When the New 52 started, Batman was relaunched with the creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. However, after five years, they decided to do something a bit different; so while Snyder wrote All-Star Batman, he handed off the reigns of the new DC Rebirth Batman to Tom King (Grayson, The Vision, Omega Men). The series is biweekly, with the rotating art team of David Finch (New Avengers, Forever Evil) and Mikel Janin (Grayson, Justice League Dark), with occasional guest artists.
The first arc, "I Am Gotham," was illustrated by David Finch. It was about the appearance of two new superheroes in Gotham City, Gotham and Gotham Girl. With a nebulous power set, they try an emulate Batman and protect Gotham, unaware of the hidden dangers, like the Psycho Pirate, Hugo Strange, or the mysterious "Monster Men."
The arc was immediately followed by the "Night of the Monster Men" Bat Family Crossover, taking place across Batman, Detective Comics and Nightwing. The event featured the presence of various "monster men" and their attack on Gotham. See that page for relevant tropes.
The second arc, "I Am Suicide," was illustrated by Mikel Janin. It was about Batman forming his own Suicide Squad in order to invade Santa Prisca and steal something important from Bane. The arc was immediately followed by a two-issue Breather Episode called "Rooftops" about the relationship between Batman and Catwoman, drawn by King's Sheriff of Babylon collaborator Mitch Gerads.
The third arc, "I am Bane" was again drawn by David Finch. It featured Bane's arrival in Gotham and Batman trying desperately to hold him off.
The series crossed over with The Flash for The Button. This crossover follows up on a plotline from DC Universe: Rebirth #1 — Batman's discovery of the Comedian's button in the Batcave — serving as one of the first direct follow-ups on the Watchmen Myth Arc present throughout the Rebirth line. See that page for relevant tropes.
Between The Button and the fourth arc, there are two other Breather Episodes, one featuring a guest-appearance by Swamp Thing, the other serving as an epilogue to the "I am..." saga, as well as a lead-in to the fourth and fifth arcs.
The fourth arc is titled "The War of Jokes and Riddles", and is once again drawn by Mikel Janin. In a story taking place prior to the series' current events, The Joker goes to war with The Riddler. A key player throughout this story, who has appeared throughout the run, is Kite Man. During "TWOJAR", there is also a mini-arc called "The Ballad of Kite Man", which gives the eponymous character his new origin.
So far, King's run has been notable for keeping the same dark, noir tone of Snyder's run, while also bringing back a lot of the sillier villains of the Silver Age (like Calendar Man, Colonel Blimp, and Kite Man). Also prominent is the presence of Saturn Girl from the Legion of Super-Heroes in Arkham Asylum, with Word of God saying that Batman will set up the Legion's return.
Tropes included in Batman (Rebirth):
- A Day in the Limelight: Batman #27 brings us "The Ballad of Kite Man", which focuses on the eponymous villain's tragic origin.
- Action Girl: Gotham Girl.
- Actually Pretty Funny: In Batman #23, why Batman needs car.Swamp Thing: Why...Do you need...A car?
Batman: I don't know. Why do you need a body?
Swamp Thing: Heh.
- Amicable Exes: After Catwoman beats her in a sword fight, a wounded Talia al Ghul crawls up to Batman and they act rather friendly with each other despite her attempting to kill him earlier that day. She also approves of Selina being Bruce's fiancée.
- Arc Words:
- "The Monster Men are Coming."
- "It's not impossible. It's Batman."
- "Not impossible. Bane."
- "I am Bane."
- "It was on a boat." "It was on the street."
- Art Shift: Batman's memory of first meeting Catwoman was during the events of Batman #1, which leads to a flashback drawn in the same style as Bob Kane. Catwoman remembers it as when she defended Holly Robinson from a disguised Bruce Wayne as shown in Batman: Year One, the flashback to which takes on the same style as David Mazzucchelli.
- Bait-and-Switch: In Batman #9 Batman talks with a masked prisoner in Arkham using dialogue identical to his conversation with Joker in The Killing Joke, the prisoner turns out to be Catwoman.
- Big Bad: The Big Bad of "I Am Gotham" and "Night of the Monster Men" was Hugo Strange. The Big Bad of "I Am Suicide" and "I Am Bane" is, of course, Bane.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Joker and Riddler in "The War of Jokes and Riddles"
- Bottle Episode: "The Best Man" takes place entirely within and outside a church.
- Break the Cutie: What happens to Gotham Girl over the course of the first arc. First she's driven to the brink of insanity by the Psycho-Pirate, then she's forced to kill her brother, which makes her snap completely.
- The Bus Came Back: Bird, Trogg and Zombie, Bane's associates from Knightfall finally return in "I Am Bane", after having effectively vanished following the former storyline.
- In Batman #2, when Batman pulls a Stealth Hi/Bye on Gotham and Gotham Girl and they say that that's impossible, Commissioner Gordon says, "It not impossible, kid. It's Batman." In Batman #13, Catwoman says nearly the same thing when Bronze Tiger says it's impossible that Batman just walked into Santa Prisca and walked out with the Psycho Pirate: "It's not impossible. It's Batman." And then during Batman #19, as Bane invades Arkham, he flips it by saying "Not impossible. Bane."
- In Batman #5, when Alfred is pretending to be Batman, he is wearing Greg Capullo's original New 52 Batsuit.
- When Bane is invading Arkham, Batman weakens and stalls him by releasing all of Arkham's inmates to fight Bane. This is what Bane did to soften up Bruce when they first met in Knightfall.
- One issue shows the bar where Batman met Elmer Fudd in a DC Meets Looney Tunes special that Tom King wrote, with visual references to that same story, seemingly establishing that it is in fact canon.
- The Cameo: Saturn Girl likes to appear every now and then to tease Legion stuff.
- The Caper: "I Am Suicide," complete with Batman forming his own team to steal something. That something just happens to be the Psycho-Pirate.
- Catch-Phrase: Kite Man's is "Kite Man! Hell yeah!"
- Cerebus Retcon: Kite Man! Hell yeah! Originally an extremely Silver Age villain with kites as his gimmick, the "War of Jokes and Riddles" arc introduces us to his new origin. Charles Brown is seen as a joke by everyone except his son, who Charles bonds with by flying kites together. During the war, Charles is manipulated as an informant by both sides and Batman, which leads to Riddler poisoning his son's kite string, leading to his death. This breaks Charles, who adopts the Kite Man identity as a reminder of his son along with some Death Seeker qualities. He is permanently seen as a joke because of his theme but does his best with it. And his catchphrase? His son would say it when excited, like when flying kites. Charles admonished him, telling his if he said "hell" he will go to hell. On his son's deathbed, his son asks him if its true, and before Charles can tell him it is not, his son dies. Kite Man adopted it as his own catchphrase.
- The Chew Toy: Kite Man is first captured by Gotham Girl in the "I Am Gotham" epilogue, and thrown into Arkham. In his next appearance, he's free, but gets the stuffing beaten out of him during Batman and Catwoman's "date night."
- Continuity Nod: The portrait of Bruce and all the Robins (minus Jason) that was painted in the New 52 run of Batman & Robin appears in Bruce's study in issue #23.
- Bruce remembers his first encounter with Catwoman being the events of her first appearance in Batman #1, while Catwoman remembers first meeting him as told in Batman: Year One.
- Continuity Snarl: This series portrays Batman as always having his Rebirth Batsuit since the very beginning. This is in spite of the fact that this suit was only introduced during the "Superheavy" arc in Scott Snyder's New 52 run.
- Retconned again at the end of "Cold Days" when Batman goes back to his "original" suit: the one from Batman: Year One.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Deathstroke and Deadshot face off in issue #28. They first try sniping each other — but shoot each other's 7.62 bullet. They go on to try and kill each other for five days before Batman can finally manage to stop them.
- Crapsack World: The alternate timeline created by Booster Gold in "The Gift". To wit, Gotham is a borderline war zone overrun by Jokers who murder people and commit other crimes on a regular basis; staying inside the city apparently causes people to become "Jokered"; all of Eurasia is ruled by Ra's al Ghul with Talia set to inherit control; Damian was never born; Tim is an IT drone at an unspecified company; the Penguin is president; Dick is the Batman of the world, one who regularly uses murder as solution and actively makes use of both guns and grenades, no less; Jason is a tire salesman who can apparently get away with selling special tires that taze people to death if they try to steal them; Duke was lobotimized; the Joker epidemic is apparently a scheme by the al Ghuls to rule over the entire world; and Hal Jordan kills himself on the first page. Literally the only people happy are Thomas and Martha Wayne, who are alive and well, (that is, until they die the next issue, anyway) and Bruce, who is a complete and total Rich Bitch whose response to Booster telling him that everything is technically not real is to break Skeets with a fire poker and have Alfred throw Booster out.
- It gets worse in the next issue. Aside from the previously mentioned deaths of the Waynes, Selina is a psychotic Serial Killer capable of only saying "meow" who Booster breaks out of Arkham to help and later murders both Thomas Wayne and Alfred, and the entire Justice League (who in this timeline includes Ted Kord), died off-panel fighting Starro.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Batman's first proper fight with Bane in "I am Bane"; he can barely land weak, ineffectual blows as Bane pummels the life out of him.
- Dating Catwoman: Literally the entire story of "Rooftops" is a "date night" between Batman and Catwoman, it's also a complete breakdown of their relationship, namely, how Batman and Catwoman want to stay with each other, but can't commit to each other because of their masked activities.
- Dark Secret: "The War of Jokes and Riddles" is all about a moment in time during Batman's early history that would show that he wasn't this great hero Gotham needed. Namely, Batman broke his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule by attempting to murder the Riddler before the Joker stopped him, proving that the only difference between him and the criminals he puts in jail was the Joker defining who he was.
- Deadpan Snarker: Commissioner Gordon and Alfred, of course.
- Despair Event Horizon: Bruce after the wedding issue. The very next issue, he rips a public urinal out in anger and is clearly lashing out against his Batman persona while on the jury.
- Enemy Civil War: The "The War of Jokes and Riddles" arc is about the Joker and Riddler going to war with each other over both Gotham and the right to kill Batman.
- Evil Counterpart: Bane's backstory is depicted as a dark reflection of Bruce's, with the deaths of their mothers being their common connection, before their different upbringings cause them to diverge.
- Fight Unscene: In issue #33, Catwoman takes on a guard who is about three times her size. The fight starts offscreen and cuts away to another scene. When the scene cuts back, the guard is lying beaten up on the ground, while Selina doesn't have a scratch on her.
- Much of the War of Jokes and Riddles is told this way.
- Foregone Conclusion: We know, based on Gotham Girl's past tense narration, that Batman "dies" in this run. We just don't know how or why, and whether it's a literal death or not. King plays with expectations regarding this quite a bit.
- For Want of a Nail: The three part storyline "The Gift," where Booster Gold saves Batman's parents and accidentally sends the world into a dystopia.
- Freudian Excuse: Batman #27 details Kite Man's: his young son was killed by the Riddler after a sting operation for Batman went wrong, prompting him to take on the Kite Man identity to seek revenge.
- Graceful Loser: Talia al Ghul doesn't seem that bothered by being beaten by Catwoman, implying the whole conflict between them and Batman was a test to see if she was worthy of being his bride.
- Harmless Villain: Colonel Blimp. Kite Man. And, of course, the Condiment King.
- The Heart: "The Best Man" has Selina suggest that Two-Face acted as this for Batman's rogues gallery.Selina: Harvey held a lot of us together, people forget. He's underrated. I always thought he was the dark horse to get Batman.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Batman almost makes one in the very first issue, but is saved from doing so by Gotham and Gotham Girl. Then, in Batman #5, he tries to sacrifice himself again to stop Gotham, but is saved again by Gotham Girl. The series brings up the idea that Batman actively wants to die pulling one of these, in order to make his parents proud of him. He gets over it eventually.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The War of Jokes and Riddles is caused by this trope: the Riddler and Joker's obsession with Batman is so far reaching that they can't get over the fact that Batman refuses to laugh and all the Riddler wants to do is outsmart Batman. Riddler attempts to partner up with the Joker to get revenge on Batman, but the Joker shoots him in the gut and leaves him to die, setting off the war.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: Alfred remarks how he's had the prestigious honor of being the youngest recruit in the Royal Shakespeare Company, with many touting him as having the potential of changing the face of acting itself. Instead, he's currently Batman's butler and using his considerable talent to impersonate Jeremiah Arkham.
- Important Haircut: Gotham Girl shaves off her blonde hair once she starts to lose her grasp on her sanity.
- Insanity Immunity: Of sorts: when the Psycho-Pirate tries to control the emotions of Alfred Wesker the Ventriliquist, it turns out he can't...because Scarface the Dummy already controls him.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- The entire Rebirth one-shot can very easily be viewed as a commentary on the cyclical nature of comic book relaunches, and by extension Batman comic tropes.
- When Batman visits Arkham Asylum, Saturn Girl breaths onto her glass and draws the Legion of Super-Heroes' symbol. The closest dialogue balloon has Jeremiah Arkham say "who's taking on that burden?". This issue was released after the possible Legion writers, a list on which Tom King is included, were revealed.
- Issue #44 basically has Batman point out to Catwoman that their personalities keep changing and wonder if their marriage will last. Half of the issue is flashbacks to famous Batman and Catwoman moments in comics history, stretching back to the Golden Age with Selina's first appearance.
- Legacy Character: Dick Grayson again fills in as Batman while Bruce is on jury duty.
- Loving a Shadow: Catwoman accuses Talia Al'Ghul of loving the paragon of mankind and destined partner she believes Batman is and not the flawed, emotionally damaged man Selina knows and intends to marry.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": All of the Robins when Alfred announces that Bruce had proposed to Selina Kyle and she's accepted.Damian:...What the HELL did you just say?!
- Mythology Gag: Loads.
- In Batman #1, Hugo Strange first makes an appearance saying "Observe the clock, Batman," exactly like his first appearance in Detective Comics #36.
- In Batman #4, Gotham tries to prevent a suicide that's extremely similar to a scene in All-Star Superman. Except instead of it working out, the person still commits suicide by blowing themselves up.
- In Batman #6, Colonel Blimp says to Gotham City, "I have your submarine! Again!" This is in reference to Batman #352, where Colonel Blimp first steals Gotham City's submarine.
- In Batman #9, Batman is talking to a masked prisoner in Arkham and says, "I have been thinking lately. About you and me." Which is dialogue identical to his conversation with the Joker in The Killing Joke, leading the readers to believe he is talking to the Joker. He isn't: it's actually Catwoman.
- In Batman #14 Magpie briefly shows up, resembling her Beware the Batman incarnation.
- In the same issue, Batman and Catwoman argue over the circumstances of their first meeting. Batman recalls Catwoman dressed as an old lady and trying to steal jewels, which is the Silver Age version. Catwoman recalls Bruce getting his ass kicked by some thugs trying to protect Holly Robinson, the "Year One" version.
- In Batman #26 has a line-for-line rendition of Joker's Rage Against the Reflection scene from Tim Burton's Film/Batman. But instead of the Joker it's the Riddler.
- Batman says that he'll have to "kick a lot of trees" to work off a corndog. This is a reference to one of his preferred methods of exercising that appears in Kigns run, that is itself a reference to "Year One".
- Batman #40 has Wonder Woman reference her pet kangaroo, Kanga. This is a real character that hasn't been referenced in a long time.
- At one point, Bruce tells Alfred to get him his first Batman suit. It's notably not the "Zero Year" suit — it's the "Year One" suit.
- Not So Stoic: Swamp Thing initially seems to be unbothered about his father's death, citing the Green's Blue and Orange Morality as his reasoning. Upon hearing the killer brag about the murder, Swamp Thing suddenly goes berserk and gruesomely kills him. Afterwards, he goes through a complete Heroic BSoD and flees as Batman furiously berates him for his actions.
- Out, Damned Spot!: After restoring the timeline and witnessing the alternate Bruce Wayne commit suicide, Booster Gold solemnly confesses to Batman and Catwoman that he's picked up the habit of cleaning his goggles, which were splattered with Bruce's blood. Even when he's sure it's completely clean, a part of him still sees a smudge of blood.
- Perpetual Frowner: Te Joker of all people during The War of Jokes and Riddles. His entire mission statement in the storyline is to find something to make him laugh and smile again. He eventually finds his cure when Batman attempts to kill the Riddler, sending Joker into a hysteric laughter.
- The Power of Love: Ivy's love for Harley is what allows Batman to save her.
- "Rashomon"-Style: The recurring "It was on a boat"/"It was on the street" argument that Batman and Catwoman have over how they first met. Bruce's account references the original telling in 1940's Batman #1, while Selina's references the version from Batman: Year One. The story never clarifies which account is the correct one.
- Ret-Canon: Issue #26 incorporates the Penguin's backstory from Gotham, with him starting out as a lowly henchman in the Falcone crime family whose job it is to hold an umbrella for his boss.
- Rogue Juror: The entire premise of "Cold Days"— every juror is convinced that Batman was right and Mr. Freeze murdered a bunch of women in his experiments to save his wife—except one juror: Bruce Wayne.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After killing his father's killer, Swamp Thing leaves claiming that now that his mission is complete, he doesn't need to be there. Batman sees right through this and accuses him of fleeing so he doesn't have to face the consequences and hypocrisy of his actions.
- Secret Keeper:
- After her knowledge of Batman identity was Ret Gone'd in the New 52, Selina now knows Bruce Wayne is Batman again.
- Bane is also shown to be fully aware of Batman's identity and the location of the Batcave.
- As of issue 41, Poison Ivy has learned Batman's identity.
- Ship Tease: Gotham Girl's narration hints that she and Duke will be married in the future.
- So Proud of You: Bruce hallucinates Martha telling him that he doesn't need to die a good death for his parents to be proud of him.
- Batman does this with the Gotham siblings, saying that it was good to see what Gotham did with his fear.
- Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Batman travels to the Fortress of Solitude to hide Dick, Jason, and Damian. When Superman comes back, Batman asks him to watch over them while he fights Bane.
- Take That!: During "The Best Man," both Joker and Catwoman note that they can't take Riddler seriously until he shaves the sideburns he's had since The New 52.
- Talking to the Dead:
- Gotham Girl talks to her dead brother when she starts to become more unhinged. At first, it seems like she thinks that he's still alive, but it's later revealed that she knows he's dead.
- Bruce confesses to her that he still needs to talk to his mother. At the end of "I am Bane", it seems like he finally closes the door on the habit.
- A page in #5 has Alfred possibly doing this while driving the Batmobile.
- Title Drop: They often have double meanings, too.
- The first arc, "I Am Gotham," is stated by the character of Gotham in issue #1 and then again by Batman in issue #5 as he tries to get Gotham (who has gone insane) to kill him instead of the city.
- The second arc, "I Am Suicide," seems to reference the Suicide Squad, but is instead dropped by Batman about a suicide attempt he made before making his vow to fight crime.
- When Bane is fighting Batman in a Curb-Stomp Battle, he rants that he's not just another of Batman's villains who gets locked up in Arkham, and yells "I am Bane", the title of the arc.
- Tragic Villain: Kite Man.
- Wham Line: This particular bit from Batman #24:Batman: Selina. I love you. Marry me.
- Followed up in issue #32, the final part of "The War of Jokes and Riddles"Catwoman: Yes.
- Followed up in issue #32, the final part of "The War of Jokes and Riddles"
- Wham Shot: #60 ends with a shot of who apparently just broke into the Batcave and attacked both Alfred and the captured Penguin: Flashpoint Thomas Wayne.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: In issue #26, Pamela Isley kills a bunch of anonymous hitmen for Carmine Falcone. Batman details the names and motives for each of them: one was an undercover cop, another rejoined Falcone because his mother had cancer and he needed the money, one left behind a wife and children, and so on. After the Joker kills more mooks, Batman ID's them and notes one was a high school football player, another was a single father, and yet another was an annual Santa at his church festival. It's further deconstructed in issue #42, in which Ivy tells Selina about this event. She admits she doesn't really know why she did it - whether it was because she was afraid of Joker and Riddler or simply wanted to show off - and it's used as an example of how she hasn't been as in control of herself as she thought for some time now.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Batman gives a big one to Swamp Thing in issue #23 when the latter kills the murderer that he asked Batman to find.
- The Worf Effect: Bane defeats pretty much every heavy hitter in Batman's Rogues gallery currently imprisoned in Arkham, including such foes as Solomon Grundy, and Copperhead, for the sake of finding Batman.
- Worf Had the Flu:
- During Bane's beatdown of the Arkham inmates described above, Mr. Freeze was without his suit of Powered Armor, making his defeat much easier.
- In issue #28, Batman singlehandedly defeats both Deathstroke and Deadshot in hand-to-hand combat. He was also a relative rookie at the time, since the issue is a flashback. Usually, taking on just one of those mercenaries would be at least a small challenge for him, even as an experienced vigilante. However, at that particular point both Deathstroke and Deadshot had been fighting each other almost non-stop for five days, and were therefore not in prime condition.