DC Comics is billing this series as “about life, death and the questions most are too afraid to ask.” It focuses on how Batman inhabits the minds of murder victims in order to be the world’s greatest detective. In this story, he must project into a murder victim with a half-eaten face. Batman’s faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth, also figures prominently in the plot. Alfred’s tending of Batman’s parents’ graves, specifically, will be integral.
The Batman’s Grave will reunite Ellis with the character. Here’s what Ellis had to say in a promotional quote:
My very first work at DC was two issues of Legends of the Dark Knight, so it’s been twenty-five years since I did a full-length story with the Batman. I’ve decided to revisit the crime scene where my career in American comics began, and I’m so grateful that my old comrade Bryan Hitch is doing this midnight run with me. It’s been too many years since we last did a long campaign together.
If it’s as well-done as his excellent, Becky Cloonan-illustrated short in Detective Comics #1000, we’re all in for some good comics.
This series also marks a reunion of one of the most consequential creative duos in recent comics history. Ellis and Hitch’s most-famous major collaboration was The Authority, which launched in 1999 and went on to define the genre well into the 2000s and beyond. The Authority was macro in scope, imagining the real socio-political global impact of a team of super-powered beings. Hitch’s giant wide-shot splash pages visually broke superhero stories out of more confined panel layouts, too.
For readers of a certain age (ahem…my age), few creator reunions are more exciting than this one. Both Ellis and Hitch have been doing strong recent work for DC as well, with the former re-imagining a new status quo for the WildStorm Universe while the latter drew a critically-acclaimed run of Hawkman.
The Batman’s Grave #1 will arrive on Wednesday, October 9, with covers by Hitch and a variant by JeeHyung Lee. As Hitch says in his own (charmingly British) promotional quote, this will be “a proper, big Batman story.”
I’ve drawn some covers and used Batman in Justice League and JLA, but since I read Jim Aparo and Don Newton’s Batman runs in the 80’s I’ve wanted to do a proper, big Batman story. Fellow Authoritarian Warren Ellis had one to tell, so when he mentioned it I said ‘yes’ before even asking what it was about. That’s what you do when Warren says ‘I’ve got a proper, big Batman story.’ It’s been over twenty years since we changed Superhero comics together, and now we get to give Batman the fight of his life.