DC spent the day rolling out announcements about the Batman books in anticipation of its line-wide September relaunch...with one conspicuous absence until the very end.
So, Bruce Wayne is reclaiming sole possession of the mantle of the Bat, while Batman and Detective Comics are swapping creators: Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel will be taking over Detective Comics, while 'Tec writer Scott Snyder is taking over Batman with artist Greg Capullo of Spawn fame. Both books will star Bruce Wayne rather than his protege and stand-in Dick Grayson beneath the cape and cowl.
Also featuring Bruce as the one true Batman will be the relaunched Batman and Robin and Batman: The Dark Knight, both of which retain their creative teams of Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason and David Finch (formerly the series' sole creator) and artist Jay Fabok respectively.
Gotham City's women vigilantes are well-represented in the line-up, as the publisher announced new series for Batwoman, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Birds of Prey. Batwoman retains its previously announced creative team of J.H. Williams III, Amy Reeder, and Haden Blackman. Batgirl, featuring the formerly paraplegic Barbara "Oracle" Gordon in Bat-gear once more, will be written by franchise staple Gail Simone and illustrated by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes. Another pair of Bat-veterans, writer Judd Winick and artist Guillem March, will launch a new Catwoman series. And DC newcomer Duane Swierczynski will team with artist Jesus Saiz for the new Birds of Prey.
With Dick Grayson out from under the point ears, he's slipping back into his previous crimefighting guise in Nightwing, from writer Kyle Higgins and artist Eddy Barrows. Grayson's fellow former Robin, Jason Todd, will get his turn in the spotlight as well, as the star of the new ongoing series Red Hood and the Outlaws; he'll team up with Arsenal and Starfire under the guidance of writer Scott Lobdell and artist Kenneth Rocafort.
(No word on the other two ex-Robins currently on active duty, though: The fate of Tim Drake of Red Robin and Stephanie Brown of Batgirl is currently unknown.)
DC also announced at IGN that Winick will be pulling double duty in the Bat-books by debuting Batwing, a series illustrated by Ben Oliver that will star the Batman of Africa from Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated.
Speaking of which...after a day of agita-inducing silence about the future of both the title and the writer's overall presence in the Batman line, DC and Grant Morrison finally announced that Batman Incorporated will return with a new #1 issue in 2012, with a planned 12-issue run that will wrap up his six-year tenure with the character. For several years now, Morrison's Batman comics have established the line's most important plot points, most notably by blasting Bruce Wayne through the timestream and installing Dick Grayson in his place, then by bringing Bruce back, outing him as the "financial backer" of Batman, and instituting a franchise approach in which "Batman Incorporated" draws on an army of like-minded crimefighters from around the world. Certainly some of that is still intact -- Marts says Batwing spins right out of Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated storyline, while IGN's Joey Esposito says the series "should answer the question about whether or not Batman Incorporated is still relevant." But with Dick Grayson resuming his Nightwing role and Bruce trumpeted to the heavens as "the one true Batman" -- not to mention the absence of any mention of Batman Inc. members Red Robin Tim Drake and Robin Stephanie Brown, and Barbara Gordon's tenure in the key support role of Oracle coming to an end -- it seems like Morrison's much ballyhooed two-year plan for Batman Incorporated's complicated conspiracy storyline will require some revision to reach its original conclusion. Still, the good news is that that conclusion is indeed headed our way, after a brief hiatus during which Morrison will work on a project yet to be revealed.