In a post-apocalyptic future, Damian Wayne dons the mantle of Batman and the skin of Man-Bat as he traverses an abandoned Gotham City.
Batman strikes fear into the hearts of Gotham’s criminals with a great deal of help from his Batsuit. Along with his fighting skills, his genius-level intellect and endless gadgets, the Batsuit helps Batman stand his ground against some of DC’s most powerful villains. The Caped Crusader’s costume has undergone several iterations throughout the years, but one of the most terrifying versions incorporates the skin of one of Batman’s own enemies.
The Batsuit in question makes its appearance in 2018’s DC Nuclear Winter Special #1, a collection of holiday-themed stories centering around some of DC’s greatest heroes. As the hero Rip Hunter waits for his Time Sphere to charge in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, he is ambushed by a group of cannibals. Low on options, he decides to distract the men by telling them stories about the Batman.
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The story revolves around Damian Wayne, who has taken over the mantle of Batman. He travels through what remains of Gotham City, seemingly the only survivor of whatever catastrophic event destroyed the world. The grim nature of the scene is only intensified by what Damian is wearing. Around his neck is a cape made from the skin of the classic Batman villain Man-Bat. Readers can easily identify the villain’s large brown wings and pointed ears unceremoniously waving in the breeze.
The rest of the story sees Damian face-off against his grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul. As the fight goes on, Damian has the opportunity to take the Demon’s Head out once and for all, but thinks of his father and stops fighting. Ra’s takes the opportunity to strike down Batman, stabbing him. Standing over his grandson’s body, Ra’s asks, “Why won’t you kill me, Damian?” At this point, Damian sits up and pulls the sword from his own body, replying, “Damian would’ve killed you after the first strike. I don’t kill. I’m Batman.” The story ends on an uplifting note, showing that Damian is following in his father’s nonlethal legacy and that he is still able to make amends with his grandfather and spend the holidays with family.
Even though the story has a happy ending, imagining what has happened to get Damian to this point is horrendous. Considering the fact that his Batsuit features Man-Bat’s skin, one could assume that Damian only adopted his father’s no-kill policy recently. Judging from what he said to his grandfather, Damian wouldn’t have hesitated to kill an enemy until becoming Batman. Although readers never get an explanation as to how Man-Bat became a cape, it’s certain that Batman’s former villain didn’t receive as happy an ending as the story’s main characters.
The rest of the DC Nuclear Winter Special is full of similarly fun stories and allows fans to see their favorite heroes in a different light. Each story shows that even in the worst of times, there is still some good in the world. Even with the most disturbing Batsuit ever, the collection is certain to warm readers’ hearts and is a must-read for anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit.
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