The Batman series has been guided by writer Tom King since the launch of DC's Rebirth in 2016, but with his story will come to a close with "City of Bane" in December. Now, DC has made it official that the series will pass to writer James Tynion IV starting in January 2020 with Batman #86.
Tynion will already be known to readers for his time relaunching Detective Comics as part of DC's Rebirth, making his new Bat-Family an instant hit, currently scribing Justice League Dark, Justice League, and more. And as co-writer and fellow architect of DC's current and future direction (at least in the short term), fans can expect Batman to play an even larger role in DC's Universe in the new year.
The news was delivered in person in New York as part of the Batman Day festivities overseen by DC. Fans knew to expect noteworthy comments coming out of the panel hosted by DC Publisher Dan DiDio at Barnes & Noble Union Square, featuring prior Batman and current Batman: Last Knight on Earth writer Scott Snyder, the former Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV, and current Detective team Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker. Tynion himself clued in his social media followers that big news would be coming, and it didn't take long for the dots to be connected.
When asked by DiDio about his new approach to the book (which he'll be taking over with veteran talents Tony S. Daniel, inker Danny Miki, and colorist Tomeu Morey), and if some characters can be expected to appear, Tynion didn't address the idea that Bruce will be stepping out of the role or passing the mantle--as his happy ending with Selina might suggest. Despite the easy assumption that Tynion will be relying on the supporting cast as he did in Detective, he's aware of not using that as "a crutch" on this solo title. But his conversation did drift to one character--or at least, one family fans can look forward to seeing more of. Just not in the first issue:
In the past it's always been Jim Gordon on the roof of the GCPD, or Alfred in the Batcave. There have been bigger things in the pages of both Batman and The Batman Who Laughs miniseries and everything surrounding it that throw a big wrench into that. The two constants that connect him to Gotham are off the table or changed in some way. People will be stepping into those roles, one of them is Wayne Enterprises and Lucius Fox, who is a character I obviously love. But he's a character who will definitely be showing up... Dan, this is a hard question without spoiling things. He's my boss, he's the one I'll get in trouble with!
Other characters will be coming forward from the current run, but I want this to be something you can come into--even if it picks up the big threads... it's going to be a moment you can step on. In the story I'm telling, the family will inevitably show up in some way, but this is Bruce front and center. And really it's the villains. Batman has the best rogues gallery in comics. And there is a major rogue who is now very close to him. There's a lot of big stuff coming.
If anyone is curious to know if the main Batman series will regain a Robin sidekick under Tynion's tenure, DiDio's pointed question--"Does Batman need a Robin?"--puts the writer's thoughts on the matter on the official record:
This is a trick question.. I think for Batman to operate at a certain peak, at the best of his abilities... that makes you think: 'What happens when hes a Robin at his side?' There's a kind of balance there, but that kind of balance isn't always what leads to an interesting story. It might be less interesting than something that's out of balance, or something trying to center itself. My answer is: I think for Batman to be the best Batman he can be, he does it best with Robin at his side. For a Batman story to be the best Batman story it can be, it doesn't require a Robin.
DC previously announced that writer Tom King's self-described 100-issue storyline for Bruce Wayne would be ending with Batman #85, and concluding in a 12-issue Batman/Catwoman series, "allowing DC to incorporate the monthly BATMAN title into the larger DC universe and continuity." No writers were mentioned to be taking the reins from King, but since both Snyder and Tynion are currently steering the DC Universe from Justice League on down (with cohort Joshua Williamson occupied on The Flash and Batman/Superman), the news is less than surprising.
Screen Rant recently spoke with Tynion about the culmination of Justice League and The Batman Who Laughs--two major, years-long arcs finally coming to a head in The Year of The Villain: Hell Arisen later this year. However the DC Universe manages to survive that showdown, it's a chance for the board to be cleared--and for the aforementioned trio of DC creators to begin a new chapter. While Batman has been present in both arcs to this point, Tom King's epic has told its own story (anchored in Bruce and Selina's chance to finally find happiness together). With Tynion placed at the helm, it's safe to assume Batman will play a key role in whatever larger story comes next.
Fans can prepare themselves for Batman and Catwoman's plan to take back Gotham by picking up Batman #79 available at your local comic book shop. Bruce and Selina's story will continue into Batman/Catwoman #1 in January 2020.