The Batman has arrived in theaters and if you haven’t seen it yet, you’d better get on it because this is all comic fans will be talking about next week. Matt Reeves’ and the crew obviously did their homework, and are clearly big comic fans themselves because the film is packed with references to classic storylines and graphic novels and awesome visual homages.
What kind of things? Well, here are just some of the cool Easter eggs I found while watching The Batman...
- Naturally the movie begins with an Easter egg. There is a news article on Mayor Mitchell’s wall about the arrest of Sal Maroni. Boss Maroni is a Gotham mobster dating back to Detective Comics #66, and he is primarily known for being the man who scarred Harvey Dent. (Though that doesn’t seem to be the case in The Batman.)
- Does that somber voiceover remind you of anything? Bruce Wayne’s internal narration bears a strong resemblance to the pages of the classic storyline “Batman: Year One.”
- Did one of those gang members look familiar to you? No, you’re not crazy, that really was Jay Lycurgo, who plays Tim Drake on HBO Max’s Titans. According to an interview Jay did with us last year, even the Titans producers had no idea he was in this movie!
- When a criminal asks who Batman is, he answers “vengeance.” This chilling exchange is taken from Batman’s confrontation with Penguin in the graphic novel Batman: Earth One.
- The GCPD officers investigating the Mitchell murder are from Precinct 39, which is a reference to 1939, the year Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27.
- We get a better look at Mitchell’s wall during the crime scene investigation, and if you have quick eyes, you might have spotted a “Gotham Gazette” newspaper. The “Gotham Gazette” has been delivering news to Gothamites since 1941’s Batman #4, and it’s also the name of this website’s monthly Batman column!
- The Commissioner of the GCPD is a corrupt man named Pete Savage. A man named Pete Savage was also seen in the 1966 Batman television series. That version of Savage was a member of Gotham’s elite. Is this a reference or a coincidence? Only Matt Reeves knows for sure.
- This version of Bruce Wayne lives in the Wayne Enterprise building, with a makeshift Batcave underneath, which is an homage to the Bronze Age where Batman had a similar setup.
- The role of Alfred Pennyworth is played by Andy Serkis, and it’s a take that’s heavily modeled after the one seen in Batman: Earth One. Alfred’s beard, his cane, his tough-love relationship with Bruce, and his overall attitude are taken directly from the graphic novel.
- The Iceberg Lounge nightclub has been the Penguin’s kingdom, and a den of corruption, since it was first seen in Detective Comics #683.
- While visiting the Iceberg Lounge, Batman learns that a GCPD officer named William Kenzie is corrupt. Kenzie was first introduced in Gotham Central #32, and his comic book counterpart was just as sleazy as the movie version.
- We learn that Thomas Wayne saved Carmine Falcone’s life as young Bruce watched in silence. This moment can be seen in Batman: The Long Halloween #9 and in the recent animated adaptation.
- We get to visit Gotham’s East End region, one of the most dangerous areas in the city. The East End is first seen in Batman #404, and it’s where the Dark Knight first met Catwoman in Post-Crisis continuity.
- If your eyes are fast, you might spot some cool Easter eggs on the street signs when the Batmobile is pursuing Penguin—if you can take your eyes off the action, that is! I spotted Robinson Bridge, which is likely a reference to Jerry Robinson, one of DC’s premier Golden Age artists. Robinson had a heavy role in helping to create many classic Batman characters and concepts.
A classic Jerry Robinson cover
- Thomas Wayne’s mayoral campaign is another homage to Batman: Earth One.
- A William Shakespeare bust can be seen in Bruce Wayne’s office. Viewers of the 1966 Batman television series will remember that Bruce decorated his study the same way, and that the bust activated a secret entrance to the Batcave.
- Did you catch the address label on Bruce Wayne’s package before it exploded? It appears that Bruce lives on Kane Street, an homage to Batman creator Bob Kane.
- In a surprise twist (at least to people who haven’t read the comics), Selina reveals that Carmine Falcone is her father, a plot development taken from Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory and Catwoman: When in Rome.
- Some longtime Batman fans might be surprised to learn that Martha’s maiden name is Arkham instead of Kane, but this is another plot thread taken from Batman: Earth One. Like her movie counterpart, Martha struggled with the stigma of mental illness and her family’s controversial reputation.
- During one of the Riddler’s videos, we learn that Edward Elliot was a reporter who was digging into Martha Wayne’s past before he was killed. In the comics, Edward Elliot is the great-great grandfather of Tommy Elliot, the villain known as Hush. This connection is alluded to in The Batman when the word “Hush” appears over Elliot’s photo. Edward Elliot was first mentioned in Gates of Gotham, a limited series that dealt with the founding families of the city. Those families are a core target of the Riddler’s anger in his threatening video.
- Speaking of that video, it briefly shows a letter from the law firm of Miller and Moore, which is likely a reference to Frank Miller and Alan Moore, two of the Dark Knight’s most acclaimed storytellers.
- Various Gotham hotspots are listed in the news chyrons during The Batman, such as Gotham Heights, Blackgate, Port Adams, Grant Park and more. All of these locations are from the comics.
- When Selina goes to confront her father, she’s wearing an outfit strikingly similar to the one she wore in “Batman: Year One.” Once her wig is removed, the resemblance becomes unmistakable.
- Fans likely knew it was coming once the familial connection was revealed! Selina scratches Carmine Falcone across the face, an homage to an iconic moment in “Batman: Year One.”
- When the police arrest the Riddler, they find two different identification cards on him. One says Edward Nashton, while the other says Patrick Parker. According to Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #187, Edward Nashton was the Riddler’s real name before he changed it to Edward Nygma. Patrick Parker was one of the many aliases Nygma used over the years.
- Hope you have good homeowners insurance! The Riddler floods Gotham City, which is something he also did in the Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo storyline, “Batman: Zero Year.
- Unfortunately, the flood is just the beginning. Martial law is declared shortly afterwards, with criminals ruling the streets. This status quo mirrors when Gotham became “No Man’s Land” after an earthquake leveled the city in the comics.
- Riddler is incarcerated at Arkham State Hospital. While the mental health facility is traditionally known as Arkham Asylum, this name is actually closer to Arkham’s roots. When it was first seen in Batman #258, the facility was called Arkham Hospital.
- Selina considers going to a city called Blüdhaven. First seen in 1996’s Nightwing #1, Blüdhaven is across the bay from Gotham, and is the current day home of Dick Grayson.
- By the end of the movie, Batman has decided to change his mission statement from vengeance to hope. This was a major theme in the graphic novel Batman: Ego, which has been cited as one of the biggest influences when making this film.
- As for Riddler’s new buddy in Arkham—well, we’d tell you our theory, but you would probably think we were joking.
That’s quite a lot, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from rounding up DC Easter eggs, it’s that there’s nearly always more to be found. So, did you catch anything I missed? (Did I catch anything you missed? Come on, that Robinson Bridge one, surely!) Let us know over in the DC Community, where we’ll be talking about The Batman all weekend long. I’ll see you there!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.