Have you read BATMAN #39? Endgame is underway and things aren't looking too great for Batman and his Family. The Joker is finished messing around and is taking things to a new level. We've talked to Scott Snyder before and he's hinted at big things coming out of the end of this story. We fished around for some more information. Check out what he had to say.
Warning, there are some minor spoilers for BATMAN #39.
COMIC VINE: What was it like for Batman to accept he’d have to go to the Court of Owls for help?
SCOTT SNYDER: I think that’s one of the toughest decisions we’ve had him have to make in the series. For him, they sort of represent this incredible failing because they existed for so long. He refused to believe in them almost out of selfish pride for a while. Then when he finally did believe in them, he didn’t get a chance to take them down the way he wanted to. Even though he keeps them in check and ultimately won that story, to have to revisit them now, as he’s terrified of failing and losing to the Joker, and they represented, at least for a while, one of his bleakest moments, it’s extremely hard. This issue is really about showing how Batman is willing to make these kind of deals with the devil. At this point, he’s willing to sort of do anything it takes to save the city and also to show, on the other hand, all bets are off with the Joker. There’s really no where safe. He can’t hide in the cave. Nobody is safe from his wrath, even beloved characters. There isn’t anywhere in this story things might not go.
CV: Is what the Court has been doing since their last encounter beneficial to Batman and Gotham since he’s left them alone?
SS: One of the things that’s interesting is we have an internal sort of story that Mark Doyle, James Tynion IV, and I have about where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to. There’s also the things they’ve been secretly building and the things that Batman knows they’re building. There’s kind of a flowing story there and I’m hoping somebody will maybe pick up on it and use at some point. Whether it’s in DETECTIVE or one of the other books if they want. I’m hoping I get to do it or return to them eventually. This was a way of saying goodbye to them for me in case I don’t get to.
So, yes, they have secret plans and those plans are building and known to us.
CV: What do the kids in the Court of Owl do?
SS: The kids are there to be very creepy. That’s part of their job. It’s to just up the creep-factor. Ultimately, the reason I love having children there is just because it shows the dedication of these people. They don’t just believe in it themselves. They believe in the Court so wholeheartedly that they’re raising the next generation of their family within that culture. It’s so deeply embedded in their belief system and their heritage and what they’re proud of. That is their bloodline, that is their family, beyond their kids and that stuff.
CV: Will there be any personal costs to Batman in this encounter?
SS: In a lot of ways, I think this arc is about burning a lot of stuff down and building new things. There’ll be a tremendous amount of change afterwards. One of the reasons we wanted to show some of the brutality that happens in this issue, without giving it away. Some of the cruelty in this issue is meant to say to the readers, “The stakes are this high.” There really isn’t anything that’s sacred at this point when Joker’s this out of control. None of this is meant to be sensational or any of that. Part of it is interesting. When I was writing Death of the Family, I knew this story was going to develop. I didn’t know the shape of it but I knew it was coming in some way. I feel like a lot of Death of the Family is about holding back for the Joker. For this one, it has to be about release, it has to be about ‘all bets are off.’ There’s nothing you can do to talk him down. There isn’t anywhere he can’t pop up. There isn’t anything he won’t do or anything he won’t do to get you. The guilt, terror, and anger Batman feels has to be paramount here. That’s one way of that happening, not being able to protect some of the people he loves.
CV: What happened to Joker’s face in issue #39 when we first see him?
SS: That was a result of the Batcave's defenses going off in his face.
CV: Will there be any repercussions in Batman seeking help from those outside his Family?
SS: Yeah. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever tried having this massive sort of team up. In terms of the way it’ll play out for the villains and the heroes, it definitely will have repercussions in the stories going forward in June…if anyone survives. The idea is anything that happens in Endgame pays forward. It’s really big.
One of the things I’d really stress for readers is I came up as a short story writer and novelist. I never was a big sequential writer when I was in prose. So I didn’t do a lot of stuff that was like Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, …Chapter 20. I was sort of like, “Here’s the story. It’s finished.” In a lot of ways, I’ve proceeded that way in BATMAN. The stories, even though they interact with each other, in certain ways. they’re pretty stand alone, in a lot of ways for a reader. This story will be stand alone but the repercussions coming out of it will be massive.
There’s no closed book on it. It ends in a way that will leave people like, “What just happened?” And then it picks up, right afterwards with things extremely different and extremely changed. For us, that means, here, having him team up with his villains, we just wanted it completely off the wall with everyone from Batman’s mythology here, all of them fighting the Joker together. All of them could possibly go down or winning, and that will pay forward, the way a lot of things in Endgame will after this.
CV: Will Batman (and us readers) get all the answers about Joker at the end of Endgame or will he be left wondering?
SS: Yes. I think you’ll get the answers you want, honestly. I mean, I love the controversy surrounding his origin. I get so many tweets and emails and Facebook messages from people saying, “Please make him immortal” and then other people saying, “Please, I will drop the book if you make him immortal.” The controversy, or I guess the excitement or the enthusiasm and anger on both sides is something that’s really wonderful to see for me and Greg. We know you guys care about the story and the characters. You’ll get the answers to the questions that I think you want at the end and I think everyone will be happy. I’m really very excited about the ending.
CV: Is it safe to say Endgame is going to change Batman's world?
SS: Yeah. I don’t know how to reiterate with people, it will change the entire world of Batman for me and Greg. It will start us in a very very different place with very new storylines and new characters playing big roles in the book. We actually talked about, at one point, calling it ALL-NEW BATMAN in June just because so many things are going to be new about it. For us, it’s really meant to start with a sort of different status quo. I’ve been in Gotham for five years at this point. That’s a lot of time, ya know? When I see how vibrant the books are around me: GOTHAM ACADEMY, GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT, ARKHAM MANOR, BATGIRL, …I mean, these books are trying new things.
I think, at this point, it would be very easy for me and Greg to just do small mysteries. It’s always this joke, internally at DC, that I’m going to do small mysteries. I think I’ve said to you before, after we do Endgame, we’ll do small mysteries. When I look back, everyone was teasing me, “You said that after Black Mirror. You said that after Court of Owls.” And I have, in interviews. What I realize is, ultimately, one day I will get to those small mysteries. I promise. Even if it’s fan-fiction. What I really love doing, what makes me excited on the book, is to try to do stories that challenges me as a writer. They’re personal and about why I love this character and why Greg loves this character. So as much as I keep saying I’m going to do something small, coming in June, will definitely definitely definitely be, I think will be probably our wildest story yet. It might be our jump-the-shark moment or it might be the best thing that we’ve done. All I will say is, come have fun with us because we are very excited about it.
BATMAN #39, Endgame Part 5, is now on sale!