After years of updates, Batman is returning to his classic costume in the pages of DC Comics. And even better - he's doing it for the best possible reason.
The reboot of DC's universe back in 2011 saw the main Batsuit changed to a streamlined, black and grey body armor one step closer to the movies. Batman: Rebirth returned a splash of yellow to the mix, but Bruce Wayne is finally going back to the Batsuit considered by many as the best one he ever wore.
Black underwear, cloth utility belt, and all.
The artwork of coming Batman comics let the cat out of the bag where the Dark Knight's new (old) costume is concerned, so writer Tom King was on hand to explain the rationale behind it all during San Diego Comic-Con. And believe it or not, Batman returning to his older suit has everything to do with story. Because it's his heartbreaking wedding to Catwoman leads Bruce Wayne to pull it out of storage:
There's big ideas and small ideas. The small idea, the in-story idea, is that at the end of this arc... Batman decides he needs to rebuild himself. Well, two things. He's like, 'I can't wear the costume I was in when I was with her.' You ever have that moment, where you just can't wear your favorite t-shirt because it reminds you of that girl, or reminds you of that dude? And then he says, 'I want to go back to classic, I want to go back to where I was, I want to remember how I built this whole system. And I want to remember who I am.' So he goes back to the classic costume.
Take a look at the return of the classic in Tony S. Daniel's cover art to Batman #55 below:
King went on to emphasize that all the frustration, anger, and heartache felt by fans when Batman and Catwoman's wedding was spoiled is exactly what Bruce is feeling, too. Hence his attempt to return to a time when he was strongest. Sharpest. And to King, when he looked his most iconic:
So that's the in-story reason. The out of story reason... I just think you can't improve on perfection. To me, my kids, when they close their eyes, what they see as Batman is they see that. They see the trunks, they see the cape, they see the bat. And when they close their eyes, what they see as Superman is what Bendis is doing with Superman. That's some sort of ideal version that almost lives in the Platonic part of our brain, and we're bringing that back into DC... embracing that history of what superheroes mean to this country, and what they mean to our people, and what they mean to you as fans.
Its hard to argue with King's logic, since the same will be true for many other comic book fans. Picture a comic book Batman in your mind, and odds are high that the image will be some variation on the one seen in the Batman: Hush series, penciled by Jim Lee, inked by Scott Williams, and colored by Alex Sinclair. A Batsuit that, in hindsight, defies logic... because who really thinks about Batman's cape and cowl as slightly blue these days, not black? His underwear, worn proudly over grey tights? His utility belt made from canvas, not cutting-edge tech?
If you're a Batman fan among those rejoicing at this return to past form, be sure to enjoy it. In the world of comic books, nothing lasts forever (and some things hardly last at all).
Batman #55 will be released on September 19th by DC Comics.