With almost a month before it hits the stands, DC has released a sneak preview of Batman #9 from writer Tom King and artist Mikel Janin.
You can check it out in the attached image gallery.
“[Gotham Girl has] been infected by the Psycho Pirate’s fear,” King said during his recent, DC-produced Batman Day interview. "She needs to get that out of her head and the only one who can do that is the Psycho Pirate himself. So to save Claire—to save this one last remnant of this hope he has in issue #1—Batman has to find Psycho Pirate, and that mission leads him directly into Bane.”
This is a slightly different Bane than we've seen in recent years, though: rather than the bulked-out-of-his-mind version of Bane that was seen mainlining tubes of bubbling green Venom, we have a version who's more inspired by what looks to be a cross of Chuck Dixon's original Vengeance of Bane one-shot and Christopher Nolan's version from The Dark Knight Rises.
And it's deeply personal for him. As in the movies, Bane is in pain -- and he sees Psycho Pirate as his cure, which means he's more than a hostage: he's something that will help him live as a functional person, and that will make it even harder for Batman and company to get their hands on him.
"It’s Batman forming his own Suicide Squad,” King said of the forthcoming I Am Suicide arc in Batman. "It’s Batman working with Amanda Waller, going into Arkham Asylum and picking out a special team to accomplish a mission that he can’t do on his own or with the Justice League. If you’ve read the end of Batman #6, you know that Bane has the Psycho Pirate, who can cure Gotham Girl. Batman needs to get him, but Bane lives in his own country. On top of that, he lives in a prison that’s the worst prison in the history of humankind. So Batman can’t just go in there because it’s illegal and impossible. So he needs a team who can do something illegal and impossible, and that’s the mission of the Suicide Squad. That’s where we start, with Batman making his own Suicide Squad to invade Santa Prisca and try to get Psycho Pirate back from Bane.”
When Psycho Pirate first showed up, longtime fans who suspected it had something to do with the Rebirth reworking of the DC multiverse may not be totally off-base: King may be fairly new to writing comics, but he's totally aware of the significance of the character to DC's history.
"I don’t think of him as a fringe character,” King said. "He plays a huge part in Crisis on Infinite Earths. That’s where I was first introduced to him. He’s the guy who kills Barry Allen! So he’s played a role in the DCU for years. And then Grant Morrison took him into Animal Man and made him the one character in all of DC continuity who can remember the Multiverse. He remembers what happened beforehand. So he has both those aspects of him—he’s played a key role in this huge crossover and he also has this bizarre memory. He’s this huge character…and he’s a wimp. He’s a nobody! He’s terrible. He’s always manipulated by other people.”
Batman #9 arrives October 19th, 2016, written by Tom King with art and cover by Mikel Janin, colors by June Chung, letters by Clayton Cowles. Final order cutoff at your local comic book store is Monday, September 26th.