SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #53, by Tom King, Lee Weeks, Elizabeth Breitweiser and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
The Caped Crusader’s iconic costume has gone through a number of redesigns over the years, ranging from subtle tweaks to massive overhauls. The most recent iteration was designed by former Batman artist Greg Capullo, and it was first used 2016’s Batman #51, which was his and Scott Snyder’s final issue of their five-year run on the title.
However, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, writer Tom King confirmed the Dark Knight would soon shed his skin once more and revert to his 2000s Hush-era costume due to the fact that he “no longer wants to wear the costume [he] wore when he was with Catwoman,” who stood Bruce up at the altar in Issue #50. Now, in Batman #53, we learn how he finally reaches the poignant decision to devolve his duds.
The bulk of the issue deals with Bruce attempting to convince his fellow jurors that not only is Mr. Freeze innocent but that the almighty “Batman” is no less fallible than any other man is. Of course, in a city that would surely be swallowed whole by its own criminal underbelly if not for the Dark Knight, this is no easy task. When all is said and done, though, the jury is swayed by Bruce’s argument and unanimously delivers a verdict of “not guilty.”
As the deliberation room begins to clear out, caption boxes capture a conversation between Bruce and Alfred that implies the former bribed his way onto the jury so he could convince the other jurors that he – aka Batman – had made a mistake in targeting Freeze. Rather than rest after a long and arduous trial, though, Bruce has other plans for his evening.
“Please prepare the… original suit,” he says. “I… I don’t want to wear the suit I was in when she… when I…”
Despite not being able to finish his sentence, Alfred makes it clear that he understands the reason behind his surrogate son’s request.
“I’m lost,” Bruce continues. “I need to remember who I am.”
Then, on the final page, we get our first look at Batman once again donning his vintage Batsuit, complete with the black trunks and bulky utility belt, and minus the purple cape accent and the yellow outline around the emblem on the chest.
While a simple wardrobe change might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, for Bruce, this signifies a much-needed moment of catharsis following arguably the biggest emotional blow he’s suffered since the death of his parents. It’s him taking a step backward in order to move forward.
How long that move takes remains to be seen. However, with Batman poised to reunite with Dick Grayson in Issue #54, perhaps returning to his roots could end up paying dividends sooner than we think.