Batman #47. While Jim Gordon is in the fight of his life against Mr. Bloom, Bruce Wayne discovers a shocking secret about his past that will change everything in Gotham City!
This Alex Ross cover was actually an alternate for a relatively recent* issue of Batman. Because it wasn’t the main cover I wouldn’t consider Batman #47 a “bait and switch” on characters in the same way I criticized All-New Inhumans. This is beside the fact that Batman isn’t even Batman in this issue (a moustache-less Jim Gordon was filling in for an amnesiac Bruce Wayne at the time).
But what makes this a noteworthy cover? I mean, there are alternate covers to some book or other essentially every week, right?
The first reason is just that this is an Alex Ross, and any mainstream Alex Ross is probably worth a second look, even if we don’t end up lingering on it. That’s not the real reason, though; at least not for me.
This Batman #47 alternate, with it’s “Harley’s Little Black Book” titling, is a sequel of sorts. One of the best — or at least most famous — depictions of Harley Quinn was done by Ross back in 1999 for Batman: Harley Quinn #1. Though Harley’s entire character arc had essentially been played out between her first appearance on Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and its last episode (months earlier in 1999) she had never — never — appeared in a mainstream DC Universe comic before Batman: Harley Quinn #1!
So bringing Harley (who would ultimately become one of DC’s most famous and popular characters) to comics was kind of a big deal. DC tapped Ross for this classic:
When I first started working, and first figured out how to change the desktop background on my PC, this is what I chose.
So what did I love about Batman #47? Check the white flower over Mr. J’s left breast; the tux… all of it. This is the direct sequel to the classic.
* “Relatively recent” being about Christmas last year, given a stated print release date of December 9, 2015. With DC’s “Rebirth” event Batman has since been renumbered at #1 under The Vision scribe Tom King.