Myriad comic series, television shows, movies, action figures, and other various capitalistic ventures have grossed billions on the back of the Caped Crusader. It seems nearly impossible to step into the public square without coming across children and adults alike adorned with some form of the Bat. (But on those instances in which the Winged Avenger is unseen, we must not forget he often adorns unmentionables.) In the midst of this Batman craze that has flooded the minds of so many for the last eight decades, there is one character from Gotham who has sacrificed more than even Batman, without proper recognition: one who has given so much as to be little more than a facade; one who has been pushed beyond the limits of most men; one who has trudged through the darkest dens of thieves, killers, and his own soul, yet came out renewed on the other side; the true hero under the mask. I am persuaded that it is Christopher Nolan’s rendition of the Batman that most authentically exhibits this individual’s true position in Gotham’s saga via the salvific-triune — repentance, redemption, and resurrection — in his Dark Knight Trilogy. In this poem, I have endeavored to creatively unmask this thesis.


Tragedy stains the night. A boy’s world is broken.

Here, a dark figure is born, winged and awoken,

Ever-seeking to avenge this dark night’s token.

Damned by a torn soul. Blinded by his mask.

A man apart, fated to a Crusader’s task.

Ready to betray his family name. Unholy Prince.

Knight, bent on vengeance, in need of repentance.

Knell! The death toll rings with a breaking shot.

Now a way must be sought for vengeance never got.

In the underbelly of the world, he goes out to roam,

Guided by heart and fear — He brings a secret home.

His secret, a legend, will strike fear into those who prey.

The Bat becomes a symbol, to keep criminals at bay.

Here lies the rub, the greatest joke of all,

Even this pure symbol will bring about a fall.

With him rises, violet and violent, a colorful jest,

In this game he plays cards close to his chest.

Laughter echoes — Will this Goliath catch the pale joke?

Laughter. The best medicine for a damned and weary soul.

Ruin befalls, in the night, the knights — white and dark.

In the mind of a saint, the jester’s two-faced spark,

Stains and scars the tragic heroes, both white and dark.

Ending with a noble lie, the joke has played his part.

The World’s Greatest Detective, retired and recluse.

His signal faded low. His legend hanging by a noose—

Effigy burning high in his hands. He must break loose.

With the calling of the cat, the Bat crawls out his cave.

Here he’ll find a bane to test his true willingness to save.

Inside his mind, his heart, his soul, he feels the burden’s weight

Tearing and aching. His two-faced strength fades. He’s too late.

Every inch of his black façade shattered, lying broken by fate.

Knight of the night, descending to a grave, a hell, a pit.

Now is the time to weep, to mend, to resurrect.

Inch by inch, strength arises in heart, in mind, in soul.

Gotham’s reckoning? Yes, with the Bat’s reckoning, in tow.

He, without praise, never seeking to be known, sacrifices more.

The Defender unmasked. True White Knight. A man at peace—Reborn.

— Deshi Basara

Citation Information

Donald W. Catchings, Jr., “He Will Rise,” An Unexpected Journal: Superheroes 4, no. 2. (Summer 2021), 131-136.

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