Batman's never-ending war against the villains in Gotham has been amped up to a new level. In the new All Star Batman series by Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr, the Dark Knight is trying to bring Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, to justice. What makes this time different is Dent knows everyone's deep, dark secrets. He's offered a small fortune to anyone that puts a stop to Batman. Now the Bat-Villains are crawling out of the woodwork in order to protect their secrets and to win the money. Luckily Batman has already implemented some new gadgets in this battle.
We had the opportunity to talk to Snyder about taking on the new Batman series and how it's different from his previous run. We also asked him what will Batman do if all of Bruce Wayne's secrets are revealed?
Comic Vine: Are you approaching this book differently from like the last Batman series?
Scott Snyder: Oh, completely. Yeah. For me, this issue and the series is all about pushing Batman to places that I've never been able to take him before, both because I think the main series demands that you stay in Gotham for the most part, or that you keep things really central. There've been examples where I think people have been able to break those rules between Grant [Morrison] taking Batman international and back in time, and us putting Jim Gordon in the suit. For the most part, I think a lot of that stuff ends up happening in a new series or series set aside in story arcs like Batman Incorporated or Return of Bruce Wayne where there's usually a Batman in Gotham.
For me, the great opportunity here was to sort of step out from under the pressure and the grind of needing to create Gotham-based stories that drives the line and create events for the books, and instead to wind up just doing completely liberated stories that are personal and over the top, with villains that I've never gotten to use.
Luckily, the kinds of stories that I gravitated towards on Batman, like the kind of huge, bombastic, blockbuster-type adventure stories, are still the things I love to do. I can go as big as I want with Two-Face or Catwoman or any of these characters, and yet the great thing is I don't necessarily feel like I need to bind them to what's happening in Gotham at that particular moment, even though we're in continuity. It's a hugely liberating feeling. The last thing I'll say is it gives me a chance to sort of change my style, every arc, to work with different artists. It's completely the other end of the spectrum from what I was doing with Greg [Capullo]. I got to work with one person for five years. You get so used to them in the best way. Here, I'm able to completely flex different muscles every single arc.
At the end of the day, being a writer, and hearing from the writers I admire the most, it's always about challenging themselves to do things that you wouldn't expect. This series has been hugely thrilling so far in that it gives me the opportunity to put myself to the test that way.
Batman shows a cool, new weapon with the ears on his cowl. In your mind, is this something he's had for a while, or is it something he just added?
Oh no. I feel like a lot of the stuff in the series are things he's added, and he's upgraded since Rebirth, in my mind. I always love coming up with that stuff. Tom [King] and I get on the phone, and we joke around about like what cool things Batman could have: giant bear trap batarangs and ears popping out. I have this thing in a couple of issues from now, spoiler, where he takes the cape off and it kind of separates in the middle with this secret seam, and it has weights in it. He can use it as like two bludgeons, like in Death Wish, you know the sock with the quarters in it, two of them. Batman is tough, man. You don't want to go up against him. You never know what he has up his sleeve.
Okay, so if we're going to have new gadgets and stuff, when does he find the time to add these or make them? Is he doing it? Is Wayne Enterprises? I don't think they're still doing it, or are they?
Funny enough actually, funny enough in issue three we actually address that a little bit. You'll see there's a big sort of a secret surprise, returning of a character from the past. He was part of that whole question, I think, about how does Bruce manage to make so much stuff.
Especially since Tom's been blowing up Batmobiles left and right in the Batman series.
I know. I know. I'm like, "Dude, we're going to run out."
Do you know how many villains you're using in this arc? Have you kept track?
Yeah. Yeah. We were laughing about it, me and John. I mean there's nine in this issue alone. There's Killer Croc, Amygdala, King Shark, Two-Face, Penguin, Great White, Black Mask, KGBeast, and who am I forgetting? Cheshire and ... That's ten, actually, and Copperhead.
We're trying to just run the whole gamut. Next issue you get like Royal Flush Gang and all kinds of stuff. The best way I can kind of boil it down is everything in the series, on the surface, I hope it's reflective of the fun I'm having on the book. It's meant to be unchained and just totally liberated and fun and out of control Batman, off-roading in the Batmobile in crazy ways.
Beneath the surface, the stories are pretty personal. This one is largely about whether or not we as a people, or me as a sort of I think as an individual, are better than the kind of sum of our personal daemons or failings. The struggles sometimes I feel when I'm not well, or when I'm really down, or when I'm in a bad place, where I start to the think that the worst impulses that I have or the worst parts of me are the totality. Especially with things going on in the country at this moment, regardless of your political affiliation.
I think the discourse can get so ugly on both sides, and in so many ways that sometimes it feels like we're battling over our own sort of essential core. I think deep down, this arc speaks to a lot of those things, as crazy as it is on the surface. That's why it's just so much fun for me to go to work. It's all of that at once.
With Gordon and Harvey Bullock arriving at Wayne Manor, what will Batman do if his secrets are revealed? Would he have a contingency plan? Obviously this has to be something he's thought about?
He plans for everything. I want to sort of make it really clear that this is the same continuity, and there's always a risk. It could be that Gordon's going to go down the stairs, find the cave, and see all of it. Next, someone else again, maybe Alfred or someone else, will become Batman in the next arc if Bruce goes to jail for everything he's done. Maybe there's some kind of twist. Again, like the series for me, I want to just make it clear that the stakes are as high as possible, and that it's in continuity.
For me, it always feels resonate writing it, because I know that the things that I'm doing were reflected by Tom, and the stuff that Tom's doing is reflected by me. We're all sort of one big story being told in different ways. That said, I hope that by this point with fans, I've done enough Batman stuff that they trust that any kind of twist or anything that I'm putting in there isn't just sort of a knee-jerk shock thing or something. It's going to pay off in the story in ways that I hope they're happy with. Yeah, so keep reading.
All Star Batman #2 is now on sale.