Batman is going through some major changes this year, at least in the world of comic books, where he’s currently under siege by Scarecrow while also being hunted by the new “peacekeeping” force known as the Magistrate. He’s been losing his grip on Gotham City for years, and soon he’s going to leave it altogether — at least for a little while — when the current “Fear State” story arc comes to a close in November.
But the biggest change to DC’s Batman line is happening behind the scenes. James Tynion IV, who’s been writing Batman and leading the direction of the line since 2020, will exit Gotham to focus on his creator-owned books and paid Substack newsletter at the end of this year. His final issues will be Batman #117 and the Batman Fear State: Omega special that sets up the new Batman-less status quo in Gotham.
Fortunately, the comic book publisher wasted no time announcing Tynion’s replacement: it’s Joshua Williamson, a fan-favorite DC veteran who’s not only responsible for one of the best Flash runs of the past decade but has also been a chief architect for several of the company’s biggest crossover events, including Dark Nights: Death Metal and Infinite Frontier. He’s also already written plenty of Batman comics, collaborating with Tom King on two crossover events during the Rebirth era as well as writing the Batman/Superman comic. It only makes sense that he’d eventually get a shot at DC’s best-selling Batbook.
Williamson will take over in December with Batman #118-119, with Jorge Molina joining him on pencils. Molina is best known for his work at Marvel, where he’s drawn issues of Spider-Man, X-Men, and Avengers. The artist is leaving his mark right away with #118, which will introduce a new Batsuit that’s a bit of a departure from the current one. You can see the new suit in the covers below:
The first thing you’ll notice about the new suit is that the yellow oval is finally back as part of the more classic Bat symbol adorning the chest. Artists have gone with a more minimalist, plain black Bat symbol in the past few years, so it’s nice to see a bit of color return to the suit, which somewhat resembles the Batsuit introduced late in Grant Morrison’s Batman run. Like the Batman Inc. suit, the new costume ditches the black trunks and emphasizes the yellow utility belt, with its big pouches full of gadgets. Seams break up the suit nicely too, adding a little bit of contrast to all the gray in lieu of the trunks. The cover for #118 even made it look like Batman might be going back to the classic blue and gray motif that he’s worn for most of his existence but that’s just a trick of the light. The cover for #119 has him back in black and gray.
In a tweet congratulating Williamson, Tynion teased “that costume is a clue about what this arc is about,” which could mean Batman Incorporated, the Caped Crusader’s network of international Batmen, is actually back in business, with the Dark Knight stopping crime around the world during his absence from Gotham. Or maybe Tynion means that’s a different character in the Batsuit?
Williamson made it clear that his run will continue the threads started by Tynion but will also tell a new story.
“We’re honoring the plan that the other books in the bat-line are doing while telling a brand-new story for Bruce Wayne as Batman in the DCU,” Williamson said on Twitter.
Williamson and Molina’s first arc is called “Abyss” and stars a new villain of the same name. You can see the scythe-brandishing baddie on the cover of #119. He kind of resembles Ghost-Maker with a bit of the Phantasm thrown in. The skeletal armor and talons are certainly creepy. Beyond a name, Williamson didn’t share more details about Abyss.
According to Williamson, we’ll learn way more about what this new era of Batman is all about in the coming weeks, as “Fear State” comes to a close.