Most DC fans know Barbatos from the recent DARK NIGHTS: METAL. But this terrifying adversary actually debuted nearly 30 years ago, and has been ominously haunting Batman & his allies ever since...

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Chances are, if you"ve been poking around the DC Universe lately you"ve probably stumbled across the name Barbatos. He"s been a pretty big-ticket tác phẩm lately (you know, in like...a horrifying sort of way), with a nice big boost in prominence thanks to the epic events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL. But the truth is he"s actually far from a newcomer lớn the DCU.

I don"t mean that in the Lovecraftian "he"s an ancient evil" sort of way, either. The truth is while Metal did invent the Dark Multiverse, it didn"t invent the idea of Barbatos. Instead, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo và everyone else involved with that series added to a story that has been in progress for almost thirty years, dating all the way baông xã to lớn the early ’90s. And if you thought Barbatos was weird and scary now, just wait until you learn about his history.


The first time Barbatos was mentioned in a Batman comic was back in BATMAN #452, in a Peter Milligan story that—và I"m not making this up—involved none other than Thomas Jefferson (yes, the Hamilton villain) coming together with a cabal of other historical figures to summon a detháng. (See, Lin-Manuel Miranda KNOWS!!!) Named "Barbathos" in the story, the demon was supposed lớn be a sort of giant bat creature that could not be controlled without a sacrifice. In the present day, the Riddler uncovers the records of the summoning & becomes obsessed with completing it.

I’m sure Ed’s friends probably thought he’d finally slipped from being a crazed genius khổng lồ just plain crazed, but the Riddler wasn"t crazy. Jefferson and his followers really had summoned a detháng và trapped it in Gottê mê. It was slowly revealed that Barbatos"s influence in Gotham mê had, in effect, crafted it inlớn the city it is today. It even implied that its powers had orchestrated the Wayne family tragedy that set Bruce down his path lớn becoming the Bat, almost as a sort of "avatar" of Barbatos himself.

For as revelatory as that moment may sound, it didn"t actually make a huge impact on Batman"s stories in the following years. If you stay in Gottê mê long enough, even the idea of an ancient demon summoned by a former president pushing your city towards darkness doesn"t seem all that out of the ordinary, apparently. Also, this was a time when DC"s continuity & timeline were in flux following the events of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS & the approach of ZERO HOUR, so Bruce certainly had more things to worry about.

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Barbatos faded into lớn relative sầu obscurity for a while, until the rise & subsequent fallout of Grant Morrison’s FINAL CRISIS. After "dying" during the Crisis, Bruce found himself unstuchồng in time and launched through the past pursued by a monstrous weapon of Darkseid"s creation called the "Hyper-Adaptor," which in all the time-traveling shenanigans was also revealed lớn be an aspect (or maybe even the inadvertent creator) of Barbatos baông chồng in the past. The specifics are left pretty ambiguous và open ended, which probably isn"t surprising all things considered. An ancient evil mixed with the công nghệ & power of Darkseid is a pretty potent phối.

Across all of the overlapping timelines, Barbatos even became the fixation of one of Bruce"s ancestors, a man who would eventually become known as the evil Dr. Sitháng Hurt. Dr. Hurt went on lớn become a real thorn in the side of Diông chồng Grayson và Damian Wayne, both while they worked as Batman và Robin during Bruce’s death và also during the Rebirth era, when he teamed up with Professor Pyg to continue working on his Barbatos obsession in the present day. You can read that whole story in the ominously named NIGHTWING VOL. 3: NIGHTWING MUST DIE.


Since then, the endless looming power of Barbatos and his relationship khổng lồ both Batman và Gotham City itself has been threading through the background of the DC Universe. He"s evolved inlớn a sort of demonic boogeyman, always just out of reach and just out of sight but never really gone.

Now that you’ve read Metal, or if you’re planning on reading it when the collection is released next month, it’s a great time khổng lồ start exploring these threads, both old and new. When you appreciate how long ago these seeds were planted, and how Metal really brings them all khổng lồ a head, it enhances Snyder and Capullo’s already pretty epic story immensely. Even better, it’s easy lớn vày. Just pichồng up DARK DAYS: THE ROAD TO METAL, which gathers up the clues and starts to lớn pour fuel into lớn the fires. This new collection actually includes issues from Final Crisis, BATMAN: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE and NIGHTWING that touch on everything I mention above sầu, along with the two “Dark Days” prequel comics that were released prior lớn Metal. Together, they show that the seeds of the DCU’s recent events were planted quite a while ago, và that Barbatos has been waiting for this moment for a long, long time.

DARK DAYS: THE ROAD TO METAL by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jyên ổn Lee, Andy Kubert, John Romita Jr. and more is now available in print & as a digital download. Look for the deluxe cộ graphic novel collection of DARK NIGHTS: METAL everywhere on June 12, 2018.