PHILADELPHIA — Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is going public about his role behind the Dark Knight.
After a lifetime spent wearing the cowl – and a scowl that's made him the scourge of Gotham's madmen – the fictional billionaire is taking full responsibility for keeping the caped crusader financed to fight crime.
The admission is unveiled Wednesday in the final pages of "Batman and Robin" No. 16 that marks the last issue in a run by Scottish writer Grant Morrison.
The acknowledgment in the final pages comes as Wayne holds a news conference where he asks those gathered: "Some of you may have wondered ... how does a man like Batman afford to constantly update his crime-fighting technology? Where does his money come from?
"Well, the answer is me."
The confession, Morrison said, is part of a detailed effort that puts into motion a plan for Batman Incorporated, a global network of Batmen from China to Argentina to fight crime worldwide.
Morrison told The Associated Press that the decision was made to protect Wayne's secret identity by deflecting attention away from speculation it was he who wore the cape.
"We've sidetracked the media that he has actually been financing Batman all these years," Morrison explained of the long arc he's written that has seen the Dark Knight plunge through time and space and have his mantle taken up by former Robin Dick Grayson. "He is the man behind the Batman, but he is not Batman."
In doing so, Wayne is free to take his crime fighting international by building what Morrison calls a "global, international army of Batmen. Batman in China, Batman in Japan, Batman in Russia. Expanding the Batman brand to areas where he really hasn't been before."
Those tales will unfold in full in the first issue of "Batman Incorporated," due out Nov. 17.