Gotham City is a busy place, with a lot going down each and every week. In this monthly column, Joshua Lapin-Bertone helps you stay on top of it all by letting you know what you should be paying attention to within the Bat-Family…and why.

Two years ago, I asked what would happen if Batman was erased from existence. Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert’s Batman: The Detective featured a villain named Equilibrium who sought to erase everything Batman had ever done. I mused on that notion for a bit before concluding that it couldn’t be done. Batman has transformed everything in the DC Universe, so it would be impossible to completely erase his influence.

“Batman: Outlaw” (Detective Comics #1076-#1080) is a recently concluded storyline from Ram V, Jason Shawn Alexander and Liam Sharp that almost feels like a response. The Orgham family never actually says, “Challenge accepted,” but their actions sure feel like they’re trying to prove my hypothesis wrong. The villainous family believes that they could erase Batman from Gotham’s memory, and they have an actual plan to do it.

As “Batman: Outlaw” begins, the Dark Knight is at his lowest point. Using a magic-fueled device called the reality engine, the Orghams have taken control of Gotham. The minds of the citizens have been warped, causing them to turn against Batman. The Dark Knight is locked in a cell, broken and defeated. His spirit is currently fighting the influence of the Azmer demon, and he’s losing.

The Orghams plan on hanging Batman and broadcasting the execution to everyone in the city. Once it’s done, they will use the reality engine to erase the Gotham City hero from everyone’s mind.

Ouch. We’re really going to challenge my hypothesis on Batman being unerasable, aren’t we?

There are still people in Gotham who care about Batman and they don’t want to see him executed. Selina Kyle assembles a team to rescue him, using the skills she’s developed in her…less heroic line of work.

Yes, she’s assembling a crew for a heist mission. Yes, it’s like Ocean’s Eleven, except we have Mr. Freeze instead of Julia Roberts.

Interestingly, Batman is barely in the storyline despite very much being at its heart. The Dark Knight spends most of “Batman: Outlaw” locked up and silent. However, the story still serves as an interesting character study on Batman and his influence. Catwoman’s crew (who I’m calling the Selina Seven) owe their lives to Batman in one way or another. Their actions and motivations are driven by Batman. In many cases, he changed the direction of their lives. As a result, even though Batman is locked up for most of the story, his influence can be felt on every page. Try erasing that with a reality engine.

Let’s take a look at the Selina Seven and how the shadow of Batman has altered their lives. Jim Gordon is not someone you would expect to be on a crew with Catwoman, but in many ways he owes Batman everything. If it wasn’t for Batman, Gordon never would have been able to remake the Gotham City Police Department, purging corruption from its ranks. Likewise, Batman’s mission would never have lasted if he didn’t have Commissioner Gordon as an ally. Neither would have survived without the other.

Catwoman also recruits the vigilante Azrael, another hero who owes their life to Batman. Azrael had been trained by the Order of St. Dumas to be a weapon, but the Dark Knight helped him break free and forge his own path. In fact, Azrael temporarily took Batman’s place in “Knightfall,” one of the most influential storylines in Batman history. (If you’re a fan of the “Knightfall” era, there is a moment in Detective Comics #1078 that will have you cheering)

Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) has a similar backstory. Like Azrael, she was raised to be a weapon. Batman gave her a symbol to believe in, showing her that she could be so much more. Cassandra doesn’t wear the bat-symbol because it looks cool, she wears it because she’s proud of everything it stands for. It’s also worth noting that Bruce adopted Cassandra back in 2008’s Batgirl #6. Like I said, the man has a big impact on people’s lives.

Cheshire and her daughter Lian are also part of the Selina Seven. Lian was once Catwoman’s sidekick, operating in Gotham City, while Cheshire has had some memorable battles against the Dark Knight. Plus, Nightwing played a big role in their life story, and you don’t have Nightwing without Batman. There’s also Mr. Freeze, an unusual choice for a crew member, but I dig a team with variety. Batman’s influence on his life goes without saying (just check his bruised ribs).

Oracle, Two-Face, Solomon Grundy, Renee Montoya and Poison Ivy also assist Selina and her Seven, even though they aren’t part of the core team. I could write entire novellas on the way Batman influenced all of their lives. And then there is Catwoman herself. She might be the only one who loves Gotham as much as Batman does. The ex-paramours just had a big brawl in “The Gotham War” storyline, but despite that she will still stop at nothing to save Batman’s life.

Without Batman you wouldn’t have the Selina Seven. Without Batman you wouldn’t have the DC Universe. Can we really erase him from everyone’s memory?

Yes and no. I won’t spoil how the storyline ends, but the Orghams do go through with their plan. Their reality engine erases Batman from Gotham’s memory. However, you can never truly erase something that is part of your soul. The final pages of Detective Comics #1080 show various citizens of the city whispering rumors and legends of Batman. They can’t remember the particulars, but his influence is there. The shadow of the bat can never truly leave the city. He is Gotham.

Ram V has taken his “Gotham Nocturne” narrative in interesting directions since it first debuted in 2022. Each act of the storyline challenges our conceptions of the Dark Knight, as well as his relationship with his city and his readers. I can’t wait to see where this goes next.

P.S. Psst, James Gunn! How about greenlighting a Selina Seven movie?

Detective Comics #1076-#1080, featuring “Batman: Outlaw” by Ram V, Jason Shawn Alexander and Liam Sharp, can now be read in full on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for, 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 feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.