Welcome to this month's Gotham Gazette, your source here on DCComics.com for the very latest and greatest in the world of Batman, which, unsurprisingly, happens to be pretty intense right about now!
Things in Gotham are always a little dark, but they’ve been darker than a week-old pot of coffee since the KGBeast managed to snipe Dick Grayson in the head while he was hanging with Batman on a rooftop. It sounds really bad and it was really bad, but Dick actually survived the attack. Well, mostly. He suffered some pretty intense brain damage and head trauma as a result, which, let's be honest, is kind of the best-case scenario when it comes to being shot in the head. Unfortunately, it’s left him with some pretty thoroughly scrambled memories.
Those scrambled memories have left Dick in the middle of a not-so-subtle identity crisis. He doesn't actually remember being Nightwing—he's not even totally sure who he is, despite the best efforts of his family. He's going by Ric right now, which is probably the least weird part of everything, and driving a cab around as he tries to figure out where he fits into the fabric of the city now. It's not that he doesn't know he was Nightwing, it's just that he can't actually access those memories for himself. They may as well be stories about someone else entirely.
So, Dick—er, sorry Ric—is busy finding himself over in NIGHTWING, while Bruce handles the event in a much more Dark Knight-like way over in BATMAN proper. He's in the process of literally hunting KGBeast down. You don't need me to tell you that it's extremely personal. I won't spoil exactly how that fight goes in this week’s BATMAN #57, but I will say you're in for a whole new look at The Beast and how he works. And if you've never met him…well, you're in for a treat. Get ready to be terrified by your new favorite villain.
Since we’re on the subject of memories and head trauma, I'd be totally remiss if I didn't shoot some recommendations your way for some of the other great Bat-stories involving characters temporarily forgetting who they are. If you rewind the clocks back just a couple years, right before the Rebirth era took hold, you'll find yourself in the middle of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's BATMAN: ENDGAME, a story about Bruce literally forgetting that he's ever been Batman. It causes as big of a disruption to the Bat-Family, GCPD and Justice League as you might expect, and it paves the way for one of the weirdest and most wonderful replacement Batman stories ever told, as none other than Jim Gordon has to step in to keep the peace. He wears a mech suit that kinda looks like a giant rabbit. And to any of the new fans out there, I swear I’m not making this up.
Looking even further back, you'll find BATMAN ANNUAL #25 and RED HOOD: THE LOST DAYS, which revolve around Jason Todd immediately after his resurrection dealing with some memory crises of his own. People tend to talk about Jason's return from the grave as something that exists solely in UNDER THE RED HOOD, which, admittedly is the most famous part of the story, but the annual and Lost Days will help you take a deep dive into the psychology of a boy who has quite literally returned from the beyond. Spoiler alert, not all of him makes it back at first and he has to do some serious relearning to uncover his own memories.
Now, on the less bleak end of things, we've definitely got to talk about the Walmart exclusive Batman Giants! Have you been picking them up? If not, you really should be. Beginning in last month’s BATMAN GIANT #3, Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington have teamed up to create a pretty fantastic Batman story that’s exclusive to the Giants. Part two lands in stores next weekend with issue #4.
The reason I bring this up is because this second chapter introduces a brand-new character into the mix after Batman tracks a lead for a case all the way down to a small town in Texas where he meets Jinny Hex. Yes, Hex, like in Jonah. Jinny is his great-great-granddaughter, and that's about the extent of her knowledge on the subject. But there's a lot more to come for Jinny, especially with regard to uncovering her grandpa's legacy, so this is far from the last time we're going to be seeing her. In fact, you might want to keep an eye out for Jinny interacting with some more Bat-folks down the line. You know, since a certain teen-based superhero team led by a certain Boy Wonder (and a certain Kid Flash and a certain Superboy) is coming back.
Young Justice. I'm talking about Young Justice. You heard about Wonder Comics, right? If not, you might want to go snooping around because there are some major things just over the horizon. We may be focused on Bats here at the Gotham Gazette, but this is something that's about to touch every corner of the DC Universe, so it's best to be prepared.
See you next month!
Meg Downey covers movies, TV and comics for DCComics.com, and writes about Batman each month in her column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow her on Twitter at @rustypolished.