Joey Sack ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Official Description: A “who’s who” of Bat-talent returns to Gotham–err–we mean, New York! Join the various Batman-verse creative teams –Greg Capullo, Amy Chu, Tom King, Khary Randolph, Tim Seeley, Scott Snyder, Peter Tomasi, James Tynion IV–as we explore the “new” Dark Knight’s adventures in the streets of Gotham and beyond! If you’re looking for breaking news and exclusive never-seen-before art, this is the Panel to be at!
A lot has been going on in the world of Batman comics; Jim Gordon is Batman, it’s unknown if Bruce Wayne will ever pick up the cowl again, there’s a new villain, Mr. Bloom, on the streets of Gotham, and Dick Grayson, the first Robin, has become a secret agent. It’s enough to confuse any comic book fan, but there was nothing but excitement at DC Comics’ Batman: The Bat-Universe Panel. The panel consisted of renowned comic book writers and artists, all of whom are currently working on Batman-related comics; Peter Tomasi (writer, Detective Comics), Khary Randolph (artist, We Are Robin), Tom King (writer, Grayson), James Tynion IV (writer, Batman & Robin Eternal), Amy Chu (writer, Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death), Scott Snyder (writer, Batman), and Greg Capullo (artist, Batman).
Most of the panel was dedicated to the panelists talking about upcoming issues of their series, starting with Batman #45, written by Snyder and drawn by Capullo, and described as the “things go to hell issue,” is available October 14th. The issue serves as a proper debut for Mr. Bloom, a new Batman villain that will be faced by Jim Gordon’s Batman, since Bruce Wayne is, again, out of commission. Then, the cover art for Batman #46, depicting Batgirl and Bruce Wayne (?) tied up, noting that this issue is where Bruce Wayne starts to remember, not necessarily who he was, but perhaps what he was. Could this mean the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s return to the cowl? Probably, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Up next was Batman & Robin Eternal #1, on sale now, which was described as a story that could act as both a Robin story in the past and a Dick Grayson story in the present. A mysterious criminal from Batman’s early career returns, and Batman could not and did not share any of the details about the case with his allies, including the then-Robin Dick Grayson. Now, in this 26-issue series, Dick Grayson must work to uncover the truth. Batman & Robin Eternal also reintroduces fan-favorite Cassandra Cain to the main DC Universe, and James Tynion, the writer, noted that she may not be the only one returning.
When speaking about Detective Comics #45, it was emphasized that everything that is typical about the series is upside down thanks to the events in the main Batman story; Bruce isn’t Batman, Jim is Batman, the Justice League is at a bit of a loss in terms of what to do with Bruce, they visit Bruce, and then try to see what Jim Gordon could do with the cowl. The issue really lets Gordon show off his detective skills (which is good, seeing as it’s called Detective Comics).
One of the bigger things discussed was Amy Chu’s upcoming six-issue series, Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death, out this January, which will give more backstory into the classic Batman villain. Chu noted that the series will show Poison Ivy is “not a psychopath, she has the capacity to love people.” She also said “there will be a little of action and a little bit of mystery, because someone dies and it looks like Poison Ivy did it, but she knows she didn’t do it.”
Khary Randolph took time to talk about doing the artwork for We Are Robin, a storyline which sees a group of kids in Gotham who have taken the title of Robin and made it their own. “Writing it feels like you’re in a big group effort,” Randolph said, also calling the project a jumble of different styles. “If most Batman stories are on the rooftops,” Randolph continued, “this is more street level.”
Next, December’s upcoming Robin War was discussed, with Tom King describing it as a “big summer event in December.” It’s about morality,” King continued. “Everyone wants to be like Batman, but they can’t all be like Batman. All the Robins are back, now they have this huge problem, with people who want to be like them causing trouble.”
The final title discussed before the Q&A session was Grayson, done by Tom King and Seeley. They talked about how their goal with the title was always to move Grayson up “to the fourth tier of the DC Universe, along with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.” They talked about how the next few issues will see the former Robin going up against SPYRAL, the organization he used to work for, now working more for himself than anything else.
In the Q&A session, many questions were asked, but one of the best answers to sum up these artists and writers’ feelings was given by Scott Snyder. When asked how they got inspiration for how to write and draw Batman, Snyder talked about how he was terrified and still terrified; he pictured that first panel of the Batcave, and Alfred’s waiting for you to say something. The best solution? “Pretend you made them up,” Snyder said. “Pretend that you own the character and everything about them.” That feels, in a lot of ways, how any artist or writer should approach any title; within the confines of the character’s world and mythology, pretend that you made him up and can do, without breaking too much, anything they want to tell a compelling story.
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