It’s the end of 2022, which means that it’s a time for holiday parties, television specials, awkward family gatherings and annual family newsletters. You know the kind I’m talking about. The family newsletters that come around the end of the year that include a nice portrait of the family along with a rundown of their recent activities. Since I have Batman on the brain, whenever I look at these holiday newsletters, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if the Bat-Family ever released one.
I’m not talking about the one Bruce Wayne sends to his society friends: “Dear Gotham Elites, this year my son Damian went to a…um…martial arts summer camp on an island. My son Tim has bought his first boat.”
Come to think of it, Bruce probably had Alfred write that newsletter every year before he died. But the newsletter I’m interested in is the real one. The one that Batman would send to his Justice League teammates. As a fun thought exercise, let’s imagine what that newsletter would be like. What has the Bat-Family been up to in 2022?
Bruce would have a lot to write about, since it’s been a very eventful year. Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez took over the core title with 2022’s Batman #125, which included no shortage of big moments. For starters, Tim Drake was shot and Batman was framed for the murder of the Penguin (been there, done that). Batman #130 featured an epic sequence where the Dark Knight falls from the moon to Earth and survives the experience. I’m thinking that would make the Christmas card, if for no other reason than to show Hal and J’onn they don’t hold a monopoly on space travel.
The Caped Crusader would also probably write about the recent shakeups with Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. That epic event kicked off in April’s Justice League #75, which saw Batman and his Justice League teammates get killed by Pariah and his Dark Army. Luckily, they weren’t as dead as it seemed, and the League was able to rally in time to stop the Dark Army and restore the multiverse to its former glory.
While writing about the events of Dark Crisis, Bruce would probably spend most of his time bragging about Dick. Dark Crisis was a big moment for Nightwing, who served as a beacon of hope for the surviving DC heroes when it looked like the Justice League was dead. Nightwing also had a few battles with Deathstroke, who was being powered by the Great Darkness. The event ends with Bruce telling Dick that he’s an important voice for the future, and he wants his former protégé to help him figure out how to build a better Justice League.
I have to imagine, since these newsletters are all about family, much of it would simply be Bruce beaming with pride over Dick and his other children. He would have plenty to say about the good Dick is doing in Blüdhaven, which can be seen in Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing. Last year, Dick launched the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation, with the goal of ending poverty in Blüdhaven, and this year, he’s continued his quest to clean up the city. Dick has dismantled Blockbuster’s criminal empire, thanks to some help from his long-lost sister Sonia Zucco.
Bruce would probably write about Tim Drake’s new adventures. The older of the two current Robins is starring in the appropriately-titled Tim Drake: Robin, his first ongoing series in over a decade. Tim’s now living in a boat on Gotham’s marina. He has a colorful group of new neighbors, and there’s always something going on. He’s currently locked in a battle of the minds with a new enemy, but Tim is nothing if not a resourceful detective.
Batman would probably go on for pages about how proud he is of all his children and allies. He would brag about the good work Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown are doing over in Batgirls. If you’ve been reading the title, then you would know that Steph and Cass are spending the holidays with their parents—but not in a pleasant way. Also, they’ve swapped bodies. Maybe Bruce will leave that out of the holiday card.
I could go on about how Bruce would sing the praises of Jason, Kate and maybe even new allies like Jace Fox and Harley Quinn, but my space is limited. Honestly, I think Bruce’s thoughts would mostly be on his repaired relationship with his son. It’s been a difficult year for Bruce and Damian. Their relationship has taken a lot of hits, but it seems like the year is ending with them in a much better place. Father and son were at odds many times, particularly during the Shadow War event. Ra’s al Ghul was murdered, just as Damian was finally starting to feel a connection with his grandfather. The quest to find the murderer and bring him to justice caused some conflict between Bruce and Damian, who each had their own idea on how to do it.
This has all come to a head in Batman vs. Robin. Every father can relate to the experience of having their teenage son fall under the influence of a bad person. In this case it was the Devil Nezha, who used his demonic powers to control Damian. Batman was able to free his son, but died during the battle. Luckily the power of the Lazarus pit was able to revive him. Come to think of it, between this and Dark Crisis, Batman has died twice in one year! Way to make the rest of us look bad!
The event also saw Batman don the Helmet of Fate, which does a lot more than his utility belt does. Oh, and the volcano on Lazarus Island has erupted, and now the planet will be bathed in these dangerous chemicals. What could possibly go wrong? I guess we’ll have to see how this plays out in 2023 during the Lazarus Planet event.
Looking back, it seems like 2022 was a big year for Batman. Maybe it’s a good thing that Batman doesn’t write an annual newsletter, because he would probably make the rest of us look bad by comparison. I didn’t do anything as epic as surviving a fall from space, unless you count the time I survived a full night stranded on a Virginia interstate.
Even if my story was more epic, Batman will probably have me beat in 2023. While 2022 was a big year for the Dark Knight, it looks like 2023 has the potential to be even bigger. With Lazarus Planet on the horizon, it looks like Batman will be starting 2023 off with a bang. Happy holidays, everyone. Thank you for reading Gotham Gazette in 2022. I hope to see you all in 2023, because things are going to be wild.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.