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Seven evil alternate-universe Batmans are coming to mess with the DC Universe

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Like, REALLY mess with it

DC Comics

Due to the particular constraints of the American comics industry, publishers must release the titles, creator lineup and covers of upcoming comics three months before they hit shelves — which is all you need to know to explain why we’re getting a buttload of information about DC Comics’ upcoming Dark Nights: Metal event.

Case in point: DC revealed today in a press release that seven “corrupted version[s] of Batman spawned from the Dark Multiverse” will descend on the DC Universe this September. Dark Nights: Metal is the brainchild of long-time Batman writer Scott Snyder and long-time Batman artist Greg Capullo. The two shepherded Batman, the flagship title of DC’s Batman books, through a critically acclaimed, best-selling run that lasted an uninterrupted 57 issues and five years, a remarkable achievement both for modern superhero comics and for DC’s New 52 specifically.

While Snyder has promised that the series will touch the entire Justice League, Dark Nights: Metal is also the continuation of many threads that Snyder and Capullo laid down over those five years, including the true identity and nature of the Joker and the destiny of Duke Thomas, Batman’s as-yet un-code-named protege. And according to this week’s Dark Days: The Forge #1, readers’ intro into Metal, it’ll also be touching some of the deepest roots of the DC Universe.

Roots like the events of 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and 2005’s Infinite Crisis, and a swath of prominent DC characters seldom seen since the New 52 reboot. The single issue packed in references to Hawkman and Hawkwoman, the reincarnating Egyptian superheroes; the Outsiders, Batman’s secret black-ops team; Mr. Miracle, the alien-born escape artist; Immortal Man, the eternally reincarnating foe of Vandal Savage; Mr. Terrific, technological genius; and Plastic Man, everyone’s favorite wisecracking shape-shifter.

But more relevantly to September’s seven mysterious evil Batmans, Dark Days: The Forge revealed that Batman is investigating an ominous cosmic event — an alternate dimension is growing closer and closer to merging with the DC Universe.

From Dark Days: The Forge #1
John Romita Jr./DC Comics

September will see a one-shot story for each corrupted, alternate-universe Batman, and between the titles of those one-shots and their covers, we already have an idea of each character’s particular leanings. The Red Death appears to be an evil melding of the Flash and Batman. The Dawnbreaker appears to be the same, but with Green Lantern. The Merciless: Wonder Woman, the Drowned: Aquaman, the Murder Machine: Cyborg.

After September and October filled with stories about evil, Batman-themed versions of the Justice League, November’s final two one-shots will feature villains instead: the Devastator, who looks an awful lot like Superman’s foe, Doomsday — and the Batman Who Laughs, whose inspiration, though he has no accompanying symbol, should go without saying.

These evil Batman one-shots will debut every week from Sept. 20 through Nov. 15, with a different creative team on each — and heroes will rise to push them back, in a three-issue crossover between Teen Titans, Nightwing and Suicide Squad called “Gotham Resistance.” You can check out the first teaser image for “Resistance” below.

Stjepan Sejic/DC Comics