Bruce Wayne is stuck. Lost in the multiverse after his battle with Failsafe, Bruce has found himself trapped on an Earth without a Batman, with a bat-suit that’s shredded and unusable, where his familiar rogues are agents of the state and that world’s Bruce Wayne is dead. Unable to sit idly by in the face of injustice, though, the dark knight must rise again. Next week’s Batman #133 finds Bruce taking up a make-shift mantle of the bat, and today The Beat is pleased to exclusively reveal a preview from the issue and a look at Mike Hawthorne‘s redesign for The Bat-Man’s costume.

Here’s how DC describes the issue’s main story, which is written by Chip Zdarsky, pencilled by Hawthorne, inked by Adriano Di Benedetto, colored by Tomeu Morey, and lettered by Clayton Cowles:

Everyone goes insane eventually. And then they belong to the terrifying Red Mask! But Gotham City has a new savior. He strikes from the shadows, exhumes the dead, and is known only as…the Batman.

And here’s your first look at The Bat-Man in action in his new duds:

“I wanted a found object Batman,” Hawthorne told The Beat of designing the dark knight’s new look. “This is Bruce with no resources, in a universe where he doesn’t exist anymore, that universe’s version of Bruce is long dead. So he can’t just lean on his normal resources to have a suit. So I had to do quite a bit of research. I tried to be mindful of what he could actually get his hands on in this universe. I would send my thinking to Chip and to [editor] Ben [Abernathy], and they were on the same page.”

Even when building a suit based on found objects, though, Bruce Wayne would always have his eye towards practicality, something Hawthorne kept in mind in designing each piece of the suit. “I was thinking, he’s going to be using sports gear in a protective way, so that helmet thing, I did a version that was more based on an actual motorcycle helmet, which I abandoned because it was a little too big and protective,” the artist elaborated. “I did a couple of different versions based on bike helmets or skate helmets. And then [for] the final design I landed on sort of a combination. The helmet part is sort of a skate helmet, and the pieces that go down the side of his face are based on Olympic boxing [helmets], they sort of have the guards going down the side to keep from getting knocked out every match. The nose guard and face part were based on a version of a hockey helmet I saw online.”

Sketches from Hawthorne illustrating the evolution of his Batman redesign.

“He’s got that neck guard, that’s sort of like a linebacker neck brace,” he continued, “because I’m thinking he’s gonna get punched in the face a lot by really big people, so I don’t want to snap his neck back. So everything is based on protective gear. The shoulder and forearm pads are kind of a variant on lacrosse gear. I probably would have gone a little farther and had a chest piece, but Chip really wanted an emphasis on the bat-symbol. Otherwise, he probably would have almost a combination of military gear that he would be stealing from these jacked-up police officers in Gotham, and sports gear that he would have found and stolen and cobbled together.”

That emphasis on the bat-symbol was, according to Hawthorne, the only note he received in designing the suit. “This is where Chip being an artist comes into play, and he’s got a brilliant design sense,” said Hawthorne. “I think all he did was, he took a sketch I had and just said, ‘Make the bat symbol bigger,’ and actually drew it the size he wanted. And that was it. That was the only note. It worked out really nicely.”

In all, Hawthorne said, the experience of redesigning Batman’s look, even if presumably temporarily, was gratifying. “It’s nice to be trusted with a character that’s this important, and it’s nice to be trusted to come up with a new version that makes sense for the storyline.”

Check out more preview pages from Batman #133 featuring the caped crusader’s redesign below. The issue is due out in stores and digitally next Tuesday, March 7th. And be sure to check back here next week for more of our conversation with Hawthorne about his work on Batman.


  1. Not a fan of these ‘realistic’ costumes, they invariably end up looking cluttered and generic. Comics ain’t movies, guys. The best Batman artists (like Aparo and Breyfogle) drew a man wearing essentially a leotard, a mask and a cape, yet created art 10x better and more engaging than this.

    Also, LOL at recasting Batman’s rogues as ‘agents of the state’. I see Zdarsky’s slide into self-parody continues unabated.

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