Movies & TV / Columns

What’s in Store for All-Star Batman?

December 28, 2016 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Inhumans vs X-Men #1, Ultimates 2 #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

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Last week we discussed, “Best Female Supervillains!” Here’s what you all had to say:

SaintOrleans: “Circe, Enchantress (Marvel version), White Queen, Moonstone needs more attention as she’s powerful and utterly repugnant.

Cheetah deserves the nod. Talia under Grant Morrison, and the original Killer Frost.”

El Atomico: “I thought Titania was cool, and Typhoid Mary from Daredevil”

Sir Truth: “Dark Phoenix.

/end thread”

To read ALL the comments, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss…

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What’s in Store for All-Star Batman?

As you may or may not know, the first arc of All Star Batman comes to a close this week and writer Scott Snyder spoke to about it and what the future has in store for the Dark Knight. I love Snyder in interviews. He doesn’t give the quick, simple, cliche answers and actually goes out of his way to explain the thought process behind his writing.

Let’s take a look at the highlights:

On his version of Two-Face: “Two-Face is the character that says, I am the real half. I’m the monstrous, private face that you don’t want to see in the mirror. And he knows all of this because he’s seen what people do behind closed doors. He has no faith in humanity to do anything but destroy each other and be selfish. Whereas Batman is the other half for most of the arc. He says that he forces himself to see the good. And I think what the arc does, at least I hope what it does, and that’s with some of Duke’s influence too, is that it reminds Bruce to focus on the good in people. And it’s also to recognize the pain that they’re in and the ugliness that they’re feeling. You have to respect all of that because ultimately, it makes it even more heroic when and if they do fight through and do whatever their perception of the right thing is in their own lives.

That’s what I was going for at the end, with the coin. Because of that, for me, Two-Face is a very scary villain. And one of the fun things about the arc and one of the challenges was to balance the levity and the kind of “Midnight Run,” kinetic, crazy bombastity with the very real horror and ugliness that Two-Face represents. He’s a very dark character, in my opinion. When Harvey admits that he’s given up in the fight against Two-Face, I was actually worried that story had gone too dark. I was trying to balance it constantly with this colorful, zany, wild action and humor.

On his version of KGBeast: “I love Anatoli. I was searching for a character that could be hunting Batman and Two-Face on the road, and my first impulse was Killer Croc. But I have had this story in my mind for a long time, and when I knew that Killer Croc was going to be in Suicide Squad, he became kind of ubiquitous. I was like, who am I not thinking of? If this series is really about bringing back some of my favorite villains from the past, who am I not thing of? And then I remembered “Batman: Ten Nights of the Beast” and I was like, where is KGBeast? Suddenly, it just hit me; if I could think of a way to make him new, he would be just perfect for the arc. Because ultimately, what Two-Face is saying is that at the end of the day, we’re just a collection of our desires and impulses, and we mask that with what you were saying, which is a smiley, happy face. But beneath it, we are this nebulous thing of needs and desires and selfish impulses.

KGBeast is a character that fought and killed for country, and killed out of need because he was forced to do it. The thing with him is, what if he just realizes that he loves to kill, and that’s it. He’s like the id on the road. He’s like Two-Face’s proof. He is Exhibit A of what Two-Face is saying, which is, “I have admitted who I am. I have made an island where I am going to hunt people in a maze for years. And I love that. I am happy as the Beast.” And to give him a nice flair, to have him re-enhanced by the U.S. government after the U.S.S.R. fell just worked because it gave him all new weapons and new strength. I was so excited when I came up with all of that for him, just this idea that he wanted to be this chaotic, terrible, killing force on the road. I knew he was going to be on the best parts of “All Star Batman.” And I am so pleased that people have responded to him so positively. I was surprised, but also very excited.

And yes, we’ll see him again. I have an idea on how to bring him back in the arc after the next arc. Editorial liked him so much that they wanted me to put him in every arc, in every issue, hunting Batman throughout in the background of the story. But I just felt that he would overpower it. It would be too much of a distraction and take away from the other villains. But yes, I am definitely bringing him back in this series and also, I think, the event that I am doing with Greg Capullo.”

On the next arc of All Star Batman with with Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Mad Hatter : “It’s actually one arc. They seem like done-in-ones but it’s actually a four-issue story called, “Ends of the Earth.” What happens is that Batman goes out to confront Mr. Freeze, because Mr. Freeze is planning something diabolical. That takes place in Alaska, and even though it feels like a one-shot, without spoiling things, the cataclysmic thing that Freeze is planning actually begins to happen, despite Batman’s best efforts, and that leads him to Death Valley to find Poison Ivy, who is working with the oldest trees in the world and making all kinds of miraculous things. And that actually leads us into “All Star Batman” #8, which features Mad Hatter, because Batman realizes that the technology being used against him has similarities to what the Hatter uses. He heads to the Everglades to this factory that Hatter is fronting and using to build this new kind of hat that is pretty spooky. And this all culminates in #9 with [artist] Afua Richardson in Washington, DC.”

On the challenge with writing All Star Batman: “The challenge with “All Star,” and the thing that’s most exciting to me, is that every piece of every story, whenever I’m working with a different villain, I am trying to adapt my style and try something I haven’t done that fits that story because of what the villain is about and why they’re scary, what they say about the zeitgeist, what they speak to in terms of my personal anxieties. All of that lends itself to a creative process where I am making stories in a new way for me. Nothing you’ll see in this series looks like anything that I’ve done before, in “Batman” or any other book that I’ve done, or even in the issues that have come before within the series itself. I am trying to be different from issue to issue while still telling one big story. I’m really pushing myself, and I have never had so much fun on a superhero book. I couldn’t have had more fun with Greg [Capullo] in terms of our partnership and making things for “Batman” — that was a joy, always — but in terms of the freedom that this series allows me, and the creative latitude it allows me to try things that are brand new for me and new takes for the characters, it’s so exhilarating to go to work in this way because it’s a constant reinvention, month to month, arc to arc, villain to villain. I really love it. Everything about it is new, every time.

Again, not in any way to diminish my time on “Batman.” I couldn’t have had a better time with Greg and I can’t wait to work with him again. There is just a joy to getting to do a series like this where it is constant new challenges and new villains and new characters and new partners and new — it speaks to core thing that I love about comics, which is that collaborative energy that’s always there and renewed when you work with people you either haven’t worked with before, or you’re working with people that you have worked with before, but in an arena that you haven’t tried together before.”

On the Batman project he’s working with Greg Capullo on: “Greg calls it our Batman heavy metal rock opera. [Laughs] It’s going to be a big, epic Batman story with flaming armor, an over-the-top capstone to a lot of the stuff that we’ve done with him. It’s all mapped out. I’ve just been out to Burbank with Geoff Johns going over it, and going over what he’s doing. It was great. It was one of the best story meetings that I’ve ever had. We sat there for a couple of days and really tightened up some of the screws. Geoff was incredibly generous and helpful with it.”

I’ve been a huge fan of Snyder’s Batman. With a character who has been around as long as Bats, it’s amazing how writers are able to come up with a new spin on familiar characters and situations. What are your thoughts on All Star Batman and Snyder’s run?

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That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!