‘Batman’ Goes Full R-Rated Horror in Brand-New Installment

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Batman (Ben Affleck) costume in the 'Batman v Superman' trailer

Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Batman can work in so many different ways. Whether it’s the cheesy Adam West-led ’60s series, the campy, quasi-gothic Tim Burton films starring Michael Keaton, or the more grounded installments such as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy with Christian Bale and Matt Reeves’ 2022 reboot with Robert Pattinson, the Caped Crusader tends to work no matter the tone and genre.

Then there’s the dark side of the franchise. Frank Miller’s gritty graphic novel series, The Dark Knight Returns (1986), and several other graphic novels since then have gone on to inspire the likes of Nolan’s gritty films and Zack Snyder’s DC Universe installment Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).

Robert Pattinson on the rooftop in 'The Batman'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

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We’ve seen how light the franchise can get with the Adam West TV series, and though we think we’ve seen the more violent side, it can always get darker in Gotham City.

There’s no shortage of live-action movies featuring the crime-fighting vigilante. Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), and The Batman (2022), to name a few.

Bruce Wayne screaming as Metropolis is under attack in 'Batman vs Superman'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

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There’s more on the way, too. Joker: Folie à Deux (2024) releases next year, which sees the return of Arthur Fleck/Joker (Joaquin Phoenix), The Batman Part II (2025) releases in 2025 with Robert Pattinson back in the cape and cowl, a reboot titled The Brave and the Bold (TBA) is in development, and we’re also getting a spinoff to Matt Reeves’ film titled The Penguin (2024), with Colin Farrell reprising his role of Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin.

Beyond the screen, DC has been just as busy churning out graphic novels based on the iconic superhero.

Michael Keaton as Batman in 'The Flash' trailer
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: All the Non-DCU Films and TV Shows ‘The Flash’ Has Canonized

Recently, Batman: Gargoyle of Gotham (2023) hit shelves. It’s a more noir-ish take on Batman and is described by DC.com as “a grim and terrifying vision of Batman and Gotham City” under the “all-new DC Black Label,” meaning it’s for mature audiences only.

Now, yet another mature graphic novel has landed in comic book stores, but this time, the franchise has officially entered horror territory.

Batman and the Batmobile in the new 'Batman: Gargoyle of Gotham' teaser trailer
Credit: DC

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From writer and artist Christian Ward, Batman: City of Madness #1 (2023) is a tale likely to entertain both superhero and horror fans at the same time, and is described in the synopsis as a “cosmic-horror take on Batman’s world.”

City of Madness also falls under the new DC Black Label. It sees the return of the Bat of Gotham’s powerful enemy, the Court of Owls, with whom he must team up to stop a gigantic “cosmic” Cthulhu-like creature that is sure to satiate the appetite of any HP Lovecraft fan. Several other iconic villains from Gotham City’s extensive Rogues Gallery also appear, but not quite how you might remember them.

Ben Affleck's Batman on the street chasing someone in 'The Flash' trailer
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: 5 Actors Who Could Play Batman In James Gunn’s DC Universe

Per DC.com, here’s the official synopsis for City of Madness #1:

Buried deep beneath Gotham City there exists another Gotham. This Gotham Below is a living nightmare, populated by twisted mirrors of our Gotham’s denizens, fueled by the fear and hatred flowing down from above.

For decades, the doorway between the cities has been sealed and heavily guarded by the Court of Owls. But now the door swings wide, and the twisted version of the Dark Knight has escaped… to trap and train a Robin of his own.

Batman must form an uneasy alliance with the Court and its deadly allies to stop him-and to hold back the wave of twisted super-villains, nightmarish versions of his own nemeses, each one worse than the last, that’s spilling into his streets!

Visionary writer-artist Christian Ward unleashes his cosmic-horror take on Batman’s world, in a tribute to disturbing Dark Knight classics like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Gothic!

You’ll never look at Batman’s villains the same way again… you simply won’t have the stomach for it!

Robert Pattinson as the Batman walking from the Batmobile
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

City of Madness #1 is on sale now.

Will you be checking out City of Madness? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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