Academy Award winning writer John Ridley's secret Batman project, purported to have a "huge impact" on the Batman line (opens in new tab), has been revealed as a still-untitled four-issue limited series in DC FanDome's Legacy of the Bat panel. Ridley will team-up with Eisner-winning artist Ladrönn on covers and design, and Nick Derington on interior art.
According to DC, the four-issue limited series will not star Bruce Wayne, but another unnamed Batman.(opens in new tab)
"I think it's a pretty safe bet that if I'm writing Batman, it's probably a little better than a 47% chance he's going to be a person of color," Ripley states in the series announcement. Ridley also states the story will focus on the family of Lucius Fox - Batman's longtime ally and designer of many of his gadgets.
"[Fox] has a family and this is a family that has secrets, has kept secrets from one another," Ridley explains. "It's a little bit different dynamic than the Batman that we've always seen."
DC's still up-in-the-air 5G initiative was rumored to include the debut of Luke Fox, Lucius Fox's son, as Batman - something that could come to pass in this tale.
Ridley, who will also write The Other History of the DC Universe (opens in new tab), which focuses on the untold stories of marginalized heroes in the DC Universe, is best known as the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave, as well as working as the showrunner of the ABC drama American Crime. His comic book work includes The Authority, The Razor's Edge: Warblade, and The American Way.
José Ladrönn, who usually goes by his mononymous last name, broke into superhero comic books in the '90s with an extended run on Cable and numerous cover credits at both Marvel and DC, including covers for Batman: Battle of the Cowl. Ladrönn won an Eisner Award for Best Painter/Multimedia artist in 2006 for his series Hip Flask with Richard Starkings. Since the mid '00s, Ladrönn has primarily worked on Hip Flask, and with film director and comic book writer Alejandro Jodorowsky on a series of graphic novels, including The Sons of El Topo and Final Incal.
Derington, who was Eisner-nominated as Best Cover Artist in 2019 for his work on Mister Miracle, will provide interiors. He previously drew the Batman Universe story that appeared in DC's Batman 100-Page Giant anthologies, written by Brian Michael Bendis.
DC's Batman line is currently undergoing a shake-up as part of the 'Joker War' storyline, which writer James Tynion IV has promised will change Batman's place in Gotham and alter the way he operates as a hero.
DC states Ridley's planned story in the upcoming Joker War Zone anthology will provide clues as to the series' story - and indeed the solicitation for that story mentions Luke Fox (opens in new tab).
In the meantime, DC has canceled several Batman adjacent titles including Harley Quinn and Batgirl (opens in new tab).
Ridley, Derington, and Ladrönn's Batman limited series will debut in January. DC promises more information in Saturday, September 12's Joker War panel at its upcoming DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse online event.