Yes, you read that correctly. In a Reichenbach Falls moment at the end of Batman #40, Batman and the Joker apparently did each other in. Flash forward a couple of months, and Jim Gordon has taken the mantle of the bat. No, the 46-year-old former chain smoker isn’t swinging around Gotham like the erstwhile Bruce Wayne. Instead, he’s assisted by a special suit that protects him while augmenting his abilities. Think Batman meets Iron Man.
If it sounds like a stunt (Batman last “died” only a few years ago) the creative team behind the Batman title promises it isn’t. Rather it is an extremely personal story, and challenge, from writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo.
“The question is can Batman still be relevant in today’s world?” Snyder said during a San Diego Comic-Con panel, adding that the storyline investigates the core of the Batman mythos.
Gordon’s role in the Batman series has always been a stand in for the rest of us. Now, it’s an everyman – complete with children, a mortgage and real responsibilities – who must take on the fiercest villains Gotham can throw at him. Of course, he does it with the help of a Battruck, a Batarang gun and the aforementioned suit.
But What About Master Wayne?
The flip side of the story on Bruce Wayne, who is very much alive, though no longer terrorizing Gotham dark underbelly. As Snyder put it, “What if Batman died and Bruce Wayne came back?” In short, Bruce comes back without his Batman pathology.
The story comes four years into this creative team’s work on the series, an eternity in the world of comics.
“I knew if we stayed, we wanted to do something completely different,” Snyder said.
It doesn’t get much different than Batman Gordon.