Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch changed the superhero game when they debuted The Authority in 1999, bringing a widescreen cinematic aesthetic to the genre that would shape how superheroes were presented in the new millennium. 20 years later, Ellis and Hitch have reunited for The Batman’s Grave, a standalone 12-issue miniseries that spotlights how well these two creators work together. Featuring inks by Kevin Nowlan, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Richard Starkings, The Batman’s Grave leans into the detective element of the character while still holding on to the grandiosity that defines Hitch’s work. The creative team has a lot of freedom to tell the story their way, like devoting half an issue to a fight scene with almost no text, and the lack of continuity restraints makes this a great gateway for Batman fans who want to read Batman comics.

That distance from the main Batman line also means that the creative team can focus on a relationship that has recently been destroyed: Batman and Alfred. Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler was recently killed off in the Batman ongoing series, removing a crucial part of Bruce’s support system. This exclusive preview of this week’s The Batman’s Grave #3 highlights the heart and humor Alfred brings to Bruce Wayne’s dark world as the two men banter during an investigation, with Alfred constantly checking Bruce’s privilege. The artwork captures the differences in personality between the serious Bruce and the more jovial Alfred, and this series has done a great job reinforcing the intimacy between Bruce and the man who raised him.

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