UPDATE: DC has now formally announced Tom King's next project, Batman & Catwoman, where he'll be joined by Heroes in Crisis artist Clay Mann. DC is yet to announce who will take over the main Batman title after Batman #85, but the announcement mentioned that it will now ship monthly and that it will tie more heavily "into the larger DC Universe and continuity."
Original story as follows...
Tom King's Batman has proven to be one of DC's most consistent comics since it first launched in 2016, but rumours are now circulating that the writer could be set to leave the comic before the end of the year. According to Bleeding Cool, this was not King's own choice, while CBR also confirm that the Mister Miracle scribe is set to leave the book with the release of Batman #85, fifteen issues earlier than the planned #100 milestone.
Bleeding Cool also add in their report that this could be down to the title's declining sales.
News of King's premature departure is sure to frustrate fans, especially since the writer was in the midst of executing an 100-issue-long arc with the character. Between The Wedding and this latest Knightmares arc, King has adopted an introspective approach to the character that has laid bare all of Bruce Wayne's hopes and fears. It actually takes the Dark Knight somewhere, in a manner unseen since Grant Morrison's reign on Batman that closed off at the beginning of the decade - and we all know how that ended.
Fortunately for King's fans, it's clear that the writer will be staying with DC after his tenure on Batman comes to a close. CBR mention that he still has "several new, unannounced projects" planned for the next couple of years, while artist Mitch Gerads - who previously collaborated with King on Mister Miracle and Sheriff of Babylon - posted a cryptic Tweet indicating that he's privy to the writer's next steps.
It's important at this stage to remind everyone how DC handled the conclusion to Grant Morrison's Batman. Morrison promised to take the character in a completely different direction with Batman Incorporated, and it was no surprise that the New 52 - a universe-wide relaunch that rebooted DC continuity - followed shortly thereafter. Morrison was promptly shipped off the main Batman title and left to tell the remainder of Inc. in a semi-fudged continuity, while the main Batman series was allowed to use a more traditional version of the character.
Before news of King's departure came around, the writer had promised in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he would "change the character for a generation." BC speculate that Warner Bros. may have had second thoughts regarding said change, but it's entirely possible that King is facing a similar situation that Morrison did with Inc., and will be left to tell the remainder of his Batman story in a separate mini-series.
Given Gerads' Tweets, might it be possible that he's set to collaborate with the writer to finish their arc? It's certainly possible, but fans can expect to learn more in the weeks and months to come.
For now, though, it looks certain that King is to leave Batman before the year's end. Here's hoping he gets to finish his story one way or another.
What do you think of Tom King leaving Batman? Let us know in the comments.