BATMAN #48 is on sale this week. Mister Bloom has unleashed his attack against Gotham City and it's up to Jim Gordon to try to stop him. What about Bruce Wayne? He ran into an unexpected person in the park that will have big repercussions for Bruce and the title.
We spoke with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo about what's going on and the two even revealed some spoilers for issue 50 and beyond. Take a look at what you can expect this week and what we have to look forward to.
COMIC VINE: The bench scene (with Bruce and Joker) was amazing. What was the process like in planning the visual layout? Did you guys discuss the panel layout on the pages and what would be focused on?
SCOTT SNYDER: I really leave it to Greg. In terms of a scene like with Joker and Batman, the intense emotion, and the Hitchcock feel, I know Greg is exponentially better at this stuff than I am. I’ll just say what the feel is or I’ll give him the dialogue. I’ll just sort of say, “He gets up” or “He grabs him.” There’s some action, but in terms of how it’s directed and how it’s cut is all Greg. I just get excited to see what he does.
GREG CAPULLO: Just an example, the Joker says something cryptic about fighting or whatever and it turns out he’s talking about the bench. So I just start the shot where you don’t see the characters’ faces. It’s focused more on the bench where Joker’s hand touching the bench. That’ll go nicely with the dialogue. It makes for an interesting shot instead of just headshot, headshot, headshot, headshot. Almost like the old jeans commercials where you didn’t know they were selling jeans.
CV: Are you guys just toying with us about what Joker may or may not remember?
SCOTT: Yeah. The thing I love about the character is there’s no answers with him ever. He always visits a Batman story, in some ways, at that sort of crucial moment to wrestle with this same eternal question between them. To me, at least in our iteration of Batman, “Does my mission, does my life, does life in general have meaning?”
The fun thing about this scene is they kind of take reverse positions. Bruce is at a point where he says, “If I just built all this and I’m in love and I do this, what’s the point if it all just vanishes? Joker is the one that says, “Maybe the point is that we were here and we did what we could.” That’s the message Batman usually gives to people. You do what you can and you be the hero that you can in the time you have. In that way, it’s sort of like he’s someone who shows up to continue this same conversation they’re always having. Usually it’s more more violent. He never really reveals his true kind of card hand. He’s always there to push the question further than you want it to go.
CV: We’ve seen a few different incarnations of the Joker in this series alone. Have you thought about what he might be like next time he actually makes his move?
GREG: I think we’ll go with pink hair maybe next time.
SCOTT: Yeah, it’s funny because every time we write him or we do him together, I’m always like, “Oh, this is the last time.” In the interim between this and when Greg comes back, I have a couple ideas. I’d love to use him again, but I think there’s a lot of characters we haven’t approached. There’s a lot of stories we haven’t done he doesn’t feature as much. I think if I wrote him again, I would try something very different. I have two stories in mind. One is sort of a future one and one is a very quiet, dark, small Joker one. So…maybe. [laughs]
CV: Greg, do you prefer Bruce with or without the beard?
GREG: Well I’ve gotten used to him with the beard, but certainly I wouldn’t want the beard poking out of the cowl. Let’s just put it that way. When he doesn’t have the cowl, I think he looks pretty cool with the beard.
CV: I guess he’s going to have to shave.
SCOTT: Greg drew him in my favorite panel from 50. Spoiler, 50 opens with the Bat-sink. It’s like the sink in the cave. The drain is actually bat-shaped. On the side of the sink is a razor and the beard is clearly in the sink. It opens with, “It’s time.”
GREG: Some people are bound to shed a tear over that.
SCOTT: My wife loves him with the beard. Which frustrates me because I can’t grow a beard.
CV: It’s been mentioned what Bruce remembers and what he doesn’t after Endgame. Does Bruce still have all his muscle memory of being Batman?
SCOTT: No, he really does not. I think the idea we’ve tried to really hold to and make clear as strongly as we can is he doesn’t have amnesia. It’s not like he’s forgotten. His brain has been entirely re-written. The memories that he had are just no longer there. It’s not a matter of it just being underneath or being forgotten. It’s a matter of it just not existing. If you attacked him, he couldn’t suddenly fight. It’s just not there in his body. In the end, I think the next question for 49 is really, how the hell is he going to come back? When he does, one of the fun things with 50 is, is he going to be changed at all? Maybe I’m just spoiling stuff because I’m high on the pages Greg just sent minutes ago from 50. Since he’s physically healed, if he came back as Batman this way, he’d be faster and stronger than ever. Which would lead to some pretty badass scenes.
CV: We got a tiny tease about what Duke Thomas discovers in this issue. Will there be more on that in 49 or will we have to wait for 50?
SCOTT: It’s an answer to what happened to his parents. The way that Gotham operates is his story really crescendos in 50. One of the fun things is Bruce’s emotional story really crescendos in the next issue, in 49. Here he’s at his lowest and Joker almost gives him the kind of push he needs to be able to be like, “It’s okay to let go. This mattered, and I can go back and be who I was—if I can figure out a way of doing it.”
50 is really the crescendo of both Jim Gordon’s story and Duke’s story. If Bruce should come back in that [laughs] and be really tough and amazing, the return of that Bruce will allow for just crazy fun. His emotional story would have ended when he turned back. We need Bruce and he’s really tore up against the Joker or whatever emotionally. It’s always fun and there’s a lot of stakes. I’ve never been able to write him when there’s lower stakes emotionally.
CV: Also in issue 48, Mister Bloom talks about all the seeds he’s hidden around Gotham. Will this be left open so there could still be seeds hidden around the city to be discovered and grant powers to others?
SCOTT: Yeah, that story gets bigger and crazier and crazier as Greg could attest to in issue 50. People start fighting him everywhere very quickly. That leads to more and more mayhem, not just because people are fighting with each other but because he has a bigger plot. He has even worse things planned for Gotham. Ultimately, the more people that take seeds, the more powerful he gets. On top of that, there’s another mechanism that it sets off that’s even more scary. So yeah, that story continues and gets bigger and nuttier. Maybe we’ll come back to the seeds. I had a couple writers ask if they could use seeds post-Superheavy so maybe you’ll see them pop up other places as well.
GREG: We’re not paying you any royalties for your ideas.
CV: As far as post-Greg, when can we expect an announcement as far as someone semi-permanent or rotating on the art?
SCOTT: Let me answer that. I promise you’ll hear when we get to that point. I want to make it really clear that these issues are really about celebrating Greg. I certainly have plans I’m excited about, but right now I’m focused on and what I want everyone focused on is enjoying the best artist on BATMAN in decades and the best artist in comics working on this character. He’s been doing such amazing things with him. I want everyone to enjoy and revel in it and not worry about what’s next right now just because there’s so much good stuff left. 50 is forty pages of Greg’s amazingness. 51 is also an issue I’m very very proud of. There’s a ton of stuff left with him and a chance, I think, to just celebrate and enjoy one of the greats.
GREG: Thank you!
CV: We’re all sad.
SCOTT: He’s coming back! We’re gonna have tons of fun.
GREG: I want to make sure everybody misses me. So I’m making issue 50 as crazy as I could possibly make it.
Be sure to pick up BATMAN #48 this week. Here's the preview for the issue.