Collecting The Batman of Bethlehem

     DC sure is hitting on all cylinders as of late.  Thanks to Geoff Johns DC is the place to be if you like to actually read comics.  With the return of so many characters who were underutilized during the new 52 or nowhere to be seen,  I think DC's creators and editors have found a way to give fans more of what they want.  That's how you run a company.   It's a lesson Marvel needs to learn and fast.   The industry is better off when the big two are doing well fiscally and creatively.

     This week I want to focus on a character whom I love dearly.  I remember when Grant Morrison took over regular duties on Batman.  He not only delivered but he also gave current creators a wealth of modern characters and stories to use.  Since then Scott Snyder's run has become nearly universally accepted as the best modern Batman run. Because of their success Batman remains one the richest characters in comics and a lot of that is thanks to creation of Damian Wayne.

With Metal,  Scott has once again taken the comic world by storm bycreating new characters, explaining the Multiverse is one of the best ways possible and connected Batman to past arcs in nearly seamless ways.  ( See Batman 452, The Return of Bruce Wayne, and others )  Now I don't know if Doomsday Clock, Metal and other current stories running through the DCU connect in some way but it's clear that they are using themes created by Grant Morrison.  Whether it's  Snyder tapping the Multiversity by incorporating the map, Doomsday Clock's utilization of the comic book as a way to experience the exploits of heroes on other Earths or the return of the Batman of Bethlehem in Super Sons…clearly DC still loves themselves some Grant Morrison.

For me the return of Damian as Bats is just another great move.

and what a great intermezzo splash it was, mirroring Batman 666.

anyone know what he's holding? ^

 

Damian's bald, badass Batman exists in a future that Bruce did everything he could to stop.  It's a possible future only.  So now that this Batman is back how did he get here?  Was it OZ?  Is Gotham still doomed to be a nuclear wasteland?

In Super Sons Raven channel's Tim Drake's memories of a world where something terrible happens to these older versions of our beloved heroes resulting in a catastrophic event.  As you read this article you will realize that the appearances of the Batman from the 666 future are often seen through visions, flashbacks or projections of the future so it should excite fans to know that this guy might be getting injected into the mainstream DC universe!

Now I suspected Tim Drake's Batman of Tomorrow first appearance in Teen Titans 17 ( add Legion/Teen Titans Special, thanks Gary Nusser! ) would do better spec wise.  His recent story in Detective was one of the best I've read this year.  But that issue isn't really rare unless you count the newsstand.  I still think it's undervalued and worth buying if you can find it in very high grade and cheap.  As for the Batman of Bethlehem, I know there is a market for Batman 666 and due to the fact that the character has a sort of cult following I think it's time to put the lights on him and his limited appearances.

 

Batman 666

First appearance: Batman of Bethlehem, Flamingo, Bat Devil ( Michael Lane ), Jackanapes, Max Roboto, Professor Pyg, Weasel & Alfred the Cat

This is one of Grant Morrison's best comics and that is saying something.  I'm glad Happy has been well received because more of his stuff deserves to be adapted ( We3 anyone?).  Not only is this the first appearance of a new world but considering it's only one issue it is extremely well crafted.  It's the tragic tale of a hero who sold his soul to the devil to protect a city in the hopes of achieving his father's dream.  It is epic in scope and design and thankfully it's not the last time we go there.

This issue has no variant but there are newsstand copies out there!

It was reprinted in the hard to find Batman Legends 13 from the UK. Be careful buying this one as there was a coupon for a Wizkids Heroclix figure and many have been cut out.

and here are some rare, foriegn printings…

 

Batman 700

First appearance of January Max/2-Face-2

Look, if you haven’t read this comic now it the time!   Every Batman you can think of makes an appearance in this book and the Mignola variants are hard to find.

1:25

1:75

2nd Printing

NOTE: Batman Legends 48-51 reprints this issue in its entirely.

 

Batman/Superman 75

First appearance of Superman from the 666 future?

So Teen Titans 17 is the first appearance of the Superman of Tomorrow but Conner also appeared as Superman in this issue.  Does this make it the first appearance of Superman from the 666 timeline?  Who knows?  It's a bit confusing.   No matter what the short story Eternal is a moving piece.

NOTE:  If you collect AH! this one is for you!  Trust me.

 

Justice League Generations Lost 14,14b

It's a cameo via flashback but another obscure appearance that collector's may not know about.

NOTE:  This book also contains a preview of Scott Snyder's Black Mirror chapter 1 from Detective Comics 871!

 

Batman/Superman 80

First appearance of Batsman WTF?

 Superman and Batman square off with Epoch, the Time Lord eventually foiling his grand plans to conqueror time.  Epoch escapes to other points in time where he is continually defeated thus becoming trapped in a sort of time-loop prison.  There he is beaten by Damian Wayne as Batman alongside Superman 2 and then some other cool Batmen from DC's history.  Superman 2 is possibly Superman Secundus who may be Jonathan Samuel Kent.  He first appeared in Superman 1,000,000 and he also makes an appearance in All Star Superman.

The Unknown Superman first appeared in All Star Superman but that was Clark dressed as the hero from 4600 AD.  We know that this Unknown Superman above is a unique character thanks to his conversation through the time telescope with Lois Lane in All Star also written by Grant Morrison.

 

 

Batman Incorporated 5, 5b, 5 1:100 sketch variant, combo pack

When this book came out I was thrilled Morrison decided to return to the 666.  The comic is as depressing as it is beautiful thanks to some killer art by Burnham. With this issue Grant proves that the 666 future has a lot more to offer fans.

 

 

Damian Wayne: Son of Batman 1-4

Co-creator and legendary artist Adam Kubert takes a crack at writing Damian as Batman and while the art is some of the best you will see, the story is a confusing mess.  Still there are some cool moments and a few covers worth owning.

 

Batman Eternal 46

and a German reprinting…

 

Nightwing 17

First appearance of Robintron ( Deathwing's Robin created by Prof. Pyg! )

This one caught me by surprise but killer covers and some truly awesome cameo's make it one to own.  Characters who appear in some sort of vision by Nightwing include:  Adult Robin from the 1970's JSA, Thrillkiller Robin, Talon, Assassin Damian Wayne from his first arc, some others versions I can't make out and Batman from the 666.

 

Superman 25, 25b

In this one Jon Kent sees a vision of what he calls ” worlds beyond days ” where he sees an older version of himself beside Damian as Batman.  This marks another appearance for the Batman of Bethlehem in the Rebirth era.

 

Super Sons 10, 10b,11, 11b

And finally the most recent and probably most important appearance.  I hope you are all excited for the upcoming story line.  I hope Damian as Batman is heavily featured!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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