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The Batman: 8 Major DC Comics References In The Matt Reeves Movie

Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne The Batman.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Warning: SPOILERS for The Batman are ahead!

While a lot of people only run into Batman when watching movies or television, this character wouldn’t be a pop culture force to be reckoned with had he not debuted in Detective Comics #27. As such, over more than eight decades, the Batman mythology has been built upon chiefly in the pages of comic books. Sure, there are a handful of instances where major Batman elements have first popped up in other forms of media (like Harley Quinn debuting in Batman: The Animated Series), but for the most part, the defining aspects of Batman adaptations originated from the comics.

Matt Reeves’ The Batman may be the most “grounded” on-screen take on DC Comics’ Caped Crusader yet, but there’s no denying that the filmmaker honored the source material on numerous fronts. Now that we’ve had some time to think about the ending of Batman’s latest theatrical movie and where it leaves off with each of the main characters, let’s go over the eight biggest DC Comics references present within the story.

Paul Dano's Riddler peeling back duct tape in The Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Riddler’s Edward Nashton Identity

For years, the man who would become The Riddler has primarily been known as Edward Nigma/Nygma (the spelling depending on the writer), an amusing play on the word “enigma.” However, in The Batman, the Zodiac Killer-inspired antagonist is identified as forensic accountant Edward Nashton upon being caught. Reeves might have felt that a name like Edward Nigma was too goofy for the kind of Batman story he was telling, but the Nashton identity isn’t something he thought up himself. In fact, ever since the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event in the mid-1980s, Edward Nashton is often used as Riddler’s birth name, and he chooses to change the last name to Nigma/Nygma when he’s an adult. 

Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne speaking to John Turturro's Carmine Falcone

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Thomas Wayne Saving Carmine Falcone’s Life

Upon arriving at the funeral of mayor Don Mitchell Jr., Bruce Wayne runs into Carmine Falcone, the only person in Gotham City who’s more of a reclusive than him. Bruce can barely hide his contempt for the crime boss, but then Falcone shares with Oswald Cobblepot, his lieutenant, that Thomas Wayne. Bruce’s father, saved his life. When Falcone was shot in the chest, he couldn’t go to the hospital to be looked at, so he showed up at Wayne Manor and Thomas operated on him on the dining room table, and Bruce saw the whole thing. This is lifted straight from Batman: The Long Halloween, which saw Falcone’s father Vincent bring him to Thomas after Luigi Maroni, Sal Maroni’s father shot him. Like his comic book counterpart though, Robert Pattinson’s Bruce doesn’t consider what his father did enough justification for him to respect Carmine Falcone.

Martha Wayne DC Comics artwork

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Martha Wayne Being An Arkham

Traditionally, Bruce Wayne’s mother, Martha, is depicted as being a Kane. The Kanes are another one of Gotham’s wealthiest families, and her brother was Jacob Kane, father of Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman. The Batman, however, decided to take a cue from the Batman: Earth One continuity and made her part of the Arkham family. The movie also harkens back to the graphic novel series by revealing that Martha’s mother killed her father, and then took her own life. The Batman’s version of Martha subsequently dealt with her own mental issues, and Thomas later spent a lot of money to cover up her personal history. However, that information was eventually uncovered by a reporter, which brings us to the next entry on this list.

Hush DC Comics artwork

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Hush

Edward Elliot was the reporter who threatened to reveal the details about Martha Wayne’s past during Thomas Wayne’s mayoral campaign, and during Riddler’s info drop for the Gotham City public about Edward’s findings, the word “Hush” flashed on the screen. Not only is Hush the name of a Batman villain who’s been around for almost two decades, but Edward shares the same last name as Thomas Elliot, the identity of said villain. Carmine Falcone later had Edward Elliot killed, and while it’s initially presented as though Thomas asked for Edward to be eliminated, Alfred Pennyworth claimed that Thomas only wanted Edward frightened and attempted to go to the police to turn Carmine in, which might be what got him and Martha gunned down. Whatever truly happened, if Edward had a son named Thomas, there’s enough groundwork that’s been laid for him to take on the Hush mantle in a sequel to The Batman, along with plenty of other characters it’d be nice to see in this continuity.

John Turturro as Carmine Falcone in The Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Carmine Falcone Being Selina Kyle’s Father

During the events of Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman keeps running into Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, during his investigation into Carmine Falcone’s criminal activities. At first it seems like she just enjoys stealing from the crime lord, but by the time Batman: Dark Victory unfolds, Selina reveals that she suspects she’s Falcone’s illegitimate daughter, though she doesn’t find enough evidence to definitively prove this. Zoë Kravitz’s Selina, on the other hand, is well aware that John Turturro’s Falcone is her father, though he’s not aware of this. From his perspective, Selina is only an employee at the Iceberg Lounge he runs into on occasion, and while he eventually does learn the truth, they certainly don’t establish anything remotely like a traditional father/daughter relationship.

Carmine Falcone with scratched face in Batman: The Long Halloween animated movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Animation)

Selina Kyle Scratching Carmine Falcone’s Face

During Batman: Year One, Catwoman slashed the side of Carmine Falcone’s face, leaving him with a distinctly scarred visage in Batman: The Long Halloween (as well as the two-part animated film adaptation). During The Batman, after learning that Falcone ordered her girlfriend Annika be killed because Don Mitchell Jr. let it slip to her that Falcone had been the GCPD’s informant against Maroni, Selina Kyle unsuccessfully tried to kill her biological father. During their struggle, Selina followed her comic book counterpart’s lead by scratching Falcone’s face, but Turturro’s iteration of the character didn’t live long enough to see if those would remain scars, as he was soon sniped by Riddler.

Gotham City during Batman: Zero Year

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Riddler Flooding Gotham City

Following his conversation with Edward Nashton at Arkham Asylum, Batman starts to suspect that there’s something he missed with Riddler’s plan. Sure enough, upon more closely inspecting Edward’s apartment with Office Martinez, the masked vigilante realized that Riddler had planted car bombs around Gotham’s breakwaters, but he wasn’t able to stop the city from being flooded. This is ripped straight from Batman: Zero Year, but it was done on a much wider scale in the comics. While Riddler’s followers in The Batman used the flood and people evacuating to Gotham Stadium as the means to try and kill mayor-elect Bella Reál (an assassination attempt that was thwarted), Zero Year’s Riddler used the flood as a means to straight up take control of Gotham and cut it off from the rest of the country.

Nightwing walking through Bludhaven DC Comics artwork

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Blüdhaven

By the time Riddler’s reign of terror on Gotham City has been truly halted, Selina Kyle decides she’s had enough. Rather than stick around Gotham, she decides to head to Blüdhaven, another city in the DC Comics mythology that’s rampant with crime. However, in the comics, Blüdhaven is more associated with Dick Grayson, who moves there after striking out on his own as Nightwing. Selina asks Bruce if he wants to come with her to Blüdhaven, but he declines, as it’s still his mission to battle crime in Gotham. If we end up getting a Catwoman spinoff series on HBO Max, there’s a good chance it will follow along with Zoë Kravitz’s Selina in Blüdhaven.

The Batman is still going strong in theaters, and become accessible for people with an HBO Max subscription on April 19. In addition to it looking likely that we’ll get another round of cinematic action featuring Robert Pattinson’s Caped Crusader, Matt Reeves’ Batman world will also expand through two shows in development for that same streaming service: one centered on Colin Farrell’s Penguin, and the other focusing on the residents of Arkham State Hospital (the previously-announced GCPD series has been scrapped).

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.