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Gotham Gazette: Keeping Up with the Bat-Family

Gotham Gazette: Keeping Up with the Bat-Family

By Meg Downey Friday, August 17th, 2018

Gotham City is a busy place, with a lot going down each and every month. In this new column, Meg Downey helps us stay on top of it all by letting us know what you should be paying attention to within the Bat-Family…and why.

In terms of sheer superhero population density, you'd be hard pressed to find a busier placer in the DC Universe than Gotham City. Nowhere else has quite the cape-and-cowl foot traffic, the reputation and the need for such a busy afterhours crowd. Depending on your perspective on the matter, that might actually be for the better. After all, the city didn't find itself overrun by vigilantes because of how safe it was, you know?

But that's really beside the point. The fact of the matter is that Gotham is a busy place and as a busy place, it can get a little tricky to keep up with the ins and outs of the costume wearing community. But that's all right because that's where I come in. Much like how Sydney is keeping an eye on all things Metropolis in her new column Super Here For…, I've taken over a brand new monthly beat here on DCComics.com, one that's going to let me take some deep dives into the comings and goings of my favorite city in the DCU. Welcome to the Gotham Gazette, your one-stop shop for all things Bat-Family.

For those of you who might not know me, my name is Meg Downey and I've been covering all sorts of fun things here since the dawn of the Rebirth era. I try and pride myself on being a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to superheroes, but Gotham has always been my home turf. So ideally, this column is going to be the place where you can come to learn some new stuff about any number of Bat-related vigilantes…as well as watch me speculate wildly about what might be coming up. (Here’s where I tell you that, just like I’ve been with the #DCTV Couch Club and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, I'm just as in the dark as you are about what the future holds, so expect me to be totally wrong about 90% of the time.)

This month has been pretty tumultuous, for reasons that are probably obvious. In case you skipped town and haven't been around in a while, back in BATMAN #50, Bruce and Selina had a pretty bad breakup (at least, I think it was a breakup?) and things are spiraling out of control for both of them in totally different ways. Selina's out traveling the world, complete with a new costume and brand new solo ongoing series, but that doesn't mean things are going smoothly for her as Catwoman and in her civilian life.

Meanwhile, Bruce is...well, being Bruce. Batman is a lot of things, but emotionally available really isn't one of them, which of course means his grieving process through this breakup is taking some truly spectacular shape. There's a court case going on, Bruce is on the jury and involved as Batman…and it's a whole complicated mess. I won't go too deep into plot related spoilers here, but rest assured, Bruce is not coping with things in the healthiest way.

But then again, healthy coping mechanisms aren't exactly his forte. This current arc of Batman has seriously harkened back to some vintage stories in my mind where Bruce has had similarly bad reactions to major negative events in his life. Let's just say that getting himself put on a jury where he can publicly argue that Batman is not always a correct or infallible creature actually ranks kind of low on Bruce's ongoing "bonkers excuses for self-prescribed therapy" list. If you travel back in time to 2002, you'll find two back-to-back arcs called BRUCE WAYNE: MURDERER? and BRUCE WAYNE: FUGITIVE, which might be an enlightening way to get some context for Batman's cathartic process, even today.

But there's more to Gotham than just Bruce Wayne trying to handle his feelings (though really, I think "Batman vs Feelings" is something we should focus on a lot more frequently, if I'm being honest.) Over in DETECTIVE COMICS we've got the formation of a brand-new Outsiders team brewing with Black Lightning and Katana in the mix. If you're anything like me, you were probably sad to see the original Rebirth team lineup of Batwoman, Red Robin, Orphan, Spoiler, Clayface, Azrael and Batwing shift around, but I can't even be too upset anymore. The Outsiders really are that cool.

In other, non-Batman related corners of the family, major changes are happening as well. Jason (who, uh, may or may not have just made a huge mistake) was just reunited with his ex-best friend slash business partner, Roy Harper, reforming the duo that hasn't really been around since the end of RED HOOD/ARSENAL. If you missed out on that run while the New 52 was winding down, I'd really recommend going back to take a look. Not only will it prep you for whatever is coming up next in RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, it's also just a nice primer for one of the best buddy cop duos in recent memory. Just sayin'.

And the change train isn't stopping there. Batgirl is on the verge of a major overhaul with a brand-new costume and creative team coming in after this week's BATGIRL #25, which is setting up some very intense developments for Babs' immediate future.

So, all in all? Lots of upheaval in the forecast for the Bat-Family—some good, some bad, most decidedly to be determined. What are you most excited or hopeful to see in Gotham's future? Let's share some ideas in the comments below about what could be next for the city (and the people who protect it) and I'll catch you here next month to see what else goes down.
 

Meg Downey writes about the DC Universe for DCComics.com and covers DC's Legends of Tomorrow for the #DCTV Couch Club. Follow her on Twitter at @rustypolished.