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Batman: The Cult

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Written in 1988 by Jim Starlin, and drawn by Berni Wrightson, Batman: The Cult details Batman's (Bruce Wayne) investigation into the killing of several small time criminals in Gotham City. One night he tracks multiple bloody footprints from a crime scene to a manhole cove

Quote1 I always claimed I became the Batman to fight crime. That was a lie. I did it to overcome the fear. Quote2
-- Batman (Bruce Wayne)


Book One: Ordeal

Written in 1988 by Jim Starlin, and drawn by Berni Wrightson, Batman: The Cult details Batman's (Bruce Wayne) investigation into the killing of several small time criminals in Gotham City. One night he tracks multiple bloody footprints from a crime scene to a manhole cover. The killers are obviously using the sewer system and don't care who knows it. In the midst of stopping a crime, Batman is shot. Laying on the ground bleeding, he sees the man who just shot him, stabbed in the back by another shadowy figure. When next he wakes, he finds himself chained underground, held captive by a religious cult led by Deacon Joseph Blackfire, who in his religious fervor, is determined to clean up Gotham by eradicating the criminal element. Blackfire and his followers keep the Batman in chains and feed him only enough food to keep him alive. The food is drugged and over a span of a week or more, he is exposed to religious propaganda and repeatedly asked to join Blackfire's cause. Eventually, the world's greatest detective breaks and is converted.

Book Two: Capture

Underfed and drugged to ensure his compliance, Batman is now actively participating in the Underworlders' raids and killings of criminals in Gotham. One of the Underworlders by the name of Ratface, takes Batman to the surface on an unauthorized attack on a civilian. Ratface stabs the civilian, but is caught by an attentive beat cop who the dazed Batman knocks out. Still confused, Batman wanders off, finds and eats some food that is not drugged, sleeps and when he awakes refreshed, recollects the whole sordid affair. Batman returns to the sewers to confront Deacon Blackfire and put an end to his Underworlders group and is captured again. This time, Batman escapes as the Underworlders are taking him back to the Deacon. Jason Todd (Robin) has found the hidden headquarters of the Underworlders and has been following the Batman since his capture, waiting for the right opportunity. After Batman's escape, Todd finds the masked avenger and they resolve to leave the sewers.

Book Three: Escape

On their way out of the sewers, Batman and Robin witness a ghastly sight. Deacon Blackfire bathes in the blood from the bodies the Underworlders kill. According to Blackfire, bathing in blood once every moon cycle ensures eternal life. While Batman and Robin fight their way out of the sewers, Blackfire makes his move. He takes over a television station and announces that he will be taking over the current government of Gotham, because it is the only way to ensure that criminal elements do not seize control of Gotham. A state of emergency is declared and the city is told to evacuate while the National Guard moves in to ease the situation. Batman and Robin get clear of the sewers and call Alfred Pennyworth to pick them up. Once he does so, Batman tells Alfred to drive them out of Gotham and that they will not be returning because Gotham is Deacon Blackfire's town now.

Book Four: Combat

Fully recuperated, Batman determines that he must return to Gotham and defeat Deacon Blackfire. He and Todd begin training with tranquilizer guns and rockets in the newly outfitted batmobile. Rigged with monster truck tires, tranquilizer dart loaded machine guns and a rocket launcher, Batman and Robin begin to reclaim the city. The dynamic duo battle through legions of Underworlders until the Batman finally confronts Deacon Blackfire in single combat in an arena. During the fight, Batman comes to realize that Blackfire wants to be killed so that he will be seen as a martyr and the Underworlders will continue his cause. So Batman takes his time with Blackfire, defeating him slowly and methodically in front of his followers, so they can see that he is no man to be emulated, but instead despised. As all men do, when they realize they have been following a false leader, they turn on Blackfire and rip him to shreds. Batman and Robin depart the scene and over time order is restored to Gotham City.


Paraphernalia Appearing

Items: None known.

Weapons: None known.


  • This series introduces the character Deacon Joseph Blackfire.
  • Though he was drugged, Batman broke his no kill rule in this series under the influence of Deacon Blackfire.


  • This series contains the first appearance of the monster truck Batmobile.

Recommended Reading

Links and References

Batman Blind Justice TP
Batman Family Storyline
DC Rebirth Logo

This event or storyline is specifically related to Batman, or to members of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Batman Storylines category.

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