Batman 80: The New 52 to ‘Dark Nights: Metal’

The Dark Knight is celebrating his 80th birthday! (Logo property of DC Comics)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

Jake’s Take is celebrating Batman’s 80th anniversary by creating CliffsNotes versions of Batman’s publication history from post-Crisis on Infinite Earths to now.  In case you missed it, part one covered 1986 to 1999, while part two covered the 2000s to Flashpoint.  

(Warning! Spoilers are ahead!)

Flashpoint’s conclusion rapidly changed the DC Comics’ continuity and led into the companywide The New 52 initiative.  While several characters went under controversial transformations, the Batman family remained relativity intact.  Creators Grant Morrison, Tony S. Daniel, and the creative teams of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason were some of the professionals that guided the Dark Knight’s world during this time.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo introduced the Court of Owls in “The New 52.” (Artwork property of DC Entertainment)

The Court of Owls

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo kickstarted their legendary run on Batman, Vol. 2 by introducing a terrifying crime organization. The Court of Owls emerged from the shadows and tried to take back Gotham City from the Dark Knight and his allies. This secretive group ordered its assassins, the Talons, to murder Gotham’s influential leaders. While the Batman Family was able to defeat them, the Court of Owls continue to stalk Gotham.

Death of the Family

At The New 52’s start, the Joker underwent a horrifying rebirth beginning when the Dollmaker cut off his face at the end of Detective Comics, Vol. 2’s debut issue.  After the Gotham City Police Department kept his face in storage, the Clown Prince of Crime returned to Gotham, reclaimed his face, and began his most personal attack against Batman and his family.  Throughout “Death of the Family,” Joker’s reign of terror targeted Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin (Damian), plus tortured Alfred. Eventually, the Dark Knight defeats his archrival, but it comes at a significant cost, he lost his proteges’ trust.

RIP Damian…For Now

As “Death of the Family” concluded, Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated heated up. Before  Flashpoint, Morrison revealed that Talia al Ghul was the leader of the rising crime organization Leviathan.  When The New 52 began, Talia began her campaign against Batman and her son which lead to a heated confrontation where the Daughter of the Demon’s right hand, the Heretic, killed Damian. Spryal agent and former Batman ally Kathy Kane killed Talia and Batman buried both his son and former lover.  

‘Zero Year’ showcased the Dark Knight’s first year in Gotham. (Artwork property of DC Comics)

Zero Year

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo delivered a massive yearlong story called “Zero Year.” The arc focused on Batman’s early adventures in Gotham City. While the Dark Knight briefly faced off the Red Hood Gang and Doctor Death, the Riddler served as “Zero Year’s” primary antagonist. The Prince of Puzzles successfully flooded the city and held the city hostage. Eventually, Batman worked with Lucius Fox, James Gordon, and the US Army to defeat Riddler. Batman’s actions and the usage of the Bat Signal inspire ordinary people (Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Selina Kyle) who would become his closet allies.

“The Hunt for Robin”/”Robin Rises”

While Batman explored the “Zero Year,” “The Hunt for Robin” heated up in the pages of Batman and Robin, Vol. 2. The creative team of Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason showcased Ra’s Al Ghul decided exhume Damian and Talia’s bodies and remove them from Wayne Manor. An enraged Dark Knight hunted down the Demon’s Head and worked with Aquaman, Frankenstein, and Wonder Woman along the way. Just as the two dueled, Glorious Godfrey and an army of Parademons arrived via Boom Tube and took Damian’s body, because Ra’s hid one of Darkseid’s artifacts in Robin’s sarcophagus. 

The second part of the story arc, “Robin Rises,” showcased a determined Dark Knight who wanted to go to Apokolips. While the Justice League refused his request, Batman gathered his family and they successfully traveled to the hellish planet. Eventually, the Caped Crusader confronted the God of Evil and through an impeccable process, Damian is successfully resurrected.

The Joker’s “Endgame”

Sadly, Damian’s resurrection came at a horrible time. In the pages of Batman, Vol. 2, Joker returned to Gotham City with a vengeance. He successfully poisoned the Justice League and hid under the Dark Knight’s nose disguised as Arkham orderly Eric Border. In addition to revealing that he was immortal, the Clown Prince announced that he released a deadly airborne pathogen that is activated by laughter onto the city.  To make matter worse, Joker knew Batman’s true identity, discovered the Batcave, and maimed Alfred.  The archrivals fought in their ‘final battle’ in an explosive climax.

Batman creative team San Diego Comic-Con

James Gordon’s had a short stint as the Caped Crusader. (Artwork by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki & FCO Plascencia & property of DC Comics)


Following the apparent death of Batman, businesswoman Geri Powers commissioned James Gordon to become the city’s caped crusader. Reluctantly, the Commissioner dawned the cape and cowl. His first task was to deal with the rising threat of Mister Bloom. While Gordon dealt with protecting Gotham City, an amnesiac Bruce Wayne was discovered in a Gotham Park. Throughout the story arc, Bruce recovered his memories and recommitted to his war on crime.  Batman teamed up with Gordon and together, the duo was able to defeat Mister Bloom.  “Superheavy’s” conclusion saw Gordon abandon the cowl and reclaim his job at the Gotham City Police Department.

Gotham Knights

In 2016, DC Comics released a companywide initiative called DC Rebirth. One of its significant components was returning Detective Comics to its original numbering.  James Tynion IV took over the legendary title and created the Gotham Knights. Batman and Batwoman co-lead the team that consisted of Red Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler, Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Clayface, Batwing, and Azrael. From Detective Comics issue 934 to 974, this team dealt with new adversaries such as the Colony and the Victim Syndicate.  The group sadly disbanded after Batwoman killed an out of control Clayface.  The team briefly reunited to take down Ulysses Armstrong, who possessed Brother Eye and the OMACs.

(Artwork property of DC Comics)

Dark Nights: Metal

During the summer of 2017, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo took the DC Universe on a wild ride. Dark Nights: Metal showcased the introduction of the Dark Multiverse. At the center of this epic mini-series was Barbatos, a vicious evil god. He surrounded himself a group of malevolent beings who were essentially Evil Batmen (and Batwoman). Their leader was the horrifying Batman Who Laughs (a Batman fused with the Joker’s morals). While the heroes were able to defeat Barbatos, it came with a massive consequence: the Source Wall’s crash.

Next week, Detective Comics will celebrate its milestone 1000th issue! A plethora of creators including Dennis O’Neil, Geoff Johns, Kevin Smith, Paul Dini, Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, Kelley Jones, Tony S. Daniel, and Greg Capullo will join series writer Peter J. Tomasi in commemorating this impeccable milestone.

For more information about the Dark Knight’s adventures, head to DC Comics’ website.


  1. […] Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, one of DC Comics’ blockbuster creative teams, kicked off the milestone issue. The duo finally put an end to one of Batman’s longest capers. After a massive scavenger hunt, the trail leads Batman to one of Detective Comics’ legendary characters: Slam Bradley. […]

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar