SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Detective Comics #967 by James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez, on sale now.
When James Tynion IV took over the writing chores on Detective Comics last year, he immediately established a new and lesser-used dynamic for the title by turning it into a team book, featuring extended members of the Bat-family as a firmly defined, cohesive unit. More than 30 issues into his run, though, the name of the team had become conspicuous by its lack of mention, both by fandom and by the group’s members themselves.
The team shall go unnamed no longer, however, as Tynion finally addresses that omission in Detective Comics #967, and officially unveils the moniker for Gotham’s only super-team. And no, it’s not the Bats in the Belfry, thankfully.
Batman and the Insiders?
Is it the Bat-Men? The Bat-vengers? No, and no. As it turns out, the team’s name had been bouncing around in Tim Drake’s head all this time, but his capture by Mr. Oz back in issue #942 precluded him from being able to share it with the others. Batman himself couldn’t be bothered with such trivialities, of course, and no one else on the team apparently ever gave it much thought. The Batman League of America? Or WildBATs, perhaps? Forget it – the conglomeration of Batwoman, Red Robin, Batwing, Spoiler, Orphan, Azrael, and Clayface has been officially dubbed by Tim as none other than… the Gotham Knights.
Of course, that name has been used by a Gotham sports team or two over the years, but try finding any mention of that in the Gotham Gazette. Tim’s designation for the team’s identity is otherwise perfect – their patriarch has long been known as The Dark Knight, the homonym “knight” is fitting for a city synonymous with “night,” and, well, Azrael really is a knight. And, like any such dutiful soldier, each member of the team serves and protects the city not unlike how traditional knights would fight for their sovereign king or queen.
Not to mention, as Tim notes, there is a literal round table built into the Belfry, as shown in issue #944. The name seems kind of obvious, now.
Where Have We Heard That Name Before?
Fans might also recall the ongoing Batman: Gotham Knights series that was launched in 2000 and ran for six years, and was also centered around various members of the extended Bat-family. Largely remembered for Brian Bolland’s stunning covers throughout the first half of the title’s run, the comic was more of a team-up title than a true team book, but had its share of worthwhile stories by writers Devin Grayson, Scott Beatty and a roster of talented artists. The series is also remembered for its Batman: Black and White backup features, which were inspired by the like-named and well-received miniseries from several years earlier.
The name also reinforces the positive aspect of the term “knight” as it relates to Batman, acting as something of a counter to the attention being given to the name in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Nights: Metal event. In that series, as most fans are aware, various evil incarnations of Batman, called the Dark Knights, are currently in the midst of a devastating incursion from the Dark Multiverse into our own. The Gotham Knights who reside in a shining tower over Gotham and serve as its protectors are a fitting counterbalance to the invading Dark Knights from the underbelly of the DC Comics Multiverse.
The Team With A New Name might be taking a back seat next issue, though, as Tim will be facing off against his future self in the conclusion of “A Lonely Place of Living.” Detective Comics #968 goes on sale November 8.
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