Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Batman: The Cult” as Want to Read:
Batman: The Cult
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Batman: The Cult

(Batman: Miniseries)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,726 ratings  ·  164 reviews
A new printing of the classic Batman tale collecting the 4-issue miniseries from 1989. Deacon Blackfire, a charismatic shaman with roots as old as Gotham City itself, has amassed the city's homeless into an army, one he seemingly uses to fight crime. But Blackfire has a hidden agenda!
Paperback, 184 pages
Published December 15th 2009 by DC Comics (first published 1988)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Batman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Batman

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,726 ratings  ·  164 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Batman: The Cult
Jim Starlin writing Batman! ‘Nuff said!

This TPB collects “Batman: The Cult” #1-4.

Creative Team:

Writer: Jim Starlin

Illustrator: Bernie Wrightson


You know that you’re about to get a thrill, when Jim Starlin is writing and even more if it’s something for DC, and even more and more if it’s about Batman.

Since Jim Starlin is a big name in the comic book’s business but he has been more prolific in Marvel, being responsible of epic works like The Death of Captain Marvel
If Knightfall details Batman’s physical destruction, The Cult details his mental destruction—in all its gritty pulp and horror illustration. In only four issues, Jim Starlin covers a crisis of despotism, mass hypnosis, and brutal violence in Gotham. So paramount is this story that its details—despotic state, underground army, lynchings, blown bridges—partly inspired Nolan’s third Batman film. One of my all time favorite Bat titles.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A very odd and stark Batman story. Batman gets brainwashed by a cult and spends half the book trying to determine what's real. He suffers through a lot of self-doubt as the cultists take over Gotham before he returns to kick their asses. There's a lot of elements here used in The Dark Knight Rises. Unfortunately, Starlin also borrows the talking head news reports from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. If there's one way to kill a story's momentum, it's a couple of pages of news reporters talking. ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Everyone has their own reasons for reading super-hero comics. Most nerds love super-heroes because of their super-human strength, can fly or have pimp green rings. Everyone knows that nerds read Batman because he gets the job done without having a bunch of awesome powers. Fanboys boast about his mad preparation skills, his Bat-gadgets and all the training he received from masters in various martial arts. He always beats his enemies...that changes in "The Cult". The Dark Knight faces an enemy ...more
Sam Quixote
Aug 18, 2012 rated it did not like it

A seemingly immortal charismatic con-man called Deacon Blackfire comes to Gotham and begins recruiting the city's homeless as members of his cult of personality, brainwashing them somehow into doing his bidding. There become so many that they overwhelm the city's police forces - and even Batman.

My problems with this book are many: Batman gets captured by the brainwashed homeless. Ok, so apparently homeless people become highly effective fighters once brainwashed. Batman gets caught in
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of The Dark Knight Rises
A mysterious figure by the name of Deacon Blackfire has a plan for Gotham City. Gathering the homeless and the distressed, Blackfire amasses an army to obliterate crime from the streets of Gotham. However, what good is a group of vigilantes if The Batman is still patrolling the streets? Blackfire captures The Dark Knight and by using a method of brainwashing, convinces The Caped Crusader that he is truly Gotham’s savoir. Are Blackfire’s intentions pure or does he have a hidden agenda?

For the
This is the weirdest Batman story I have ever read, and I have very mixed feelings about it (some spoilers ahead).

First of all, this version of batman is a very low-tech "world's greatest detective" batman. He carefully investigates crime scenes like he is Sherlock Holmes, but don't expect him to pull many gadgets out of his utility belt (Robin does quite a bit of that, however). When he needs to contact Alfred, he has to find a payphone and have a limo come and get him. When he does need
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, superhumans
This is a four issue mini, published in 1988. For historical context, it's one year after Year One, one year before Jason Todd gets voted to death, and the same year as The Killing Joke. So it is dark, to say the least. Batman gets kidnapped and brainwashed by a murderous cult, which then goes on to take over Gotham City. Nearly all of the violence happens on panel, so there's tons of blood.

For what it is, and what it sets out to do, it's very well done. The writing has held up surprisingly
Garrett price
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book over a year ago and I remember not liking it the first time I read it and I'm not really sure what I didn't like about it. This is a great Batman book of the late 80's (not on the same level as Year One or The Killing Joke, but still very good). Deacon Blackfire manages to completely break Batman's willpower by drugging him and making him lose his mind. Grant Morrison did the same thing in RIP and I think that's part of what makes these two books great. We get to see Batman ...more
James DeSantis
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Cool idea, and different, but not something I'd probably recommend to most Batman fans.

It's basically Batman dealing with a crazy cult, as the title says. It starts off simple enough, Batman is captured, they torture him some, and he joins them. However, soon into the book he breaks free of the trance but not fully. Thanks to the city under hell, Robin, and his determination, it's up to Batman to make it out alive and save everyone.

Good: Surprised how dark it got, but never too cheesy. The
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good! So I have been a big fan of Jim Starlin's batman comics, he's a bit of an underrated batman writer aside from his Death in The Family story. So this story takes place where Batman has been captured by these religious Zealots who are led by Deacon Blackfire an immortal religious 'messiah'. Right from the get go this is quite a different batman story, it doesn't have tons of action(only until the last act), its a much more psychological thriller, which we don't see too often in Batman ...more
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
The Cult is a well-told Batman story, that, despite being 20+ years old was rather refreshing in this reader's eyes because it harkens back to a time when Batman was still a vulnerable human being, learning the ropes of superheroing, and not the goliath able to overcome all odds he is often painted as in today's stories. What also makes The Cult a cool yarn is its unique place in the Batman mythos. While the results of this story don't glaringly point to a single instance in the Bat's canon, ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: completed-series
A graphic novel / comics collection that is at once hard to like and hard to dislike. While investigating mysterious killings and mysterious disappearances, the Batman is captured and brainwashed into believing the agenda of the psychopathic Deacon Blackfire. Is there hope for his rescue, recovery, and redemption?

The Good: This is a villain who has found a chink in the Batman's honor, but in a natural way. The human side of the Batman is significant to the story. There is constant interplay
David Monroe
May 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
When this series came out in 1988 I was newly married, finishing college and working two jobs. I had made a half-hearted decision to stop buying comics. When I read this Jim Starlin series, I hated it. It was the catalyst for me to stop buying comics.

Last week I found this in my Library. I thought I'd re-read it. Wow. How 22 years changes things. I get it. Remember, this was before A Killing Joke. This was during the time of A Dark Knight, but DK was an alt-version. I didn't like the dark place
Kyle Berk
Batman: The Cult is a pretty rad Batman story. I’d compare it to Knightfall and The Dark Knight Returns if Knightfall was better. I’d put it right up there with No Mans Land, Knightfall, and Death in the family as major trials for Batman.

Cause he gets broken here. His spirit is crushed and he has a crime fighting impotence. And it’s great. The art is amazing for one. And it’s written very well with the exception of two instances. One being Batman’s loose use of guns here and he stood by at a
Saif Saeed
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sequential-art, dc
I like this story because it's message is timeless. I hate this story because its relevant.

Lots to be said about a villain who inspires people to do what they think might be wrong for 'the greater good'. It's nuanced story telling and while there are moments where you think 'yeah this guy is a comic book villain', there's a lot in the narration that is quite poignant too.

The art is surprisingly good in this one too. Lots of pretty painted pages that remind me of classic Dr. Strange, which is
Max's Comic Reviews and Lists
A Blood Soaked Classic
Batman The Cult for a while had me split on my opinion. While the
first half has some good writing moments and interesting subplots
it was very disappointing in the execution of its idea of Batman being
broken. The second half however was very exciting and extremely dark. Batman The Cult also boasts a very menacing and EVIL antagonist.
Letter Grade: (C+)
Jerry Jose
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cult is perhaps the only comic that does justice to Jason Todd. Of course, there is always 'Death in the Family', but murder is barely passable as justice.
Stacy Fetters
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Deacon Blackfire brainwashes The Batman into joining a religious cult. The city of Gotham is over run with cultish homeless people who will kill for their leader. Batman needs to escape and protect these poor civilians. KA-BOOM!!!

To stay young we must bathe in the blood of the living.
Beau Johnston
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found the drugging and brainwashing sequences rather disturbing.

If you fancy a trip into a dark and disturbing story from Batman's past, this story should keep you entertained.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Five stars through and through. I really enjoyed this story and how the villain methodically broke Batman to the point where he questioned his own motives and abilities. The art and dialogue felt dark and gritty like Frank Millers Dark Knight. For complete disclosure, Starlin is my favorite author and he can do no wrong (for the most part).

This ranks in my top 10 Batman stories if not the top 5. I can understand mixed reviews and this story may not be for everyone; but it was perfect for me.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Yah, I have mixed feelings for this one.
I love some aspects of it, how Batman is broken, his hallucinations AND believe it or don't , but somehow I loved Jason's Robin here.
The cult have the potential for A good story arc.
But it just didn't get there.
David Leslie
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I really love this story.A very dark '80s Batman tale(was there any other after DKR?)but this is one of the darkest.Batman is broken down more than I've ever read(and I've read alot of Bats books)thanks to a 'supernatural brainwashing deluded priest' called 'Deacon.This is the best pre-lazaris pit Jason Todd as Robin again that I'vd read.He's arguably the real hero of the book.Bernie Wrightson was the perfect artist since he's one of the elite horror artists,as the story is truly horrific at ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, a
This book started off pretty strong, but I lost interest about half way in. There was wayyy too much exposition using static television shots; with talking heads telling the reader about the situation in Gotham.

The art is some of the best I've seen in Batman, just behind Frank Miller and Mazzuchelli in my opinion. Although it did seem rushed at times. For example, all the talking heads on tv were copy/pasted images over multiple comic panels.
Corban Ford
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is right up there with the best Batman books I have ever read. It's dark, gritty, the violence is graphic, the story is well written by Jim Starlin, I mean I kid you not when I say that this book is good.

Now the story is relatively simple. Batman gets brainwashed by a cult and spends half the book trying to determine what's real. He suffers through a lot of self-doubt as the cultists take over Gotham, but then he roars back to kick ass and take names with the help of Robin (Jason Todd!).

Bob Mcqueen
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Batman vs Religion. Easily one of the best all time Batman stories.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow, that was dark - and the violence would bring a tear to Scott Snyder's eye. Some quality, non-hateable Jason Todd too.
Andrij Zip
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Christopher Nolan must like The Cult (and for good reason) as his film The Dark Knight Rises is clearly inspired by this thrillingly dark and subversive Batman classic. A messianic cult-leader named Deacon Blackfire captures Batman, exploits the Dark Knight’s Achilles heel (his mind), breaks him, and proceeds to take over Gotham with his army of brainwashed followers. For a Batman comic The Cult is ultra-violent, dark and graphic, and the Dark Knight is uncommonly vulnerable and fallible here, ...more
Justyn Rampa
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most appropriately disturbing Batman comics I have ever read. Very disturbing. Very powerful. It is an exceptionally well written Batman tale penned by Jim Starlin who also wrote "A Death in the Family".

In his introduction notes, Jim Starlin addresses the fight against comics that resulted in the Comics Code and similar first amendment struggles that comics face throughout the decade. All of this was in the back of his mind while writing "The Cult". At the forefront of "The
Evan Leach
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1980-1989, comics, dc
I knew very little about this miniseries going in, and ended up being pleasantly surprised. The Cult tells the story of Deacon Blackfire, a mysterious holy man who recruits Gotham’s homeless into an army under his command.

img: Cult Leader

The first half of this story, which features Blackfire trying to brainwash Batman into joining his cause, is interesting but a bit up and down. However, it’s worth sticking with, as the second half – which must have provided serious inspiration for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Batman: Son of the Demon
  • Batman: Venom
  • Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying
  • Batman: Gothic
  • Batman: Year 100
  • Batman: Hush, Vol. 1
  • Batman: Blind Justice
  • Batman and the Monster Men
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (Elseworlds)
  • Nightwing: Year One
  • Batgirl: Year One
  • Batman: Dark Victory
  • Batman: Tales of the Demon
  • Batman and the Mad Monk
  • Batman: The Man Who Laughs
  • Batman: War on Crime
  • Batman: Bruce Wayne, Fugitive, Vol. 1
  • Batman: Face the Face
See similar books…
James P. "Jim" Starlin is an American comic book writer and artist. With a career dating back to the early 1970s, he is best known for "cosmic" tales and space opera; for revamping the Marvel Comics characters Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock; and for creating or co-creating the Marvel characters Thanos and Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. Death and suicide are recurring themes in Starlin's work: ...more

Other books in the series

Batman: Miniseries (1 - 10 of 85 books)
  • The Untold Legend of the Batman
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  • Batman vs. Predator
  • Batman: Sword of Azrael
  • Batman: Two-Face: Strikes Twice!
  • Legends of the World's Finest
  • Batman Versus Predator II: Bloodmatch
  • Batman: Man-Bat
  • Batman: The Ultimate Evil
  • Batman: Gordon's Law
“I always claimed I became the Batman to fight crime. That was a lie. I did it to overcome the fear.” 12 likes
More quotes…