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Comic Book / Batman (Joshua Williamson)

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A knight away from Gotham.

Joshua Williamson (The Flash, Infinite Frontier) takes over the Batman title with issue #118, and is joined by Jorge Molina and Mikel Janin as artists. The run is part of the DC Infinite Frontier initiative and began in December of 2021.

After the events of Fear State, Batman finds himself once again appreciated by Gotham City's citizens. However, this reprieve comes about during a tumultuous time in the Dark Knight's life: his best friend has left Earth, his son has left the nest, he and Catwoman are on a break, Jim Gordon has left Gotham and Alfred is still dead. Before Bruce can take in the quiet, he learns that members of Batman, Incorporated have been arrested for the murder of a villain called Abyss. Bruce leaves to investigate on his own, and runs into the backer of the Batmen he's investigating — Lex Luthor.


Williamson's run also takes part in the Shadow War Bat Family Crossover, alongside two other titles he is writing — Robin (2021) and Deathstroke Inc..

Williamson's run was followed by Chip Zdarsky's, which begins in issue #125. See tropes for that run here.

Williamson's run includes examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: A three-part backup story features Maps Mizoguchi from Gotham Academy putting on a Robin outfit and trying to solve a murder mystery. Batman just happen to show up to stop her, but she winds up helping after all.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Bruce demands to know why Batman Inc. didn't immediately call him for help with the Abyss case once they learned Luthor was involved, El Gaucho asks if Bruce really would have shown up to lend a hand if they had. Bruce, lacking an answer, immediately backs off and instead congratulates their work.
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  • Back from the Dead: To nobody's shock, Abyss returns at the end of issue #119 after apparently having been killed before the first issue.
  • Bat Family Crossover: After the first arc, the series will crossover with two of Williamson's other titles (Deathstroke Inc. and Robin (2021)) for Shadow War.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Abyss is ultimately revealed to be this trope in the grand scheme of things. Originally a minion of Lex Luthor who was promised a chance to become a Terror Hero just like Batman, Abyss sought to turn the tables against Lex by recruiting Batman Inc. in a plot to murder his former master. But once it turned out that Batman Inc. was just playing Abyss to get more intel on Lex, the new villain is eventually felled by Bruce in a Curb-Stomp Battle once he figures out Abyss' overreliance on his darkness-based powerset.
  • The Bus Came Back: The various members of Batman, Inc. haven't been seen in a while, only making small appearances throughout the 2010s since the end of Batman, Incorporated. Similarly, while he wasn't a member and was a more recent creation, the Bat-Man of China hasn't been seen since the end of New Super-Man.
  • Call-Back: Lex wants to finance Batman and laments that Bruce is broke after the events of The Joker War and Alfred left his money to Dick Grayson in the pages of Nightwing (Infinite Frontier).
  • Childish Tooth Gap: A little girl dressed as Punchline for the opening costume party has this when asking for (and receiving) Batman's autograph.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Bruce's isolation, as a result of many of the people he regularly talks to not being around. These events themselves are in other series.
    • When Bruce reflects on his past with Lex, he recalls Forever Evil, Justice League (2011) and Justice League (2018). It's also made clear that, despite the Soft Reboot of Infinite Frontier and the ending of Grayson, Lex still retains his knowledge of Bruce's identity as Batman and Dick Grayson's identity as Nightwingnote 
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: The members of Batman Inc. are first presented as murderers who killed Abyss while on Lex Luthor's payroll. Then immediately afterwards, its presented that Abyss is actually the true leader Batman Inc. after he had convinced its members to help him assassinate Lex. Immediately after that, its finally revealed that Batman Inc. wasn't working for Lex or Abyss and have instead been carrying out their own undercover operation in hopes of bringing both villains to justice.
  • Friend on the Force: Detective Cayha becomes Batman's ally in the Badhnisia's police force while he investigates the Abyss case. At the end of the story arc, its heavily implied Bruce wants to uplift her as Badhnisia's own hero once she's ready.
  • Friend to All Children: Batman chases after some would-be robbers in a costume party where everyone is dressed as a supervillain. He's not amused, but when a little girl dressed as Punchline asks for his autograph, he smiles and draws his symbol on her paper.
  • Mystery Episode: The first arc, "Abyss", is about solving the murder of the titular villain. However, the twist as revealed in the first issue is that Bruce quickly deduces that the other Batmen did kill Abyss — it's the why of it that has him searching for answers.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: Williamson's run is for all intents a Backdoor Pilot for Ed Brisson's 2022 relaunch of Batman Incorporated.
  • Retcon: The series retroactively establishes that Bat-Man of China was recruited into Batman, Incorporated at some point. Previously, Batman had only met him once, and that was when Batman, Inc. wasn't really active, so he never made an offer to join.
  • The Reveal: Lex Luthor is revealed to have been the one who empowered Abyss in a part of a ambitious plot to plant his own Batmen around the world who are loyal only to him. And the members of Batman Inc. were actually on a deep-cover operation to expose Luthor and figure out exactly how many more "Batmen" like Abyss he had created.
  • Short-Runners: Williamson's run is only 7 months, despite no indication that it wouldn't be at least the length of a regular run.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Bruce begins the story wearing his regular costume. However, once he begins investigating the apparent murder of Abyss, he switches to the Batman, Inc. costume which would be more familiar to those characters.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: When Bruce learns about the murder, he tells Oracle he's going dark for 48 hours, so the rest of the Bat-Family can't join him.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Even though Bruce was the one who founded Batman Incorporated, his continued absence as The Leader due to his own endeavors in Gotham has forced the team to become more self-reliant as they could no longer count on Bruce's aid, especially after the events of The Joker War robbed Bruce of his wealth.
  • Temporary Blindness: Batman is rendered blind after his first encounter with Abyss in the police morgue.
  • Themed Party: The billionaires club party Batman needed to infiltrate in the first issue is themed around supervillains, making it very easy for Firefly to just walk in in his costume.
  • Transplant: While Lex Luthor has been an antagonist to Batman before, he's very rarely been a supporting character in the main Batman comic.
  • Villain in a White Suit: Lex Luthor ends the first issue in a stark white suit, which is very striking given that everything and everyone around him is dark. The smug expression also adds to the trope a bit.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The first issue ends by revealing that the supposed new villain, Abyss, is long dead. Killed by members of Batman, Incorporated no less, and the real villain of the arc is Superman's nemesis himself: Lex Luthor.
    • Issue #119 ends with Batman realizing the supposed corpse of Abyss isn't Abyss himself and the bullets used on the corpse were never used by the members of Batman, Inc.. Oh, and Abyss isn't dead and he managed to make Batman go blind.