For months, we’ve only known the upcoming story arc by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo in BATMAN was called Endgame. No other information was released or got out. Even the solicited covers were placeholders, keeping the actual covers a secret. With BATMAN #35 on sale today, the secret has been revealed. We know what the main focus of this arc will be. It’s an explosive first issue and we can only imagine what comes next.
We had to chance to talk to Scott about the issue and Endgame. That means there will be some big spoilers. Be sure to read BATMAN #35 first! The main hook along and an image will be revealed below.
COMIC VINE: We’re just coming out of Zero Year, how does Endgame compare in size and scope?
SCOTT SNYDER: Well…it’s going to be TWENTY-FOUR issues long. No, it’s much smaller in size. It’s half the size. It’s six issues. I’ve said it before but I seriously doubt I’ll ever do anything as big as Zero Year again because, for me, that needed that size. I’m so proud of that — that’s probably what I’m proudest of from everything I’ve done. It really takes him through three seasons of learning as he becomes Batman. I also understand how incredibly generous fans were with us to let us do a story that long. It’s rare to do a story that lasts basically thirteen months, with the break in there. For me, my feeling is, it’s time now to do stories that we’ve wanted to do but that also gives fans that big explosive sense of purpose. You’re there and then you move on. Then you do little stories, then another big one. There’s more of a sense of texture to the book from here forward. I’m very very excited about the size. Six issues long. They’re very packed. They’re very fast and intense.
CV: Were you planning out this story while still working on Zero Year?
SS: Oh yeah. I already had it planned during Zero Year. I was thinking about it when we were finishing Death of the Family. I knew we were going to bring [Joker] back. I just didn’t know exactly when it would be. I knew his purpose. I knew he was going to come back and say, “This is a comedy. Don’t you see I was wearing a comedy mask the whole time? That was my face. This time around, I’m really here to make you suffer because you decided to just be a silly human with your little human family and not transcend and be something greater. That’s what you set out to be. You’re just a liar. You’re just a coward. So you’re not worthy of me and the other villains. I’m greater than all of you.”
I always knew what it was going to be, in purpose. I started working on it, really, simultaneously with Zero Year. I knew I was going to do it. I just wasn’t sure if I was going to do it now or in about six months from now. It really came down to…I was going to do some small stories and then hit you with this, all of a sudden. My feeling was, you know what, it’s Batman’s 75th Anniversary. We have some amazing books launching next to us. It’s time to go big and do something really explosive and fun and different. After that…this story is going to burn certain elements down to the mythology, build new ones up, and give us a status quo that allows us to do smaller mysteries with a cast and a different sort of set up that’s going to be really fun and different than what you’ve seen.
That was like way too high from the air version of it, but, spoilers for Comic Vine.
CV: I was going to ask why is now the right time for Joker to come back?
SS: Well, it’s the 75th Anniversary. You can’t have the 75th Anniversary of Batman without Joker. On top of that, it’s Joker’s 75th Anniversary. You think he’d let that birthday go to Batman? It’s his birthday.
CV: You sort of touched on this. I’m sure we can assume he’s not too happy with Batman after their last encounter.
SS: Ooh. He’s going to be extremely angry. The piece that you guys did on Comic Vine was terrific. I saw that and wanted to call you and comment on it on Comic Vine and be like, “That’s just like he would be!” It’s that sense of revenge and anger and purpose. Joker was really saying, in Death of the Family, “You and I have become these things that are larger than life. When I was human, or when I pretended to be human in some ways, when I was that thing you knew as the Red Hood, I was frustrated. I was trying to show everybody how meaningless life is. You wear the Red Hood because you’re inviting the kind of violence and death that will eventually come for everybody. You’re proving life is a joke. To think that life matters, and what you do with it, means anything, is laughable. Then you came along and said, let’s evolve together and become things that are larger than life and find purpose and meaning in that. And so I did. I said to myself, let’s see if this guy is worthy. You rejected that notion. In doing so, I’m going to show you, you’re just human. You’re nothing. Your actions amount to nothing in the history of this city. You’re a blip on the screen. I am forever. And I’m going to burn it all down to prove it to you.”
For me, it’s all one big Joker story. It really begins, technically in Zero Year, but for us, the first time we used him significantly was Death of the Family. You can think of it as almost a beginning, a middle, and an end. That’s why it’s called Endgame.
CV: Is this story going to spill into other Batman-related titles?
SS: Not in a way we’ve done in the past. Mark Doyle and I discussed it at length when I decided we’d do this story here. I decided about a year ago we’d put this one around here. He was getting ready to design these books. When he got the job as Bat Editor, he was designing GOTHAM ACADEMY. I told Gerry [Duggan] about the possibility with Arkham and he designed ARKHAM MANOR, which is such a great series, and GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT, BATGIRL, and CATWOMAN—all these books that have a new status quo or brand new #1s. What we didn’t want to do was begin those and say, “Guess what? Four issues in, you’re going to tie into a Joker event!”
Instead, what we’re going to do is those books have the option to tie in by doing things outside of their series. It should be a lot of fun, alongside their arcs they plan to do in the actual books. Mark and I really felt that interrupting these books in their first arc would feel like we were doing it to grab money you guys, as readers by saying, “Jokers in every book!” This time around, it felt like these books needed a little more room to get on their feet because they’re so different from the books you’ve generally seen in Gotham. We wanted to respect that and give them a lot of breathing room to be able to form their own universe. Those books take place in the same continuity. The first arcs take place just before this story, but some of them will address it in ways that will be a lot of fun for readers.
CV: Will we find out what Joker’s been doing all this time?
SS: Yeah! Yes you will. You’ll find out…basically he’ll tell you what he’s been doing in issue 36 and you’ll find out more and more as the story goes on.
CV: What can you tell us about the back up stories?
SS: The back up stories are going to include some of the great Batman and comic artists of all time. It’ll be chapters of a story that [James] Tynion has designed beautifully. Basically the story imagines five different ways Joker might have started. It’s a really really fun story. I’m very proud of him. The artists we have lined up for it, you’re going to be like, “He’s doing one?” Just like Kelley Jones. It’s like that level, where’ you’re like, “What?” Each one has someone like that from the Batman pantheon, old and new.
CV: Are you guys pulling any punches on this one?
SS: No. I don’t think we ever pull any punches, dude. We gave Batman a crazy brother. We brought back James Jr. and made him a psycho. Zero Year, we redid Batman’s origin. We try not to pull any punches at all. Our run, I know with Death of the Family, because it was called that, and because I think there was a lot of hoopla around it and a sense of who Joker would kill, fans expect a death or something to be the big change that’s coming in our stories.
What I would say is, we, me and Greg, really like to think of ourselves as not about subtracting from Batman’s mythology. Going forward, our job—not to spoil it, a lot of people might die and major characters might die in the story. I don’t want to say nobody’s going to die or whatever, but none of this is built to take characters out and say, “You love this character? Well guess what, they’re gone.” We’re much more about having actions, in this one, and create major damage that reconstructs the Bat Universe. That might mean the end of certain characters in certain ways. But without giving too much away, no. This is exactly from beginning, middle, and end, the story will be what we set it out to be. We just hope you love it.
It’s a story I’ve been building towards for a long time. You’ll see there’s hints in issue 35. You’re going to see a lot of characters, heroes, and villains we’ve used before, that we’ve created. There’ll be characters you’ve never seen in our book before. This is really a celebration of Batman’s 75th Anniversary—and Joker’s 75th Anniversary! This story is sort of meant to do away with some of the old, do away with some things that are familiar and usher in a new status for us, on BATMAN, in a way that’s going to allow us to do stories a little differently. If that makes sense.
It makes perfect sense. BATMAN #35 is on sale now!
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