For better or worse Gotham War was a breaking point for the Batman Family. Or it is better to say it was the moment Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Oracle, Red Hood, and Signal broke away from Batman and Catwoman. As we see so much in the real world, Batman and Catwoman took two extremes of what direction Gotham City should go in the future. The result was Batman and Catwoman leaving themselves open for Vandal Savage to lead Gotham City’s villains to war.
During that time we saw that Bruce Wayne no longer had confidence in the Batman Family, and vice versa. Bruce was so lost in his mission that Nightwing led the Batman Family in cutting him off from his network. To Bruce’s credit, by the end of Gotham War he came to understand that what Nightwing did was necessary. He was no longer the leader of the Batman Family and left patriarchy of the family to Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. And now we know that Vandal Savage will be trying to make Gotham City his own after Batman #139.
Which brings us to what this could mean for the individual members of the Batman Family. Specifically, what we are going to look at is the future plans DC Comics has announced thus far for Batman Family members and teams.
Where To Find Them: Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and 30+ other DC Comics titles
Obviously the easiest place to start is with Bruce Wayne. Just because Bruce no longer sees himself as part of the Batman Family he will very much be active. Whether its in the main DC Universe or Elseworlds, Bruce Wayne as Batman is ever present in DC Comics present and future.
In terms of the main DC Universe, Chip Zdarsky’s Batman and Ram V’s Detective Comics seem to be following similar paths in examining Bruce’s mental state. In both titles Bruce will be dealing with an inner demon, Zdarsky with Batman of Zur-En-Arrh and Ram V with Azmer. The consistent narrative in this is that Bruce will be doing this alone as he has cut ties with everyone in the Batman Family except for Damian Wayne. This in a way creates a scenario where Bruce is in a similar lost state as we saw post-Death in the Family and Bruce Wayn: Fugitive.
Where To Find Them: Catwoman, Detective Comics
Selina Kyle was the co-star of Gotham War. While that should’ve elevated her status quo we don’t see that at least in the immediate future. Selina will continue to operate on her own in Catwoman along with having some sort of role in Detective Comics’ “Batman: Fugitive” story arc. Which is better than what can be said for many of the members of the Batman Family. So that could be seen as a win.
Based on the solicitation for her series Selina will use the fact people, other than Bruce, think she is dead to have a fresh start. She will be leaving Gotham City to travel the world going all in on her thief background. Though the question is there if she will deal with how her creating an organization of master thieves crumbling will be something she will address? The way it seems right now is that she is bouncing and just leaving Batman and the others to deal with the fallout.
Where To Find Them: Nightwing, Titans, Beast World, World’s Finest: Teen Titans, Batman & Scooby Doo Mysteries
Outside of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson is in the safest spot to continue being highlighted. Nightwing is an example of how when DC Comics backs a character both creatively and promotionally they can create a consistent top seller. Nightwing is arguably as popular as Superman and Wonder Woman on the comic book front, as proven by his spot monthly ranking spots.
In addition to that, Nightwing importance to the DC Universe is only growing. On top of his solo adventures, Nightwing is leading the Titans though a period where they are being elevated to the Justice League-level. The Titans being the new Justice League is going to be solidified as they lead their own big event in Beast World. Based on the solicitations Beast World will also launch the DC Universe to its next phase as Amanda Waller and The Light will be involved. That ensures Nightwing will continue to be front and center as a key character for DC Comics present and future.
Where To Find Them: Batman and Robin
Quietly Damian Wayne has been the one DC Comics character that has been naturally age. It wasn’t too long ago, comic book time, where Damian was celebrating his 13th birthday. Now as of Batman and Robin #1 he is at least 14 years old and a freshman in high school. But the best news of all for Damian personally is that he is going through growth spurt and getting closer to the height of Jon Kent. This last bit is probably all Damian ever wanted.
In terms of where Damian current status quo, he will at least be one of the stars of Batman and Robin series. With Joshua Williamson, the architect of Dawn of DC, writing the series this unofficially makes Damian the main Robin. Given that Damian will be the Robin featured in the new DC Universe Batman & Robin: The Brave and the Bold live-action movie this will be his status quo for the foreseeable future. This positions Damian to continue to be present in the Batman titles and possibly the Teen Titans.
KATE KANE & LUKE FOX
Where To Find Them: The Outsiders
Ahead of Gotham War, it was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2023 that Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly will be launching a new Outsiders series as part of the fallout of the event. As part of the announcement the series will be star Batwoman and Batwing, who are teased to be disillusioned by superheroing after the events of Gotham War and tackling problems with the DC Multivere. Based on all the information released about this new The Outsiders series it sounds like it’s taking heavy inspiration from Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary series.
With all that in mind what Batwoman and Batwing’s The Outsiders series is missing is an actual build. Because now that Gotham War is done they had a total of zero appearances in the Batman and Catwoman crossover. There is no momentum to this new The Outsiders series. It is solely being built on the backs of fans of Batwoman and Batwing. We’ll see if that is all the new Outsiders series needs but it does feel like not having Black Lightning, Katana, Metamorpho, or The Signal around is a big miss.
Where To Find Them: DC vs Vampires: World War V, supporting character in Nightwing and Batman ’89: Echoes
Barbara Gordon exists in a weird space where she is one of DC Comics constants but seemingly no creative plans as a lead character. She appears in various titles including Batman, Nightwing, and Titans as a supporting character. She’s obviously a character that will be pushed as a key character but right now has no series where she is the lead. The Birds of Prey are back without her and there is no Batgirl series going on or announced yet.
Though not all is bleak for Barbara Gordon fans. She will at least be one of the leads of the upcoming DC Elseworld title, DC vs Vampires: World War V. A sequel to the original DC vs. Vampires series, Barbara Gordon will be the main antagonist after she became Queen of the Vampires following Dick Grayson’s death. So at least Barbara does have one series where she is the lead. Though it wouldn’t be surprising if she does join the Birds of Prey eventually or leads a new Batgirl series.
Where To Find Them: Somewhere with the rest of Young Justice
In the aftermath of Gotham War, Tim Drake finds himself directionless. His recent Robin: Tim Drake series failed to hit with fans and was canceled after a year. He appeared to be who Chip Zdarsky tried to reestablish as the main Robin in the Batman ongoing series. That has been for naught as Damian Wayne is who was given the new Batman and Robin series.
Now after being given a big moment that showcased his strategic mind in Gotham War Tim Drake is simply getting lost in the shuffle. Tim at least does have the fact he is a fan favorite with creators and fans that will at least make it, so he’ll have guest appearances in titles like Detective Comics and Nightwing. But without a new Young Justice or Teen Titans title announced Tim is likely lost in the creative void with his Young Justice friends. Maybe he will be involved in the Vandal Savage plot, though that is an unknown for Tim and others in the Batman Family without anything to do right now.
Where To Find Them: Birds of Prey, Titans: Beast World Tour: Gotham
As of now Cassandra Cain is the sole Batgirl for DC Comics. That is thanks to her being part of the cast of Birds of Prey as Batgil. So she has that over her other fellow Batgirls in Barbara Gordon and Stephanie Brown. Based on how things have gone so far Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero are thankfully emphasizing Cassandra Cain as one of the most badass fighters in the DC Universe in Birds of Prey.
In terms of solo adventures or more team-ups with her Batgirls partner Stephanie Brown that’s unknown. Cassandra isn’t a character that normally appears in multiple titles. Birds of Prey will likely be seen as enough exposure for Cassandra as Batgirl. So if we do get a new Batgirl series it’ll probably be for Barbara or Stephanie, more than likely the former.
Where To Find Them: The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #12, Batman #428: Robin Lives!
Coming out of Gotham War one of the characters that arguably should have a major storyline follow-up to match Batman and Catwoman is Jason Todd’s Red Hood. Afterall, Chip Zdarsky and Tini Howard made sure coming out of Gotham War that Jason Todd came out of the event the most changed, some could say damaged. With that in mind, you would think that would lead to a new Red Hood or Outlaw series but you would be wrong.
As of now all we know is that Jason’s story from Gotham War will pay off in The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #12, the final issue of that series. That’s at least what was teased by Matthew Rosenberg, who wrote the Gotham War: Red Hood mini-series. That isn’t the most hopeful result of what Jason was put through in Gotham War. But hey, at least an Elseworld version of Jason Todd will get to experience what life would be like if fans voted for him to live through the events of Batman #428.
Where To Find Them: Harley Quinn, Birds of Prey, Harley Quinn: Black + White + Redder, Titans: Beast World
Thanks to DC Comics putting a lot of work to make Harley Quinn a pillar character for the DCU during the New 52 we know she will be a constant. Add in her successful animated series, Harley Quinn joins Nightwing as a character who will be in her own series and team books. And now that she is an official member of the Batman Family, something firmly established by Joker War and Fear State events, her status is well established
We already see that be because along with her solo ongoing series Harley Quinn is part of the new Birds of Prey roster. She also has an additional anthology mini-series in Harley Quinn: Black + White + Redder. It’s likely after that we’ll see her be a lead of another mini-series, as has been the case the last few decade. That along with her animated series getting another season Harley Quinn is in a good spot right now.
Where To Find Them: Wondering if Batwoman and Batwing will call him about The Outsiders
During Infinite Frontier and Dawn of DC one thing DC Comics seemed to be trying to build momentum for was a new Outsiders series starring Black Lightning, Signal, Katana, and Metamorpho. That was apparent as that Outsiders roster got several storylines in the Batman: Urban Legends anthology series. But now we know all that work lead to nothing as the new Outsiders series was given to Batwoman and Batwing.
From the looks of it The Outsiders will not be getting any additional members. That leaves Duke Thomas high and dry after all the build to prepare him as The Outsiders leader. This is no fault of Duke because when given time creators have built him well to be seen as a leader. Unfortunately, those chances at the spotlight are far and few in-between. Which is a running theme of DC Comics never fully committing to a new next generation hero and them ready to move on to a new hero.
Where To Find Them: Waiting for text back from Barbara Gordon or Cassandra Cain
Joining Tim Drake and Duke Thomas, Stephanie Brown appears to be a character without a direction. She seems to have been left behind by her fellow Batgirls. Barbara Gordon is busy with her work with Nightwing and the Titans. Meanwhile Cassandra Cain is part of the Birds of Prey.
Right now the best Stephanie Brown fans will likely get is her recent appearance in Gotham War where she was easily defeated by Batman in two moves. So she at least can say it took Batman two whole moves to beat her. But maybe she’ll get some hint at a direction with whatever her appearance in the Titans: Beast World Tour: Gotham one-shot tie-in. So hey, there is a very small glimmer of hope.
Where To Find Them: Forgotten in New York City after abandoning the Fox Family
Remember when DC Comics was trying to sell the idea Jace Fox, the previously forgotten son of Lucius Fox, as Batman? Well DC Comics doesn’t remember either as Jace Fox is back to his status as a forgotten character. Since Jace Fox’s series ended with I Am Batman #18, which takes place after Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths, there is no hint of him being around. That is even with the fact Bruce Wayne is done being Gotham City’s protector by the end of Gotham War.
If you read I Am Batman #18 it appears that DC Comics is likely happy fans would forget about Jace Fox. That final issue did not end on a high note as Jace renounced his place in the Fox Family after he learned Tanya Fox was not his mom. Instead, his mom is Elena Aoki, a former Wayne Enterprises employee who Lucius Fox had an affair with. The result of this was no one in the Fox Family looking good. While it appeared that Jace would continue as Batman with his half-sister Tiff Fox as his sidekick there has been no hint of that continuing. Maybe that’ll change in 2024 since he was teased to be one of the heroes who would be fighting against Amanda Waller in the epilogue of Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths #7.
There is no doubt that when it comes to the Batman franchise it will continue to be a strong brand in the foreseeable future. It is the strongest pillar that DC Comics is relying on keeping its structure up. The question is whether there is a future for all the members of the Batman Family.
As of now Batman, Nightwing, Damian Wayne’s Robin, and Harley Quinn will be major parts of the DC Universe future. The same can’t be said for the Tim Drake and other Batman Family members. Though they may have some hope given that Bruce Wayne told Dick Grayson at the end of Gotham War that he is passing on his “spot” for the rest of the Batman Family to handle. If DC Comics actually follows up on that fact is what will hopefully be addressed.