Since his failed wedding to Catwoman in Batman #50, Bruce Wayne has been a little on edge. And as Batman, he may be taking things too far while suspecting someone is moving against him. Writer Tom King has teased that the next issue might be one of the most important of his entire run.
“Comps arrived for Batman 53. The conclusion to Cold Days. With art by @Inkdropinc and @bettieb," he wrote on Twitter. "In this 103 issue run, this is one of the big ones.” King also clarified some questions about the length of his run, explaining why it had jumped from 100 to 103 issues. “It's 103 cause I'm selfish and want to do 100 that are just mine (7, 8, and 22 we're cowritten with (great) other people.) There'll be standalone one-shots throughout the run. One's coming up in 54. Another in 61.”
King’s run has reached its planned halfway mark, with Bruce Wayne is at his lowest point after Catwoman left him at the altar. He’s also serving on the jury for a case involving Mr. Freeze and Batman, and is the holdout who thinks Batman coerced a confession out of the villain for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s poised to reveal something about Batman that could prove he’s not as clean of a soul as people thought.
He’s also come to the conclusion that someone is framing Freeze, pointing toward a conspiracy -- probably one that has something to do with the cabal that Bane has rallied around himself, as revealed in Batman #50. While Bruce is sequestered for jury duty during the events of "Cold Days," Dick Grayson has been stepping in as Batman. The solicitation for Batman #53 suggests this could become a way for Bruce to leave the role, something the previous 50 issues have been hinting at.
The question of whether Batman can survive Bruce becoming a happier man has become one of the themes of King’s run. This next issue will apparently make for a massive shift in the plot. And with the previous 52 issues showcasing a Batman who really isn’t all that happy being Batman, it’ll be fascinating to see where it goes next.
Batman #53, written by Tom King and illustrated by Lee Weeks, hits shelves on Aug. 15