Dark Nights: Death Metal's effect on the DC universe is still being felt, as the event is shifting fans' expectations at nearly every turn. One of the most buzzworthy - and lucrative - aspects of the event has been its alternate versions of Bruce Wayne, which are scattered all across the Dark Multiverse. The recently-released one-shot Legends of the Dark Knights explores some of those alternate versions of the Dark Knight, ranging from the sociopathic "Robin King" to the Batman/T-rex hybrid. If that wasn't enough, the issue also featured a bit more detail behind "Castle Bat" -- and it probably wasn't what fans were expecting. Spoilers for Dark Nights: Death Metal - Legends of the Dark Knights below! Only look if you want to know!
The issue's fourth story, from Frank Tieri, Francesco Francavilla, and Andworld Design, opens on a Gotham City in a state of chaos. Prisoners have escaped from Arkham Asylum, Commissioner Barbara Gordon has been assassinated, and the city is under siege from various villains. Amid all of that is a conversation between Batman - who is really Damian Wayne - and an elderly Bruce Wayne. Bruce decides that although he can't use the cape and cowl anymore, he might still have an unexpected way to help.
He pulled out an old book full of rituals, which included the history of a cult that literally sacrificed themselves for Gotham City. Bruce decided that his only option was to follow the ritual himself, literally bonding him with Gotham.
Damian resisted this, but Bruce quickly embraced him -- only to stab and kill him with a batarang. Then, Bruce went forth with the ritual, allowing him to transform into Gotham Itself. As Bruce proclaimed, "In order to save my city...now I have become my city. I have been and always will be Gotham."
While the moment is certainly unexpected, it does prove to be an interesting metaphor for Bruce's whole relationship with Gotham City. Anyone who has read multiple Batman comics will probably agree that Bruce has a close relationship and sense of duty with Gotham, almost to the point of obsession. While Bruce's unique bond with his city has been addressed and examined in previous comics - Neil Gaiman's Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? miniseries comes to mind - it's never been taken in such a physical and literal direction.
What do you think of Batman literally bonding with Gotham City in Dark Nights: Death Metal - Legends of the Dark Knights? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!