The last few months have seen some huge changes for Batman. First of all, he’s not even Bruce Wayne—he’s a heavily armored Jim Gordon. Bruce can’t remember being Batman, and arguably doesn’t want to be him again. But today’s issue of Batman has begun to tease some big changes to the new normal.
Spoilers ahead for Batman #47, out today, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, and FCO Plascencia.
Pretty much three major things happen in this Batman #47, which sees Jim cornered by his current arch-nemesis Bloom, who’s taken over control of his Batsuit and wants to use it to turn the new Batman into Jim Gordon-Flavored Bat-paste. The first is that Gordon finds himself having to battle against his own suit, and ultimately has to make a sacrifice to get the edge over Bloom again:
Poor bunny-Batsuit, we hardly knew ye. It wasn’t the greatest look for Batman, but hey, I guess this means Jim will run around in his steath suit some more... or at least hope that GCPD can afford a new mech.
But while Jim deals with Bloom, Batman #47 also picks up with Bruce, who has a run-in with current Robin (one of many) Duke Thomas. Duke’s been doing his own investigations into the Penguin (and has his own set of problems in the new event series Robin War) but he has a bigger frustration: that Bruce can’t remember being Batman.
Duke actually goes a bit crazy about this; after Bruce saves his butt from the Penguin and his goons (Duke is a regular visitor of Bruce’s kids center, and he quickly discovered what the young Robin-ite was up to), Duke gets outlandishly mad at him for saving his life. If Bruce can do that, why can’t he put the pieces together and remember what he spent almost his entire adult life doing? Kind of a dick move there, Duke.
A close encounter with a train later, Duke’s words echo enough with Bruce that he’s about to come to a major realization. He returns to where he thinks he had a major accident that gave him his damaged memory, and tries to get himself to say that he’s Batman, to see if it’ll spark anything (which would be unfortunate, considering most of his best super-powered friends have moved on to accepting Jim as the new Batman and part of their team). But as it happens, he’s interrupted by someone. Someone, unbeknownst to Bruce, he’s all too familiar with...
Yup. In a move that should be a surprise to no one who’s picked up a comic book in the last 50 years, the Joker is alive and well—and looking a lot less roughed up than he was when we last saw him. Let’s all put on our best “feigned surprise” faces and hope they still look convincing.
I mean, if Bruce survived the events that allegedly killed Batman and the Joker, you just had to know he did, right? The more things change, the more they stay the same—and that is taken to heart in the world of comic book deaths. But is this Joker in the same situation Bruce is? Does he remember who he was? Does he know who Bruce is? How long until both of them are inevitably back punching the living crap out of each other as Gotham’s mightiest foes again?
It’s perhaps a little unsurprising to see that Batman might be moving towards an endgame for this Jim Gordon era, with the return of the Joker and Bruce slowly beginning to realize he was Batman. After all, change in comics is something that rarely sticks around for long—but it’ll be interesting to see where Snyder goes with this. Might we have a future where there’s two Batmen running around in Gotham? Is the Joker back for good again? We’ll have to wait and see.