joke that they may return to him, in a decade or so. Bonus points to horror: as a child, Lincoln was paralized and tormented to see world, while unable to move... and he is going back to this state, only in eternal darkness.
  • False Reassurance: The Penguin is introduced pulling this on one of his casino workers, who let her brother take some money from the casino. She pleadingly asks him not to hurt her brother. Penguin smiles and says he won't... because he already fed the guy to his shark a few hours ago.
  • Fascists' Bed Time: Martial law and a curfew is declared in issue 26.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: In-Universe. Cluemaster's choice of colors for his outfit are given an annoyed Lampshade Hanging by his daughter, Stephanie Brown.
    Stephanie: (about bloggers commenting on her information regarding Cluemaster) ...making fun of his costume... I mean, orange and blue, dad? Really?
    • With his reveal as the Big Bad, one wonders if this was intentional to make people underestimate him.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • Batgirl gets the same hypnotic treatment as her father and sees Batwoman and Red Hood as Joker and her insane brother. Red Hood snaps her out of it.
    • In #42 The sidekicks end up getting mind-controlled by Mad Hatter to try and get Bluebird, but she manages to snap them out of it.
  • First Name Basis: In Issue 25, Batman shows that he and Hush are on this, with them calling each other Tommy and Bruce respectively. Pretty much justified given the latter's history.
  • Foregone Conclusion: There are several status quo changes that have been reflected in the monthly Batman titles, before they were revealed in Eternal.
    • Anyone who's read Batman #28 knows that Selina, not Carmine Falcone, will gain control of the Gotham underworld and that Harper will become Bluebird.
    • The newly launched Arkham Manor book suggests that Bruce will lose the Wayne Estate to the city, and that Arkham Asylum was destroyed.
    • Alfred seems healthy and happy as of Batman #35.
    • Gordon is out of prison as of Batman #36, though is unknown whether he's the Commissioner again or not.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The new Kingpin of Gotham's casino is called the Egyptian. There's two giant statues of cats in the background. As shown in Batman #28, it's Catwoman.
    • In an early issue, Harper is poking away at Tim's network on her computer, which has a blue bird sticker on the back.
  • Frameup: Hush sets off explosives at the various weapon caches Batman has around to frame him and Wayne Enterprises for it.
  • Friendly Enemy: Zigzagged and downplayed; Bane and Alfred appear to have developed a healthy respect for each other during issue 31, despite never fighting directly.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Harper Row. She manages to make a field around herself to nullify the nanobots and rescue the others when they are "possessed" by them.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • The Riddler has already figured the whole conspiracy out and refuses to take part in it because he knows he'd be just a pawn to be exploited and then thrown away like Falcone and Hush.
    • Cluemaster does not try to fight Batman directly, only confronting him directly after he has exhausted himself, and uses his status as a C-lister and some blank letters to get Batman's biggest villains going to Gotham while he remains Beneath Suspicion.
  • Glassy Prison: After capturing Hush, Batman imprisons him in a transparent cell in the Batcave, presumably so he could keep an eye on him in case of escape. Unfortunately, being Hush, he escaped anyway. He later imprisoned Alfred in the same cell to make him watch him attempt to destroy the Batfamily and Julia, but Alfred, having his voice and codes in the Batcave's systems, manages to override it the minute Hush is preoccupied and turn the tables on him.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Killer Croc has become a defender of the poor and destitute, and even helps Batman and Jason Bard solve the murder of a vagrant. This heroic streak extends to the point of helping Batman to capture Bane, who had been planning to attempt to kill him, instead of killing Bane himself.
  • Heel Realization: Jason Bard has one eventually.
  • Helpful Hallucination: Alfred has one of his former lieutenant in Issue 31.
  • He's Back:
    • Carmine Falcone, and Deacon Blackfire return as villains. The former was killed by Two-Face in previous continuity, and the latter had a single (though beloved) storyline back in the 1980's. The former is more of an example in-universe, however, since he's getting revenge for being taken out of power, while the latter is out-of-universe.
    • Cluemaster, Hush, and Lock-up also return, and non-villainous characters such as Stephanie Brown, Jason Bard, and Julia Pennyworth join them.
    • In an example that is more just within the continuity of the New 52 itself, this storyline shows the Batfamily (sans Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne) coming back together for the first time since Death of the Family.
    • In issue 51, Lincoln March reappears, ready for a rematch with his "brother".
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In a meta sense. The last antagonist the story introduces is Lincoln March, Batman's first arc villain introduced in the New 52, though it is foreshadowed. He reveals that he did so because he felt that the Big Bad, the Cluemaster, missed the entire point of his plan by trying to become a big shot instead of getting away with it all as a nobody.
  • Hollywood Acid: When Batman releases acid to destroy a weapons cache, it eats away everything almost instantly, including the metal.
  • How We Got Here: The story opens on "The End", where Bruce is chained to a broken Bat-Signal with the bat-logo carved into his bare chest as the city burns around him and the Big Bad(Cluemaster) taunts him.
  • If I Can't Have You: Hush's whole motivation is that if he can't have Bruce Wayne's life, he will do anything he can to make it miserable.
  • I Have No Son:
    • Inverted to I Have No Father: this is what Selina says about her father Rex Calabrese, the Lion, who formerly ran Gotham's crime syndicates before Falcone and Penguin.
    • Stephanie later says the same thing as Selina.
  • Insistent Terminology: Arthur Brown keeps trying to say that he is not to be called Arthur, but rather Cluemaster. Nobody listens. This is probably the point, as seeing him as a joke was likely agreed upon between the villains to keep up the plot.
  • The Insomniac: By the time of the finale, Batman's gone several days without sleep, not helping his stress-induced temper.
  • In the Blood: Rex Calabrese, and later his daughter Selina, are both crime bosses in Gotham.
  • Just Between You and Me: The Big Bad, Cluemaster, indulges in this in Issue 51, wholeheartedly believing that with Bruce beaten down and weakened by so much of a Kansas City Shuffle, he can do so. However, unfortunately for said Big Bad, the monologuing left him distracted, and open to get a Slashed Throat from Lincoln March before he could avert Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Invoked and defied by The Riddler, who didn't accept his "invitation" to Gotham's destruction because he wants to beat Batman when he's at his finest, not when he already has a plethora of other villains going for his throat. Later on, Ra's al Ghul is shown adapting a similar philosophy.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: In issue 32, two several people, including police officers, are killed by an explosion.
  • Kill It with Fire: Come issue 50, and Firefly is running around the city, burning everything in range. This results in most of the city being on fire by the next issue.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After his plan to destroy Batman fails, Lincoln March flees into the sewers, only to be found by the Court of Owls, who promptly put him in a coffin.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Carmine Falcone shows up in Issue 2, and Julia Pennyworth does in Issue 9. Even later than that, there's Cluemaster being the Big Bad, and Lincoln March The Man Behind the Man.
  • Let Me Get This Straight: Played for Laughs in Issue 25 with Julia Pennyworth commenting on the dinosaur animatronic in the Batcave.
    Julia: Let me get this straight. You just made a decision one day... "oh, my twelve-year-old-boy daydream of a base isn't rad enough. I have to get myself a dinosaur."
  • Like Brother and Sister / Platonic Life Partners: Tim and Harper appear to become this, considering how Tim dismisses Jason's comment that she's cute, the two never appear to be affectionate and the very sibling-like way Harper teases Tim on his Meet Cute moment with Steph.
  • Letter Bomb: Cluemaster delivered one to Stephanie's friend's home, which killed her, and likely everyone else there.
  • Loophole Abuse: The new Commissioner said to not arrest anyone captured by Batman. Said nothing about leaving them there until they can get free themselves, which Harvey Bullock does.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Hush is confirmed to be this to Jason Bard in Issue 32. Someone else entirely is revealed to be this to Hush in Issue 34. It's Cluemaster.
    • With Lincoln as the man behind him.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Bard's entire rampage against Batman is because an untrained imitator kept popping up and ended up getting his partner, Jodie, killed.
  • Mission Control: Alfred to Batman. Later on Julia takes his place.
  • The Mole: Jason Bard.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: While investigating in Brazil, Red Hood admits that his Portuguese is rusty and that he might have just called the boy he was questioning a small horse. He had, but he managed to get the gist of his question across.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In previous iterations of the character, Jason Bard has a knee injury, and was a love interest to Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. In Eternal, he receives his injury at the hands of a very angry Batgirl while trying to keep him from dying.
    • There is shown to be a smaller Batcave under Arkham Asylum.
    • During a Dr. Darrk induced hallucination, Bruce sees Terry McGinnis and Damien as Batman when Ra's speculates who might be Batman should he die.
  • Nerves of Steel: Batman. For an example:
    Julia: Batman. There are thirty-one police officers training their guns on you.
    Batman: Thunderclap Auriga.
    Batplane releases a sound which breaks glass, and has all the cops clutching their hands to their ears.
    Julia: I'm not even going to be amazed anymore. Alright?
  • Never Found the Body: Lampshaded by Signalman in Issue 40.
    "Do you see a body? In this town, you learn not to assume anything."
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Falcone's actions allow Professor Pyg to go free, and he goes on to kill at least one of Falcone's super-villain underlings on his rampage.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Catwoman leans against Batman and stretches her arms in a blatant flirtation. Batman simply looks away. And the irritated look on her face is hilarious.
  • Not Me This Time:
    • Killer Croc didn't eat the face off a body in the sewer since it was someone who he was protecting. Turns out to be a zombie from Arkham Asylum.
    • Ra's, when Batman confronts him, explains he's not behind everything since he'd much rather destroy Bruce at his height, rather than breaking him utterly.
  • Not So Different: James Gordon Junior reappears to tell his father this.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Zig-zagged: While Cluemaster, Signal Man, Ratcatcher, and Lockup might not be regarded as the best villains, when they start working together, they're screwing up everything from the water systems, to the traffic lights. All as part of the Big Bad's plan to make things more unstable and people more and more angry. Then played utterly straight when it's revealed that Cluemaster is the Big Bad.
  • Obviously Evil: As a standout example, Jack Forbes shows how much of a Dirty Cop he is and all of his immoral, anti-Batman behavior pretty early on, so much to the point that pretty much everybody in the GCPD knows he's up to something. This allows Bard, who is also corrupt and working toward far higher aims, to easily become Commissioner himself with no suspicion until Issue 25.
  • Offing the Offspring: Cluemaster's first real act of note in the New 52 is to try and execute his unfortunate daughter with a Hand Cannon. Of course she escapes to play spoiler on his plans.
    • And then it turns out her mother is working with him (though she later claims she didn't think he would go that far). Poor Stephanie....
  • Oh, Crap: Several:
    • Batman and Catwoman's reaction to Carmine Falcone's return.
    • Penguin when the above mentioned villain is revealed to be attacking him on all fronts before he's ready.
    • The cops loyal to Gordon experience this and some Heroic BSOD when Forbes is revealed as Commissioner. It's a bit less fear and more outright shock, since they realize exactly what this means for the department during the gang war.
    • Stephanie's reaction to seeing her dad and his 'friends' in costume, and Arthur's reaction to his daughter walking in on him planning his plans. Both are pretty shocked and realize things are about to get pretty shit.
    • Bane, of all people, has one when he's ambushed by zombies inside Arkham.
    • Stephanie as she's pursued by the GCPD and earlier when she found out she had an enormous bounty put on her head.
    • Bruce when he learns that Hush accessed his computer files during the time he broken in and knew where all his spare weapons were to use on the city.
    • Rex Calabrese when he realizes that the costumed villains were being given things to "soup them up."
  • OOC Is Serious Business: It's easy to tell just how serious the situation has gotten by the time of Batman Issue 28 from the fact that Selina Kyle openly averts the Dating Catwoman trope with Batman.
  • Opt Out: Ra's was invited by the main villain to take part in the conspiracy. He declined, and burnt the invitation.
  • Pineapple Surprise: Stephanie Brown does this to her father the Cluemaster in #3; pulling the pin on one of the smoke canisters hanging on his costume when he tries to shoot her.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Batwing starts the Lord's Prayer for help in Issue 30 out of desperation as Arkham Asylum collapses around him. Noticeable, as he didn't believe in magic, and possibly religion of any sort before he worked with Jim Corrigan, and explicitly said he doesn't deal with the supernatural... until this point.
  • Prison Riot: Marcus Row instigates one when he sells information that one of Carmine's people killed one of Penguin's.
  • Properly Paranoid: Lampshaded by Julia, though it's not finished.
    It's not paranoia if everyone's really out to-
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Spectre, par for the course. When he finally comes out of Jim Corrigan to deal with a threat, Joseph Blackfire's resurrection, which was in danger of a full on hell breakout, he deals with it with such calm that it's evident that he barely considered him more than a fly.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Carmine Falcone leaves Gotham in Issue 21.
    • Lincoln March is captured by the Court in Issue 52 and frozen solid, with them saying they might let him out in a decade or so.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Tim and Jason realize that whoever is attacking them is trying to strike them in their heart. They end up grabbing Barbara and the trio go to save Bruce.
  • Pyro Maniac: Firefly indulges in his raison d'entre in Issue 50, and appears to be loving it as much as usual.
  • A Rare Sentence: In #29:
    Batwing: What hit me? Did we... Did we stop Blackfire from resurrecting himself outta hell? Cripes. That's a sentence I never thought I'd say out loud.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Gordon is so much this in Issue 1 that even when he is arrested, he doesn't object at all, letting himself be held accountable for the law, and telling any who try to stop the arrest to let it be. To a degree, Falcone is one: he doesn't pull You Have Failed Me on his subordinates when he's mad at them, unlike Penguin...
  • Red Herring: As of Issue 46, Joseph Blackfire, Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, Hush, the Riddler, and Ra's al Ghul have all been this, none of them seeming to be the actual villain in charge of things, but rather all of them invited to Gotham in an attempt to break the city by the Big Bad.
  • Retcon: The entire story arc that involved Hush stealing Bruce Wayne's identity, since he still has his own face as of issue 34.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Vicki Vale is one for Jason Bard, as she looks like his dead partner.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Jade was taken into child services and then given to her scumbag uncle Killer Croc tracked her down and mauled everyone who got in his way. When she dies, he kills everyone in the room and then breaks down.
  • Running Gag:
    • Nobody gives Arthur Brown the respect to just call him Cluemaster.
    • In the first few times Stephanie and Batman cross paths, she pulls the Bat-trademark Stealth Hi/Bye on him.
  • Saying Too Much: Carmine Falcone's ranting at a captive Selina lets her known he's working for someone.
  • Ship Tease: Between Jason Bard and Vicki Vale; the two are shown to be going out/kissing.
    • Between Tim and Stephanie in Issue 52.
  • Sigil Spam: It's confined largely to himself and his subordinates, but Carmine "The Roman" Falcone seems to have adopted a red rose as his symbol. He wears it on his chest and his henchman have it tattooed on their heads. Ironically, this resembles the tactics of the "freaks" he's fighting.
  • Slashed Throat: Lincoln March does this to Cluemaster in Issue 51.
  • Smug Smiler: Major Forbes is flagrantly corrupt and hostile towards both Commissioner Gordon and Batman, and when the former is arrested for the subway incident, he can't stop smirking and crowing over Gordon's misfortune and has this expression plastered on his face when declared Interim Commissioner.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Stephanie Brown earns her moniker of Spoiler when she escapes her father's criminal conspiracy in issue #3. By the time of Batman #28, she's become a Living MacGuffin, which people are offering millions to obtain.
    • Harper Row to Red Robin. She not only hacks his computer, but she breaks into his hideout while he's in the middle of an investigation and sneaks onto his plane.
    • Bard manages to derail Carmine's plans, and get Forbes, him, and Penguin arrested.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted. One of the purposes of this story is to establish new status quos for several books in the Batman line, including Batman, Catwoman, Arkham Manor, and Batgirl 2011.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: This is a Batman comic, after all, though he's not immune to the move himself, which Stephanie manages to pull on him several times.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Marcus Row is the prison snitch who kicks off the Prison Riot.
  • Talkative Loon: Death Man, much to Ra's Al Ghul's annoyance. Even getting his limbs broken doesn't make him stop, much less call out in pain.
  • Title Drop: In issue #46, courtesy of Ra's.
    Ra's: Is Batman eternal?
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Lincoln March kills Cluemaster before he can shoot Bruce.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several already confirmed.
    • Catwoman will become the new leader of the Gotham underworld here. As without one the gang war cost the life of one of her friends.
    • Harper Row will become a costumed hero named Bluebird. After Red Robin, Batgirl, and Red Hood fall under the Mad Hatter's control in Issue #41.
    • Stephanie Brown goes from a normal girl to the Spoiler, cementing it with her own costume and weapon in Issue 20.
    • Deacon Blackfire goes from a cowardly priest who did manage to gather the slums of Gotham into a revolutionary army to a supernatural being who has even Jim Corrigan worried.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm:
    • Jack Forbes becomes the interim commissioner of the GCPD, and immediately takes everyone off of every case, including stopping the brewing gang war and being on the lookout for various super villains, in order to make the entire force aimed at taking down Batman, regardless of how much they are needed elsewhere. He even let Professor Pyg go after Batman left him gift-wrapped to send a message that he doesn't work with Batman.
    • Jason Bard is working under the orders of Hush.
  • Unexpected Character: Various characters come into play to bring back old elements of the Batman mythos that haven't reappeared in a long time. Key examples are Deacon Blackfire, who was in one story in the '80s and never really came back barring one exception, and Julia Pennyworth, who has not been seen since the '80s either.
    • During the Arkham incident, a doctor Simon Ecks is seen dealing with a spirit resembling him escaping his body. Merely a cameo, but it's one of the first times in decades, outside of cameos, the Dark Detective miniseries and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, that Dr. X and his alternate persona Double-X has been seen in comics.
  • Waterfall Shower: For unexplained reasons, Julia is taking one in the Batcave just before Hush escapes. Possibly because Hush is dangerous enough to warrant 24 hour live surveillance.
  • We Can Rule Together: Cluemaster tries this when he attempts to get Stephanie to stand down, saying they could have been "Cluemaster and The Pointer". Steph's response? To groan and point out that a Pointer is a dog. Getting Crap Past the Radar, much?
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue #26 Gotham enters martial law, Alfred is taken from his hospital bed by Hush and wakes from his coma to find himself in the care of the Joker's Daughter, and Stephanie now has a very large bounty on her head courtesy of her father's friends, meaning she'll have to keep running for her life.
    • Issue 34: Wayne Enterprises is taken over by the government, and former Big Bad Hush is revealed to be working for someone else entirely.
  • Wham Line:
    • In Issue 2. "Say the name." "Blackfire."
    • In Issue 9: "Subject's name is Julia." "Julia Pennyworth".
    • Issue 21: One of the most prominent modern-day Bat villains makes his return to the New 52: "Hush now. Let me show you" .
    • In Issue 23: "You still go by Kyle, but the truth is you're a Calabrese, Selina."
    • Issue 43 tells us who the Big Bad (appears) to be:
    Stephanie: "The guy behind everything is the guy who funds Batman. Bruce Wayne."
  • Wham Shot: While the character's return had been announced earlier, fans wary of any Smallville comic hijinks were thrilled with the last page of Batman #28: Stephanie Brown in a Spoiler costume, as the Living MacGuffin Batman had assaulted the Egyptian to recover.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Killer Croc calls out Batman for being missing during Forever Evil while Bane was breaking everyone's back.
    • Julia calls out Batman for hiding caches full of weapons and explosives all around Gotham, without considering what would happen should they be compromised.
    • Batman points out that Bard letting Hush trigger the explosions got several of men killed, and by wasting his time and manpower trying to kill Batman, he let three stabbings and eight shootings go unattended.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: As of #20, Steph is wearing a new Spoiler costume highly reminiscent of her Batgirl costume, but given that at this point she's living rough and has no one helping her, it raises the very big question of where exactly she got the costume or the means to make it.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Bluebird's new costume (blue and black with domino mask and popped collar) resembles the Pre-New 52 aesthetic of Nightwing so much that fans initially thought she would inherit his codename.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Cluemaster attempts to shoot Bruce at the end of Issue 51 after doing a brief monologue. Lincoln March cuts his throat before he can do so.

Can't you see it now, Bruce? Can't you see the grand design?