Batman #53 set off some big shockwaves in the comic book world (and beyond), thanks to a scene in which Bruce Wayne reveals the current state of his religious beliefs - or rather, a lack of belief. After a some deep discourse (and of course uproar) in Internet chat threads, Batman writer Tom King has taken to Twitter to voice his own opinion on the "controversy."
In a tweet, King states that, "Lot of people saying Batman 53 (which I wrote) shows Batman is an atheist. That's not how I read that comic. But I don't think my reading of it is the most important one. Anyway, I hope you read the whole thing for yourself and decide for yourself."
Lot of people saying Batman 53 (which I wrote) shows Batman is an atheist. That’s not how I read that comic. But I don’t think my reading of it is the most important one.
Anyway, I hope you read the whole thing for yourself and decide for yourself. pic.twitter.com/qikN7oZIyr— Tom King (@TomKingTK) August 21, 2018
In our own Comicbook.com breakdown of Batman #53, writer Nicole Drum didn't feel as though the scene was, in fact, an expression of aetheism. In her view, the scene was trying to say something completely different:
"It would be very easy to read this part of the issue as a clear declaration that Batman is an atheist. Many fans have interpreted the issue this way, leading to interesting debates... where some have even gone on to question how, exactly, Batman can be an atheist if he regularly works with Wonder Woman.. However, if you read the issue carefully there's another possibility that opens up: Bruce Wayne believes in something, he's just lost all of his faith in it."
Indeed, there's a lot more evidence in the rest of Batman #53's storyline (the trial of Mr. Freeze) which reveals that Bruce Wayne hasn't just seen his faith in the divine shaken - he's become disenchanted with the idea of what Batman has become. There are standout lines like "God blesses your souls with grace. Batman punches people in the face," or "I need to remember who I am," which suggest that what King was more concerned with was an arc of bringing Bruce Wayne back to some kind of more hopeful inspiration behind Batman and his mission. To drive that point home, King ended the issue by having Batman literally go back to his roots, by donning his classic "Year One" costume.
All in all, Batman's religious views probably shouldn't be that big of a deal - nor should it be surprising that Bruce Wayne would have somber views on just about... everything. One does not simply become Batman with a positive outlook on life.