|Batman: The Cult|
Cover of Batman: The Cult #1. Art by Bernie Wrightson.
|Publication date||August - November 1988|
|No. of issues||4|
|Written by||Jim Starlin|
|Batman: The Cult||ISBN 0-930289-85-4|
Batman: The Cult is a four-issue comic book mini-series. It was published by DC Comics in their prestige format books and released in 1988. It was written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, colored by Bill Wray and edited by Denny O'Neil.
The story follows the machinations of Deacon Blackfire and his band of homeless followers who have kidnapped Batman before the events of this story. Following a lengthy period of captivity Batman slowly succumbs to brainwashing. Batman is eventually freed from the cult but takes a long time to recover from his treatment at their hands. The story also delves into other territory. Gotham City politicians are assassinated by Blackfire's party of followers. An attempt on Commissioner Gordon's life is tried by Blackfire's group, leaving the commissioner in a hospital. Beyond Gotham authorities to protect the city, the national guard is called in, then the military and martial law is declared on Gotham. The series also features the second Robin, Jason Todd.
It was later collected in 1991 as a trade paperback graphic novel (ISBN 0-930289-85-4). This collected volume went to four printings. A new edition (fifth printing) was released in November 2009.  It was brought back to print again with a seventh printing in July 2016 after DC Rebirth.
In Other Media
- Along with "The Dark Knight Returns", "Batman: Knightfall", and "Batman: No Man's Land", the "Batman: The Cult" storyline served as an influence for Christopher Nolan's 2012 film "The Dark Knight Rises". Instead of Deacon Blackfire, Bane and the League of Shadows come to Gotham and use the sewers as a hideout with the same agenda of destroying the city for its corruption. They begin by hiring homeless people to do various work in furnishing a section of the sewer; Batman's experiences in "the pit" is similar to what he experiences in Blackfire's lair in the sewer. After being captured by Bane's men, Bruce spends the next few months inside the underground prison and begins hearing legends of Bane's early life from other inmates; The scene where Bruce hallucinates Ra's Al Ghul return is similar to Blackfire's confrontation with Batman during his imprisonment. In both scenes, Ra's al Ghul and Blackfire express their disappointments in Batman/Bruce for failing to save Gotham; Due to Batman's absence, Bane takes control of Gotham by destroying the bridges and using debris to barricade the tunnels to trap the citizens inside; Similar to Blackfire's actions, Bane encourages the citizens to overthrow the wealthy leading to violence in the streets.