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Batman – The Cult (Review/Retrospective)

23rd July is Batman Day, celebrating the character’s 75th anniversary. To celebrate, this July we’re taking a look at some new and classic Batman (and Batman related) stories. Check back daily for the latest review.

The Dark Knight Returns has a lot to answer for.

Although written “out of continuity” as the last Batman story, critically deconstructing and examining the Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight Returns remains a hugely influential piece of the Batman canon. It’s a story that was hugely influential in comics as a whole, but which understandably had a major influence on Batman. To pick an easy example, both of the recent “guiding” writers on the Batman franchise – Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison – can be seen to react to The Dark Knight Returns a variety of ways.

They are dead to him.

They are dead to him.

In a way, no author was more responsible for porting over concepts from The Dark Knight Returns as effectively as Jim Starlin. Although Starlin is perhaps most associated with Marvel’s cosmic saga, the author did write two massively iconic and distinctive Batman stories. Starlin was the author who wrote A Death in the Family, the story that killed off Jason Todd. He also wrote The Cult, a story about Gotham under siege from an evil religious leader who manages to “break” Batman.

The Cult itself was influential. Aspects of The Cult can be seen in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, a story about an urban uprising from the sewers and Batman’s attempts to rebuild himself to save Gotham. Unfortunately, as with Starlin’s other iconic Batman story, there’s a sense that The Cult works better in theory than in execution.

A Deacon of light...

A Deacon of light…

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