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In the final issue of Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin, arguably the best reviewed comic book starring Batman since Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns in the 1980s, billionaire Bruce Wayne makes public something that has heretofore been one of the great secrets of DC Comics' Batman myth.

Click after the jump for major spoilers and preview pages from Batman and Robin #16, on sale now in the U.S.Featuring artwork by Cameron Stewart and Frazer Irving with a cover by Frank Quitely, Batman and Robin #16 sees Bruce Wayne confess to a crowd of fellow Gothamites that he has been personally financing the Batman's war on crime, that he's been doing so for many, many years, and that in his capacity as Bat-benefactor, Wayne will be expanding the operation on a global scale -- Batman, Inc.

The fictional news broke first in a story from the Associated Press, who spoke with writer Grant Morrison about this most novel myth twist.

"We've sidetracked the media that he has actually been financing Batman all these years," Morrison explained of the long arc he's written that has seen the Dark Knight plunge through time and space and have his mantle taken up by former Robin Dick Grayson. "He is the man behind the Batman, but he is not Batman."

In doing so, Wayne is free to take his crime fighting international by building what Morrison calls a "global, international army of Batmen. Batman in China, Batman in Japan, Batman in Russia. Expanding the Batman brand to areas where he really hasn't been before."

This explicit and public connection between Batman and Bruce Wayne is one of Morrison's many modifications of the core Batman myth since he began what DC's The Source blog calls "an epic, novelistic take on the Dark Knight." Other such changes include the full integration of Bruce Wayne's wayward son, Damian, into DC Universe continuity -- and as the new Robin, no less -- and the (temporary) death of Bruce Wayne himself, prompting Dick Grayson, the first Robin, to assume the Batman identity permanently.

What do you think?


Naturally, the story of Bruce Wayne's expanded corps of Batmen continues in Batman, Inc. #1, on sale November 17 from DC Comics. For those wishing to catch up on the story, a new deluxe hardcover collecting Batman and Robin volume 2 is also on sale now.

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