JANUARY: Written by Matt Wagner – who also does the art – BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN is the first part of Wagner’s “Dark Moon Rising” story featuring Bruce Wayne in his very earliest days as Batman. Continuity-wise, BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN and its sequel, BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK, are set between BATMAN: YEAR ONE and BATMAN: THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.
BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN is an update on the classic Batman story “The Giants of Hugo Strange” from 1940s BATMAN #1 (vol. 1). It’s the story of Batman’s first encounter with Dr. Hugo Strange who has created “monsters” by genetically altering human beings. Bruce Wayne’s first love interest from the comics – Julie Madison – is reintroduced into Batman continuity for the first time since 1941. Mobster Sal Maroni has a part in this tale which helps tie it into THE LONG HALLOWEEN.
FEBRUARY: Written by Paul Pope who also does the art, this “Elseworlds” story is set in 2039 where Gotham City has become a police state. The story features Gotham police captain Gordon – the grandson of the original Commissioner Jim Gordon – and The Batman, who may or may not be Bruce Wayne.
MAY: The story of how Jason Todd returned from the dead is told in BATMAN ANNUAL #25.
MAY: Harvey Dent – who had seemingly been “cured” during HUSH storyline – transforms back into Two Face during the “Face the Face” storyline beginning in DETECTIVE COMICS #817. It was also part of DC’s “One Year Later” event.
AUGUST: Warner Bros. issues the following press release on August 1st…
As a follow up to last year’s blockbuster BATMAN BEGINS, Christopher Nolan is set to direct Warner Bros. Pictures’ THE DARK KNIGHT, written by Jonathan Nolan, based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. The film will be produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan. Additionally, Christian Bale will resume his role as Bruce Wayne and Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger has been cast as The Joker. The announcements were made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.
…and fanboys worldwide have a epic meltdown.
SEPTEMBER: Grant Morrison’s 7-year run on BATMAN (and other titles) begins in BATMAN #655 with the “Batman and Son” storyline which introduced Damien Wayne. Damien – who would go on to become Robin – was the petulant son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul.
OCTOBER: The second part of Matt Wagner’s “Dark Moon Rising” story begins with BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #1. Like its predecessor, it’s an update of another Golden Age Batman story. In this case, it’s “Batman Versus The Vampire” parts 1 and 2 found in DETECTIVE COMICS #31 and #32 from 1939.
I was totally back to reading Batman comics regularly in 2006. The highlight of this year for me was Matt Wagner’s BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN and the beginning of BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK. I never was a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s take on Batman, but I did like his run on BATMANbeginning with “Batman and Son” through the “Batman, R.I.P.” story arc.
And lest we forget the fanboy freakout when Warner Bros. officially announced the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT.
What did you think of Batman in 2006? What are your memories? Post your thoughts in the comments section below! – Bill “Jett” Ramey