While recently transporting Two-Face cross country, Batman faced several of the villains in his rogues gallery. He then went after Mr. Freeze to stop his plan of unleashing a new ice age upon the world. The Dark Knight continues venturing out of the comfort of Gotham City in All Star Batman #7 by seeking out Poison Ivy in Death Valley, Nevada. To make things worse, she's not the only person he'll have to deal with.
We talked to All Star Batman writer Scott Snyder about his interpretation of Poison Ivy and her motives along with what's coming up between Duke Thomas and the Riddler.
Comic Vine: What is your take on Poison Ivy?
Scott Snyder: I wanted to explore the idea here that Pamela Isley is someone who is a science-based character. I love when people write her mystical and witch-y and with that same sensual, almost earth goddess quality. We did a little bit of that actually in Swamp Thing, connecting her to the Green, but I actually wanted to explore her more as a scientist here. She's someone with this very deep understanding of the physicality of the natural world but also the potential in it for wonder, for medicinal applications, for things that are unexplored and untapped, both good and bad.
I wanted almost to catch her in an unguarded moment where she is vulnerable and she goes to do something for herself. She isn't plotting against the city, and she isn't in the middle of a big mystery where she's killed somebody or someone's after her. I wanted to see what she does in her own time. I'd never really seen that with her or a number of villains before, so that was what I was interested in. What does Ivy do if nobody is after her? What does she do to inspire herself? Is it evil? Is it good?
That's where we find her, and I wanted to build that mystery a little bit at the beginning, too, as to is she doing something that is on the side of humanity or on the side of what she sees is this war coming from the plant world.
How evil would you say she is? Is she even evil?
Let's rate her. I would say on the scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the Joker, who is irredeemably evil on all levels. Zsasz being like a nine. I would put her very, very low. I would put Two-Face as an eight to a nine, but with Harvey blended in, probably a little lower. Penguin is evil but he's also kind of cowardly in his own way, so he hovers around a seven. Catwoman is probably the lowest. Catwoman is probably a one because she's often such an anti-hero, but I'd put Ivy a little further along. I'd put her probably, in terms of villainy, a two or a three. Not very high. In terms of potential, as a villain and as a disruptive force, I would put her way at the end of the thing. She's way stronger than most of the villains that I think have darker profiles than her, and seem sometimes like they're more known for being threatening to Batman. I think her actual destructive potential is off the charts. In that way, she is one of the most interesting characters because she's a villain, but she's a very redeemable villain who I think veers into heroism often and also has this power set that's out of control.
Pamela Isley used to work for Wayne Enterprises until he fired her for what she was working on. Does she have any urge to seek revenge against Bruce Wayne, or is that just in the past, and she's moved on?
Oh, yeah. I think that's part of the story that's baked into the DNA. It really is meant to be something where it's like she feels as though that betrayal was part of what made her into this monster. It's one of the great--being cast of the garden--moments in her life where she feels that she made a mistake because she trusted Bruce. She came to the Bruce in the New 52 origin by saying, "I have these pheromones I've created that will help manipulate people for you, Mr. Industrialist." That's her fault because Bruce reacts against that and sees her as a terrible person and kicks her out. But her argument is, "I just approached you with what I thought would appeal to you. If you were so smart, you should've been able to see through it to what I was really after."
Now Bruce has. He looked over her research. In this story, he's looked over her research, and he understands what a brilliant scientist she was, what she was really after, and how she wasn't after something bad. In some ways, he did make a mistake and blamed her too quickly or went after her too quickly. In doing so, he's partly responsible for the creation of "Poison Ivy," the villain. That has its parallels in a story that's being told backwards in this issue of the girl Lilith who finds something in the forest.
Does Batman use any special gadgets or a new suit here?
Let me think. What does he use? Well, his suit's cool. Tula Lotay created one that I thought kept him cool in the desert, which was pretty awesome, and gives him the ability to see people wearing this incredible stealth gear. He has a cool look, and it has this green accent that speaks to Ivy and speaks to the kind of relentless, evergreen determination that Bruce has. I always think of him as a green character in that regard, that he's always somebody that you can't keep down. He always comes back.
There aren't a ton of gadgets in this one. He does have one, but that's the surprise at the end. He has one that's actually a reference to one of the total bad [Joel] Schumacher moments, but I tried to reinvent it a little bit. Nothing's off-limits, right? Even Joel Schumacher stuff.
In the back-up story, what's your plans for Riddler?
The story is about the Riddler, but it's about the Riddler in the way it's meant to harken back to the early year in that stuff and all of that. It's really about Duke and his relationship to the mythos and to the family. He's trying to really find his place, and the Riddler is the first villain he ever came up against, too, because it's when he first found and met Bruce. Duke was doing a crossword puzzle when we first met him to try to get smart enough to beat the Riddler. The Riddler has this echo of his own origin, his own Zero Year in that way. I think what the Riddler is planning in that back-up winds up speaking to Duke's bigger fears about himself.
I may have asked you this before, but do you have long term plans all mapped out for Duke?
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, we've been in discussions with them for a long time, so we have different opportunities now or different options as to how to lance him in terms of a series or miniseries or as a character in another series. In terms of who he is going to be and all that stuff, we've been talking about it for a really long time.
What do you want to tease about the next issue, Issue #8?
It's one of my favorites. I'm really excited. It's a Mad Hatter story, and it takes place in the Delta. This arc is about the different ways the world could end, and it all culminates in Issue #9 with the reveal that all the different issues have a link between them. The Hatter issue is really about what if the world falls into madness, so I love it. It has a lot of crazy ideas in it. I'm excited to see what people think, and Giuseppe Camuncoli is just incredible. I'm really, really thrilled and honored to get to work with all this talent.
All Star Batman #7 is on sale Wednesday, February 8, in stores and online. Be sure to check out the preview above. Giuseppe Camuncoli's variant cover for issue #8 can be seen here.