Without a doubt, one of the main things that brings us in as readers are the characters. For example, certain characters have such high popularity that when they come out in one book, people will pick it up just to see him or her in it. With that in mind, we now have 3 returning Batman books, 4 new Batman books in the upcoming months, and 2 more new Batman books after that. Are you the least bit curious who is going to be appearing where and why? Well, IGN has the answer for you in this wonderful picture taken from DC:
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Batman And Robin – in this title, which comes out this week (and I won’t get to read or review right away due to E3), our main villain appears to be the Red Hood. This is a very interesting move on Morrison’s part. The obvious speculation is that it’s Jason Todd under the hood (who was last seen dieing again in Battle For The Cowl #3), and I would certainly hope so, but it’s not neccesarily true. We also have the Club of Heroes, who featured prominently in Grant’s original run on Batman, back when the Black Hand was first introduced. It has been noted that other characters and villains will appear through out this book, but as far as main players go, Red Hood is being left alone. So who is under the hood? Is it someone we know, or is it someone new? While normally I would guesstimate that it will be a very predictable and familiar face, this is Grant Morrison we’re talking about. For all we know, Red Hood is going to be Bat-Mite.
Batman – this title is clearly where to go for the continuation of the Battle for the Cowl. We have the major mob bosses (Two-Face, Penguin) as well as the dark new/returned villain (Black Mask). Not only that, but if you look closely at the board, you can see there are not one but two Commisioner Gordons. That certainly will make for a revolutionary plot arc. Seeing the board doesn’t exactly renew my faith in the new writer, but it does make me a bit more interested seeing the choice of characters. It’s very central and very traditional, even with Black Mask and Dr. Phosphorous, and I feel that that’s an appropriate choice to make for a new era of Batman in order to adjust. We essentially have classic villains in bigger roles. It seems right. I definitely found a new interest level in the title after seeing this.
Streets of Gotham/Gotham City Sirens – originally this was a series that I assumed could be glazed over, but now I’m not so sure I want to. While looking at the board, we can clearly see that my favorite Batman villain has a starring role at some point in this series: Hush. Not only that, but in the article on IGN they state that Thomas Elliot plays a big part in not only this book but Gotham City Sirens as well, which leaves me conflicted as to my readership loyalties. On the one hand, both series seem like extra additions as just a gimmick. Looking at the cast list, it’s clear that’s not really the case. Firefly? Zsasz? A raccoon? I feel like I should have been more willing to trust Paul Dini right off the bat, no pun intended. It definitely seems like it could be better now then when just mulling over the general premise.
Red Robin – this doesn’t seem any more interesting than before. Granted, I already highly anticipate the series due to Yost’s involvement and my newfound love for Tim Drake, but it’s good to see the central villain of the series is Ra’s Al Ghul. That’s kind of a curveball considering when the Faces Of Evil event happened, Ra’s was a Nightwing villain and not Robin’s. It also should be of news to no one that Vicki Vale will have a major role in the series, and I cite this as obvious due to the Gotham Gazzette: Batman Alive? epilogue to the Battle. That doesn’t really take or add anything for me, but hey, it could be fun. I’m just excited for the series to get underway already.Continued below
As before when I didn’t really go into detail about the Outsiders, I won’t now (although they do get Deathstroke and Deathstroke is awesome). Detective comics is virtually bare of anyone so it’s not worth touching upon, and Batgirl and Azrael are still a ways away. I enjoy the At Large section very much, confirming Ragman will be in some books again which is nice. I think the most noteworthy addition to that panel is the Joker, whose fate was left to be decided by the end of RIP. See, the Joker doesn’t really need to exist anymore because Batman as Bruce Wayne doesn’t exist anymore. That parallel is gone. So is the Joker now an obsolete villain? One would assume that he didn’t die after plunging off the bridge in his ambulance, but it is clear that he has no definite involvement anymore. And even if he does return, which Joker will it be? The hyper active monster serial killer, or just the clown prince of crime?