It didn't take long before what was then considered the "new" reiteration of DC's entire line of comics, The New 52, became, well, old. In less than five years, the relaunch, which began in September 2011, ended, and was re-relaunched again in June 2016. DC called it their Rebirth initiative.
For fans who wanted to see what the Dark Knight was up to but didn't want to read a lot to get there, Rebirth was a welcome change. The New 52's rendition of Batman (including issue #0) reached 51 issues. That's a lot of catching up.
Well, if you don't want to get left behind again, you better start reading Rebirth because Batman, including many other DC titles, now ship twice-monthly. Batman is already at #15, and that's after volume 3 issue #1 came out in June.
But just because the frequency has gone up by 100 percent doesn't mean DC's spitting these issues out willy-nilly. In 15 issues, we've already gone through intriguing story arcs, including "I Am Gotham," "Night of the Monster Men," I Am Suicide" and the two-parter, "Rooftops," during which, a lot of crazy stuff has happened. A lot.
Here's a list of the top 15 insane things that's happened in Batman... so far.
14 Alfred Finally Dons The Batsuit (And Drives The Batmobile)
Casual Bat fans probably don't know that Alfred Pennyworth is an ex-Special Air Service operative of honour and ethics. But now they do. In other words, yes, Alfred was badass even before Bruce Wayne decided to become Batman. Alfred essentially made Batman badass, not the other way around.
Unfortunately, many people only view Alfred as the "highly resourceful butler." However, he's so much more. There’s a reason why Alfred was nominated for the Wizard Fan Award for favourite supporting character in 1994. Heck, he’s even been referred to as Batman’s batman. This, therefore, begs the question, is Batman or the man who's the Batman of the Batman more of a badass?
Regardless of your answer, it's only proper that Alfred finally got the chance to be Batman’s batman officially... by suiting up. Yah, Alfred may look profoundly ridiculous in the suit and, in what only embellishes the ridiculousness of the situation, ran off in an absurdly awkward and unattractive manner after his cover was blown that almost "ruined" the moment, but who cares! Alfred definitely deserved some time in the spotlight.
It just took a few decades to get there.
13 Crazy Dude Off His Meds
This particular case of insanity (literally) occurs during the epilogue of the "I Am Gotham" story arc. The issue stands out because it follows a specific pattern, detailing a string of unfortunate happenings during the course of a week. And one hell of a freakin’ week it was!
Gotham Girl (she's a new character) not only experienced a rather devastating and life-altering event, but initiated said devastation and life-change herself. And she's having a rather difficult time because of it, spiraling into a trauma-induced state of insanity.
On one day, Gotham Girl comes across a man off his meds who, without the happy chemicals, believes he’s Captain Stingaree and his brothers are all Batman who, despite the fact they’re his "brothers," makes them “walk the plank.” And they’re at the top of a very high building.
Gotham Girl saves the day but she first expresses excitement for seeing a pirate, a reaction that’s fueled by her hallucinatory, highly unstable state.
12 Gross Transformations
It was hard figuring out what's more revolting (extrapolating what deserves a higher rating on this Bat$#!+ Crazy list), what's happening to the people in the cells above or the end result of said transformation in the cell below.
The fact that the following info didn't get this particular entry (#13) into a higher spot (#12) should say how gross #12 is. The place where the people above are located is in the Tolliver Memorial Morgue. So, yes, they're dead. And they're being mutated into something more disgusting.
11 Gross Monsters
Ta-Da! One of the few things that could even remotely top the fact that "The Night of the Monster Men" story arc revolves around, well, monsters is that it's the first major event in DC Rebirth ... and it's incredibly appropriate that the effort starts in Batman.
The event zigzags between Batman, Nightwing and Detective Comics: Part 1 and 4 take place in Batman #7 and #8, Part 2 and 5 in Nightwing #5 and #6 and Part 3 and 6 in Detective Comics #941 and #942. From the participating issues, a hard case can be made that the grossest creature was not only in Batman but in Part 1.
Just take a look at that thing! Oh, and if you think what you see is grotesque. That's not even the full picture. What's going on in the creature's lower extremities is more off-putting than this giant-head-with-eyeball-over-gruesome face thing.
10 Batman Breaks Many, Many Toys
There’s nothing more inherently cooler than awesome vehicles getting blown up. At first, you might think it's impossible to get too much mobile smashing until one of the characters directly references it (the mobile bashing, that is). And that's what Duke does, saying “At some point, he’s going to run out of Batmobiles.” Yup. It's kind of this new Batman's "thing."
Here's a few examples. A giant steel beam from a construction site is thrown, like a spear, into the Batmobile. The Batplane gets destroyed when Bruce tries to take down a monster running rampant on Gotham (setting off paralytic gas that takes out a double-decker bus in the process). Batman, while flying the combat capsule, directs it into the same monster (after ejecting himself out first, of course). And yet another Batplane crashes after it gets shot down in Bane's sovereign state of Santa Prisca.
Oh, and Batwoman's toys aren't safe either. In a battle with another monster, Batman is tossed into the air and, in the process of saving him, Batwoman blows up her bike in the monster’s mouth.
9 Wesker Is Back... But Is So Much More Mentally Disturbed
With the start of the New 52, the Ventriloquist suddenly changed. He was no longer the meek, quiet Arnold Wesker we all knew and loved, a man easily manipulated by his dummy Scarface. In fact, Ventriloquist was no longer a he. Ventriloquist was now a girl named Peyton Riley.
Besides the obvious difference (the fact that she's a her), Riley was pretty much night and day when compared to Wesker, seeing as she was much more willing to perform violence acts. Despite these divergences, she still worked with a dummy named Scarface. Well, Arnold Wesker is back. And he's just as meek, quiet and easily manipulated as before. However, there's a very big difference between this Wesker. And there's something... very different... about "Scarface." Or should we say Hand... face?
9. Batman Takes on a Crap Load of Guys and Loses (... Or Suicide Squad)
What's so crazy about the stuff he's trying — emphasis on trying — to do in the cell above (taking on a crap load of guys) isn't that he loses. Horribly. It's that he created his own "suicide squad" for said mission.
That's right. Even though he went out of his way to tour Arkham Asylum to pick and choose his own little squad, like plucking rotten apples out of a tree, a part of Batman's plan ostensibly seems to have been to charge head first into the sovereign state of Santa Prisca and take on Bane's army... alone... is so weird.
Rather than having his squad members pummeled, Batman's "master plan" was to get his own ass kicked instead. Heck, he took on this army after he crashed his Batplane into the ground.
8 Back-Breaking Craze
Ever since Bane both literally and metaphorically “broke the bat” during the Knightfall story arc in 1993-4 — specifically, issue #497 — Bane became synonymous with the act. Bane later became the very embodiment of it, saying "I am 'Bane.' I 'break' people" in "Infinite Crisis."
Heck, writers beyond the comic book medium have adapted the back-breaking into their renditions, such as the animated show The Batman (September 11, 2004-March 8, 2008) where Bane does the deed ... off screen. Probably the adaptation most people are familiar with is Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
In Rebirth, it doesn't take long for Bane to perform yet another back attack on Batman. However, since Bane is in some "Venom Anonymous" state of mind, he's sadly not strong enough" to punish him "in that manner." But he does his best to do so.
7 Cat Cuts Jewlee’s Throat
It's not surprising that IGN ranked Catwoman in both its "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time" and "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time" lists, at 11 and 20 respectively. Selina has a very rich, complex history, leaping back and forth between the morality line as though it were some kind of dance pole. And this behaviour doesn't change in Rebirth.
Even though she joins Batman's "suicide squad," Catwoman pulls a typical Catwoman, except it's pretty freakin' intense how she does it. In what's probably the most exponentially ridiculous betrayal in the history of betrayals ever (even for Catwoman), she literally scratches Jewlee's throat, causing blood to spill profusely from the wound.
6 Cat “Breaks” Bane?
Cat is on a role! But it's also ironic. Throughout the course of his time in Santa Prisca, Batman is so determined that he'll "break his damn back," the "him" being Bane, he says it over and over again. Batman even has the gall to utter the statement under his breath at the exact moment before he gets his own back pretty messed up, even though he's already been badly beaten up by Bane's army and thrown onto the ground, onto which his head is later bashed against and body dragged across. Batman even says it again after Bane throws him into his infamous pit... which is lovingly referred to as "Bane's childhood playground."
But rather than getting the chance to actually break it, guess who gets a good crack at cracking his back? That's right. Catwoman. Man, she's a badass.
5 Bane Wants To Die
There's a rather disturbing theme going on in Rebirth. Every character seems to wrestle with the prospect of suicide. It manages to permeate Bane's subconsciousness, too, even though he's adopted an anti-Venom philosophy of life. His mental anguish manifests in a rather overtly grotesque way. He has a rather twisted reason as to why he (as well as Batman) constantly go out of their way to fight each other. It's because they both want to die.
Bane believes the reason why they fight each other (he calls both of them monsters) because they aren't strong enough to commit suicide. They hope, in fighting each other, they'll die in the other monster's arms. Whoa. Probably the saddest truth is that neither Batman nor Bane die at the end of their fight ... and they're probably just as equally upset about it.
4 The Downward Spiral of a Hero
It’s tragic when a hero falls. In yet another reference to Christopher Nolan’s rendition of the Dark Knight, in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) says “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” And that’s pretty much what happens here.
When Dent succumbs to his alternate ego, Two-Face, he kills (after having to participate in his little flip-coin-obsession thingy) his victims by shooting them. But that’s not how this particular "fallen hero" kills his particular victim. He snaps the guy’s neck. Day—um!
The fact that this "fallen hero" shares a very similar tragic past with Bruce Wayne except, unlike Bruce, his parents weren't killed, and yet, he's the fallen one, creates a rather chilling juxtaposition and gives death and suffering all the more meaning.
3 Batman the Martyr… Almost
That’s right. Batman is “riding” a plane like a cowboy straddling a bull, except, rather than potentially getting bucked off and possibly trampled, he’s facing the very likely prospect of the plane careening into the ocean, whereby, if he stays atop the falling object, he’ll die but save the passengers, seeing as he’s attached his thrusters to the wings and is actually “guiding” the plane, like some mega Batplane.
This is somewhat similar to a particular scenario at the end of the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Batman trilogy, the Dark Knight Rises, where Batman selflessly flies a ticking time bomb (the blast of which is equivalent to that of an atom bomb) away from Gotham, an attempt that will undoubtedly kill him because the auto-pilot is ostensibly broken, except, it isn’t.
The difference, here, however, is Batman will actually die, and the only thing that saves him is a miracle—two new superheroes suddenly appear on the scene.
Heck, right before he's about to die, Bruce Wayne starts saying his last words to Alfred, even asking Alfred if his mom and dad would’ve been proud of him. It’s intense ... and it’s in the first issue ...
2 A Lot of People Are... Um... Killing Themselves
It was a really good idea to start off the “semi” reboot with the Psycho-Pirate, a villain who, in Amanda Waller’s words, "a man who could make gods go man, a man who could make the mad gods sane again". And the way he exercises his powers is all the more ridiculous by, yes, having people kill themselves. And there’s a lot of it.
The first of the many suicides is the most graphic and, intrinsically, more surprising — a double whammy. It begins innocently enough. An old, frail-looking man comes to the police station, confessing to a crime that occurred earlier on in the issue. But as soon as he does this, he grabs a knife and, rather than attacking Gordon, turns the knife on himself and stabs it into his neck.
That was in issue #2. It soon becomes abundantly clear that the suicide wasn’t just a random act, because in issue #3, there's a suicide bomber who attacks the Vincefinkle Bridge during rough hour. It's soon discovered that the ones who initiated an earlier catastrophe in issue #1 also killed themselves.
Oh, and in issue #4, a man who’s about to commit suicide is apparently talked out of it before he “changes” his mind and presses “detonate” on his phone, killing himself and everyone else in the vicinity.
1 1. Batman Takes On a Crap Load of Guys... Again (And Suicide)
We guess it wasn't enough for Batman to try and prove himself by beating up a bunch of guys a second time... because he didn't do such a great job the first time around.
Interestingly, even though Batman is much worse off during "round two," he does a more effective way of beating the crap out of everyone than in the opening round.
But something else happens the second time. At the beginning of the "I Am Suicide" story arc, Catwoman writes a letter to Batman about why she's who she is. In this particular issue, Batman writes back to her. And when he's pummeling the crap out of Bane's men, he reveals (to Catwoman) something very disturbing about his past, a very, well, realistic picture and highly plausible culmination of what would happen after his parents' murders. When he was 10, he took out his father razor blades, and, after falling on his knees, he put the blade against his wrist ... and, well, ... for the rest of the details, you can start reading this intense series. There's undoubtedly more to come.
Sources: The Guardian; IGN; CBR.