SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for "Batman" #1, in stores today.
Though they've been teased in artwork for months, the heroes standing next to the Caped Crusader on the cover of "Batman" #1 have remained a mystery -- until today.
In this week's inaugural issue of the new "Batman" series by Tom King, David Finch and Matt Banning, the new characters were introduced on the final page as Gotham City's newest protectors. And unlike a number of the city's heroes, they've actually got superpowers.
The characters -- named Gotham and Gotham Girl -- swooped in at the last minute to save Batman from his certain death, after he decided it was necessary to risk his own life in order to safely land a crashing falling plane in a body of water. Luckily for the Dark Knight, Gotham City's newest dynamic duo were there to easily save the day and proudly introduce themselves.
Their appearance plays significantly into the themes of the issue, as Batman discusses his role as the protector Gotham City "deserves," referring to Gotham as "his city." But the ending leaves us wondering: Is Batman really the hero Gotham needs right now, and does he have the skill set required to protect his city?
The issue draws a lot of parallels to Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns," as the character ponders his own possible death -- and whether it would be a good one -- as he attempts to prevent the plane crash over Gotham. In fact, throughout the entire issue, King and his art team offer a careful reconsideration of Batman's abilities, and whether or not he's really fit to protect Gotham anymore.
But, we'll have to wait until "Batman" #2 hits stands in three weeks to see what Gotham and Gotham Girl's intentions really are...
"Batman" #1 is in stores now; you can read a preview of the issue here.