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STARTING TODAY, WE FIGHT IDEAS WITH BETTER IDEAS. THE IDEA OF CRIME WITH THE IDEA OF BATMAN.


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ART: Andy Clarke with Scott Hanna COLOR: Alex Sinclair LETTERS: Patrick Brosseau COVERS: frank quitely and Andy Clarke ART: Andy Clarke with Scott Hanna COLOR: Alex Sinclair and Tony Aviña LETTERS: Patrick Brosseau COVERS: frank quitely and Andy Clarke ART: Andy Clarke with Scott Hanna, and Dustin Nguyen COLOR: Alex Sinclair LETTERS: Patrick Brosseau COVERS: frank quitely and Andy Clarke ART: Georges Jeanty with Walden Wong COLOR: Tony Aviña LETTERS: Travis Lanham COVERS: Andy Kubert and Cameron Stewart ART: Ryan Sook with Mick Gray, and Pere Pérez COLOR: José Villarrubia LETTERS: Jared Fletcher and Travis Lanham COVERS: Andy Kubert and Ryan Sook ART: Lee Garbett with Alejandro Sicat and Walden Wong, and Pere Pérez COLOR: Guy Major LETTERS: Jared Fletcher COVERS: Andy Kubert and Lee Garbett with Bill Sienkiewicz ART, color and variant cover: Frazer Irving LETTERS: Patrick Brosseau COVER: Frank Quitely ART, color and variant cover: Frazer Irving LETTERS: Patrick Brosseau COVER: Frank Quitely ART, color and variant cover: Frazer Irving LETTERS: Patrick Brosseau COVER: Frank Quitely ART: Cameron Stewart, Chris Burnham and Frazer Irving COLOR: Alex Sinclair LETTERS: Patrick Brosseau COVERs: Frank Quitely and Ethan Van Sciver


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STRIPPING DOWN BATMAN GR ANT MORRISON ON THE RE TURN OF BRUCE WAYNE

B A T - B R E A K D O W N

M O R R I S O N O N B AT M A N IN C . A ND B R U C E ’S R E T U R N


SIDEKICKS

ASIDE IS THE CONCEPT OF A HERO PARTNER DYING OR RETURNING SLOWLY TO LIFE?

P UBL ISHED ORIGIN A L LY IN SEQUA R T.ORG I EDI T ORI A L S


What is the purpose of a sidekick? The word itself arouses about as much sympathy as one would receive when he or she is referred to as a “second wheel” or “second class citizen” by a person with a title greater than their own. Of course, sidekicks were once a revered and respected commodity in the world of superheroes, yet have now somehow managed to dwindle and become far less impressive than they once were. However, the time in which such second-class heroes shined was not due to a combination of exotic formulas or odd narratives that placed the sidekicks in rare, sometimes unbeatable situations. Contrarily what made a sidekick such a crucial element to the superhero genre was the undying loyalty and unlimited assistance he or she gave to those they were serving alongside, and such a quality is not pitiful but admirable, some might even say, beautiful. In 2004 Pixar released a highly popular film called The Incredibles, a story about a family with superpowers and how they were brought closer together by the extraordinary qualities they possessed. In addition to the family attempting to become stronger was the inclusion of a villain whose sole motivations for being sinister had derived from his willingness to serve as the sidekick to the film’s titular hero but was later shunned as a result. This sparked an outrage in the life of this sidekick and continued to further the stigma that characters in this position are a less inclined, less powerful, and an overall less impressive appendage when compared to the main superhero. In spite of this, though, the reason for the sidekick was one that was grounded in nobility, for what editors, writers, and artists were seeking to do was craft characters that would serve as the reader’s point of view when reading a comic book. There are innumerable sidekicks presented in the realm of superheroes, with the most notable ones being Speedy, who served alongside the Emerald Archer, The Green Arrow, and Robin (who is likely comics’ leader in term of being the poster-boy for teenage sidekicks). In the silver age of comics editors were keen on creating characters with a more innocent perspective, hence why most of the sidekicks were characterized as being young and boyish. This changed the dynamic of the superhero and made room for stories where both hero and sidekick could work alongside one another in mutual respect in order to defeat the opposing power. Speedy assisted Green Arrow during his run-ins with various villains and Robin was Batman’s most loyal confidant and above all, his dependable, sincere, and a trustworthy friend. This was a compelling notion because readers themselves who, at the peak of the sidekick era, were young readers whose sole dream was to have a front row seat and watch as their favorite heroes fought crime, and, due to the age and personality demonstrated by the sidekicks, it would be like the readers themselves were literally dressing in costumes and battling alongside their favorite costumed crime fighter. But that was a long time ago.


The sidekick reign in comics quickly soured and a new reputation and perception began to take shape. The innocent, boyish attitude of normal sidekicks no longer appealed to most readers, and like many other heroes during this time, those who possessed such traits were either tossed away or revamped and revitalized for a different brand of readership. The key concept behind partnering any sidekick with any hero is the “dynamic” the two of them will share. This includes how the sidekick complements the hero and most importantly why the hero requires a sidekick in the first place. After all, not every superhero is given the privilege of having others work alongside them, so for the ones that do one must ask what the purpose is of possessing a partner and what is the necessity behind them? Truthfully, the importance of a duo is becoming less and less interesting, with the constant alterations of creative teams and editorial decisions from the high levels, so many sidekicks have now grown into their own brand of hero, and thus a struggle to maintain a partnership is becoming quite the challenge. However, for those who do possess the knowledge of the dynamic duo, Batman and Robin, one will see that the reason why they are brought together is because of the simple premise that both do not require one another for fighting crime as much as the fact that what they need above all else... is each other. Batman needs Robin and Robin needs Batman. Therefore, the sidekicks’ role is not just to accompany other heroes, but to be there to provide moral and philosophical support as well as perform tasks that only they can perform. When Robin is with Batman on his various missions Robin is there to perform certain duties that make his role as a superhero not only easier but better, more personal, which is why Damian Wayne being named as the new Robin provided a fresher, more honest take came with the launch of the new 52 Batman and Robin title. Now Robin and Batman were father and son and their relationship was explored in the same way that it was during the Dick Grayson-Bruce Wayne era, and although sidekicks still do not have to be blood relatives in order for the relationship to require meaning, the purpose and the ideas are intricate to there being a closeness between them. In the end, superheroes are not superheroes if they don’t have someone who believes in their cause, a supporting cast that is always there to give them what they need, and in the case of the sidekick, such qualities are embodied by a male or female who take up the mantle of their favorite hero and follow them wherever they go. And whichever one readers decide to stand behind, the sensibility and devotion is what maintains that connection and what fuels the purpose behind all sidekicks, what makes them as much apart of the world as the heroes they choose to fight alongside.

JARRETT MAZZA


NIGHTRUNNER

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL 12 AND BATMAN ANNUAL 28


SCRIPT: KYLE HIGGINS ART: TREVOR MCCARTHY COLOR: ANDRE PAUL SZYMANOWICZ LETTERS: TRAVIS LANHAM COVERS: STANLEY LAU


STRIPPING DOWN BATMAN • BAT-BREAKDOWN GRANT MORRISON INTERVIEWS


STRIPPING DOWN

BATMAN GRANT MORRISON ON THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE

PUBL ISHED ORIGIN AL LY IN COMIC SAL L IA NCE.COM I IN T ERVIE WS I BY L AUR A HUDSON


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espite Batman’s untimely “demise” last year in Final Crisis — a loss that led former sidekick Dick Grayson to take up the mantle of the Bat with Bruce Wayne’s son Damian as his Robin — readers have known for some time that Batman isn’t really gone, just missing in time, thanks to the machinations of Darkseid. DC superwriter Grant Morrison has started to slowly unravel what that means in the ongoing “Batman and Robin” series, and soon all will be revealed in an upcoming miniseries called “Return of Bruce Wayne,” where the man behind Batman finds himself starting from scratch in time periods ranging from prehistoric times to the 1950s, and battling history itself to make his way back to the present. ComicsAlliance spoke to Grant Morrison about how the series strips Bruce Wayne to his most essential core, what it means to take the myth of Batman back in time, and how Return of Bruce Wayne will redefine Batman’s origin story as we understand it.

In Return of Bruce Wayne we’re going to see Batman starting his life over in a variety of different time periods. How does it affect the legend of Batman to move its origins back in time? For me, the time thing is to take Bruce Wayne to the limit of what he is as a character, because he’s thrown back into prehistory with no memory and no uniform and no tools apart from the fact that he’s got his belt. I like of the idea of exploring Batman with this time travel story, but to do it quite convincingly and realistically so that he’s really at the edges of what Batman can possibly be. I wanted to see him survive out there, and expose him to these challenges through history that would allow us to watch Batman being born from nothing, basically, from this amnesiac man. I kind of explored him psychologically in R.I.P.; I broke him down and deconstructed him, and this is really about putting Batman back together again, but in a sequence of what will hopefully be pretty cool one-off stories, with each set in a different time and with a different genre feeling to it. It’s interesting that on one level you’re dealing with the idea of the immortality of the Batman legend, but at the same time, a lot of this is designed to reveal more about Bruce Wayne as a man. Really, he’s kind of stripped naked – though we don’t actually get to see him naked. [laughs] He’s down to the absolutely bare basics. We’ll be seeing Bruce Wayne in prehistoric times, the Pilgrim era, on the high seas, in the Wild West, and in a 1950s noir story. Why did you choose these particular time periods and places? Firstly, I had to select something that could have happened conceivably around the area of Gotham City. When I first started I had the caveman one, and then I really wanted to do gladiator Batman; that was a story I was so excited about – Batman racing across the


Forum in Ancient Rome. But then I realized that he can’t really do that. He can only jump around [time] in his own area, and that allowed me to tie it into the history of Batman’s family... It allowed me to deal with a very specific space that we know to be Batman’s. So he starts off in the caveman era and you get to see the actual Batcave as it was then, this kind of place initiation for tribesmen. In the Puritan days, it was a hideout for a girl who was accused of being a witch, and so on through the different time periods... Each of them also has their own distinct atmosphere and genre. So you’ve got the Batcave appearing in different time periods; are we going to see any members of his rogue’s gallery also appearing through time? These are people who lived in Gotham, so you might get to see families – Commissioner Gordon’s family or Catwoman’s family. You mention your development of the Wayne family history as well. There was Silas Wayne from the ‘50s, Patrick and Kenneth from a prose piece in an issue of Batman Chronicles — how much research did you do, and how much of that did you draw from? I basically researched all of it, and then once I’d written it down I discovered a completely different and contradictory version, as usual with these things. So I had to combine the two into one. One version says that Wayne Manor was built in 1855, and the other version says that it was built in 1799, so I kind of fudged that. But I had to read through all of that stuff, and there’s so much of it. So many little throwaway things in these stories that you’ve never heard that might relate to the history of the family. You’ve called Return of Bruce Wayne the latest chapter in your definitive Batman tale; do you know what the last chapter is going to be? Oh yeah. It’s really good, yes. I’m so excited, but I can’t say anything about it. The idea for that came to me a few months ago, and it was really quite exciting. I know exactly how it is going to end up.

Just a few months ago? That recently? Well, I didn’t really think I’d be back after Return of Bruce Wayne. I was sure the whole thing would just go back to the kind of classic Batman status quo at that point. And I came up with an idea for how we could develop it in a completely different direction, that kind of did something new to the basic Batman concept. So I had to stay on. I know at one point you’d intended Damian to die – how much of what we’re seeing now is what you originally envisioned for the overarching Batman story, and how much of it has evolved in the process of writing? Well, one of the first ideas I had was Batman R.I.P. when I got the Batman job back in 2005... all that stuff was there to begin with, the whole Dr. Hurt plotline and Black Glove plotline were there. And as it progressed, as with most of these things, when you get into the work and you start to understand the things that you’re doing, it takes on a life of its own and starts to expand. There are certain things that seem to make sense at the time like making Damian a little bastard and killing him off, but then everyone felt sorry for him. And suddenly [killing him] didn’t seem like such a great idea, because he was potentially such a great character, and I’m glad I didn’t. So with Batman coming back, what’s that going to mean for Dick Grayson? After you’ve been Batman, what else can you do that isn’t a demotion? Where do you go from there? This is the big launch after The Return of Bruce Wayne, so I don’t want to say too much, but it’s a completely new take on the Batman status quo. It’s like that scene where Damian asks, what happens when Bruce Wayne comes back? We don’t get to be Batman and Robin? Because I felt, and I think readers felt that they were really cool as Batman and Robin, and you don’t want to lose them straightaway. So you’ll see what happens. A lot of your work revolves around high concept themes; is there a particular theme that you’re


working with in Return of Bruce Wayne specifically?

in the world of Batman, or do you hold out the possibility that you could come back again?

Each strand of it takes a slightly different approach, and looking back on “Batman and Robin,” I can see there’s a very interesting progression where the first story that came out is about masks, and the second story is about faces, and the third story is about bones, and the fourth story is about family history. It’s kind of delving into the meat of Batman. I wasn’t aware that I was doing it, but now it’s so clear that each story peels back another layer of what Batman is. It all ties into that – the idea of the man in the mask. And the fact that I want to bring Bruce Wayne and Batman together again as a person, rather than the idea that Bruce is a decoy and Batman is the real person. I wanted to bring back Bruce as a living, breathing person.

I didn’t ever think I would do Batman again after Arkham Asylum. You never know when a good story idea will come up. But when this one comes to its conclusion I think I’ll have covered so many of the basics of what Batman means to me, it’d be hard to imagine there’d be much left to say.

Someone who’s as well trained as Batman, who has studied meditation and all these disciplines, really wouldn’t just be a tough guy. There’s a lot more to him. Batman is a person who has seen a lot of really dark stuff and dealt with it. He’s not a one-note character. He’s got a lot more context to understand the world, but he’s driven by the mission – that’s the child part of him that he can’t quiet. So as smart as he is, I think he wouldn’t know what to do if he didn’t keep doing what he does. And that’s true no matter what context you put him in. It just shows that deep inside, behind the costume, behind everything, there’s this highly moral man who will not let bullies have their way. And that is constantly reinforced; each story [in Return of Bruce Wayne] is a different take on the idea of bad people and good people and villains and black and white. Actually now that you mention it, the stories are a bit – they kinda put him up against morally ambiguous situations rather than clear black and white ones. After you finish this overarching Batman story that you’ve been working on, is that it for you

Do you actually have a pithy statement about what Batman means to you? Well, it’s taken me 6 years to work it out through the book. [laughs] By the end of the whole thing I’m sure I’ll have a lovely one-liner, but right now I’m still discovering. I love the fact that you can delve into a fictional character like this and get so much depth and so much history. He’s kind of alive. He’s been around longer than me and he’ll be around when I’m long gone, so he’s kind of more real than me. That’s a theme that we’ve seen a lot in your work, and it seems like we’re seeing it acted out in a literal way in Return of Bruce Wayne – the idea that this character, this legend is immortal. The great thing about comics is that they can act out big psychological struggles or human dramas but on a kind of cosmic or epic stage. The best comics are the ones that ultimately talk about what it’s like to be people, but they express it the way that dreams express it: as big symbols. Do you see Return of Bruce Wayne as the new Batman origin story? To a certain extent, it’s almost replacing the death of his parents. That’s never going to go away, but this is giving him something else where Batman grows naturally and spontaneously out of something else after the death of his parents... That’s what I like about it – the idea that Bruce Wayne just becomes Batman. You can’t stop him becoming it.


BAT-BREAKDOWN MORRISON ON BATMAN INC. AND BRUCE’S RETURN

PUBL ISHED ORIGIN AL LY IN NE WSAR A M A.COM I IN T ERVIE WS I BY VA NE TA ROGERS


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ver the last four years, Grant Morrison has taken Bruce Wayne and the entire Batman universe through several upheavals and a series of epic stories. With this month’s conclusion to Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, the writer moves the caped crusader into a new era. Beginning in November, the DC universe will have two Batmen, and Bruce Wayne will start recruiting even more heroes around the world to wear the symbol of the bat. This month’s The Road Home event will see several heroes reacting to Bruce’s homecoming, and Morrison will introduce the hero’s new status quo in the one-shot Batman: The Return #1 with art by David Finch. As the universe adjusts to two Batmen, Bruce Wayne will wear the yellow oval symbol of Batman, appearing in both Batman Inc. by Morrison and Yanick Paquette, and The Dark Knight by writer/artist David Finch. In the meantime, Dick Grayson will wear the black Batman symbol and will stay in Gotham City with Damian Wayne as Robin. This “other” Batman will star in Batman & Robin by Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason, Detective Comics by Scott Snyder and Jock, and Batman by writer/artist Tony Daniel. Morrison’s brand new comic will see Bruce Wayne traveling the world, teaming up with heroes in different countries as he tries to recruit them to be part of an international Batman network. Why is Bruce trying to recruit an international team? Well, according to Morrison, Bruce has his reasons, although the writer’s not revealing all of them up front. But he promises the answers will come later, followed by an epic storyline during the second year of Batman Inc. that reunites the two Batmen and puts all Bruce’s plans into action. Newsarama talked with Morrison to find out more about Batman: The Return and Batman Inc.


Grant, your run on Batman has been described as epic, and it sounds like it’s going to be even more epic as you go forward. Yeah, I hope so! There have been so many twists and turns in the Batman universe since you started. Did you have a lot of this planned all along, or has it evolved as you’ve been writing it? It’s evolved quite a bit, but the actual main setup of the story — the whole thing that became Batman R.I.P. and the battle with Dr. Hurt — goes right back to the very first notebooks in 2005 when I was offered the Batman gig. So yeah, there was always an element of it that was going to be the main spine of the story. But certainly, as it’s gone on, it’s grown on its own and gone in a lot of different directions, which is quite nice. It’s good when a story starts to move in a way you didn’t expect it to move. The basic thread is still there. And even the fact that what I’m aiming toward now was always implicit in the beginning. The route along the way has been quite twisty and turny and a lot of fun. We’ve seen quite a few characters evolve, and one that has been the most noticeable is Damian. What were your ideas behind the character when you first introduced him, and was it always your intent that he’d be the type of hero he is today? No, when I first introduced him, I figured I was going to kill him off at the end of that first fourpart story. Really? Yeah! Really! I thought people would hate him so much. I thought I’d do one of those classic stories where the little bad guy in the last act suddenly does a wonderful thing and sacrifices his life and saves the world and you feel sorry for him. But then I thought, no, this character has a lot more potential. Once I’d written the first part of the original Batman and Son story, where Damian’s in the cave and he’s such a brat and he’s so unpleasant to everyone, and the fact that Batman had this boy with such hatred, gave me this feeling that I thought, “I’m going to make everyone love this character, because I think there’s some big potential here.”


It’s really worked out. He’s really become quite a breakout character from the series. As I said at the start of Batman & Robin, I think he’s almost got the potential to be the Wolverine of Batman. You know... he’s got that little feisty, tough guy, scrapper thing going on, but in a very different way, obviously. He’s an aristocrat and an assassin. But yeah, once I realized that I was going to keep the kid alive, it was always my intention to put him through a big, big story arc that would end up with him being one of the great heroes of the DC Universe. What’s coming up for Damian next? You say he’ll end up as one of the great heroes of the DCU, but do you think he’s there? Or is it your intent for him to become that later in your run on Batman? Aaaah... well, that would be giving an awful lot away about where I’m going next. Obviously, Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason are telling the stories of Dick and Damian for the foreseeable future, so I’m kind of letting them go as of Batman & Robin #16. But he obviously gets a big part in that book, and I’ll hopefully leave him in a position where he’ll be able to go on and fulfill his destiny. Beyond that, after the first year of Batman Inc., my next big storyline is going to go back to focus on Damian a little bit. So yeah, I do have big plans for Damian in the future. But I can’t tell you what they are! [laughs] I think most fans thought Dick Grayson was ready to be Batman, but we’ve seen his character evolve quite a bit as well. You’ve certainly written Dick in a way that has made readers accept and even like him as Batman. But how would you define his evolution in this story? Well, the thing with Dick that’s been interesting is that his story arc is a lot quieter. People are really focused on Damian, because it’s easier to track the differences in him. But with Dick Grayson, the way I’ve been playing him is that he’s the consummate superhero. You know? He’s the guy who’s always been a superhero and he always will be a superhero and he does it really well. So I show him in that way. But I think what’s interesting is the way he deals with Damian and the way that’s helped him to define his role as


Batman. You know, Bruce Wayne dealt with Damian in a very strict, parental way. And Dick Grayson tried that in the first couple issues of Batman & Robin and it didn’t work very well. So what he’s done is very gently guided this kid. If you look at it, it’s very subtle, the way he works with him. Grayson got over his problems quite quickly, I think, because once he had his own Robin, he was forced to be Batman. You know? He no longer had someone to look up to. He was the one being looked up to. So I think he slipped into his role quite well. Is that why he’s staying on as Batman even after Bruce returns? Yeah. You don’t want him to lose that role when Bruce comes back. It seems such a shame to drop the Dick and Damian team, which works so well as Batman and Robin. So we’re letting him stay as Batman because I think he’s earned it, and he does it really well. You’ve put Bruce Wayne’s character through so much over the last couple years. And you’ve said that you put him in a time travel story to kind of throw him into something different. But I’d like to hear your thoughts on what’s changed within him that is leading him to this very different approach to his role, traveling the world and recruiting people into Batman Inc. Well, his character has been taken to his limits, obviously. And that’s what I wanted to do

with Batman. You’ve got a character who’s so powerful, you know? And I’m also writing Batman in his prime, at his peak, rather than at the beginning of his life or at the end of his career. You kind of have to deal with the fact that, here’s a man who knows every martial art, who studied every book on law and criminology, who knows all about meditation. That’s a hell of a human being, you know? He’s not just a street brawler or a playboy who’s pretending. He’s someone who has really made himself superhuman. I was getting into that idea. And once you’ve accepted that, you’re really dealing with someone who’s built in a different way than the rest of us. So I wanted to put him up against problems that he couldn’t solve quite as easily as he did in the past. We’ve seen him fight muggers or street criminals, or people like Ra’s Al Ghul of international terror, or supervillains. But to see him up against situations where he really has to struggle... you know, like time travel stories or supernatural stories. I think it really forces him into displaying his best qualities. Grant, when I was looking over your run, I noticed that you’ve emphasized how unique Batman is, with the Three Ghosts of Batman and the clones created by Darkseid. You’ve made the point that you can’t duplicate the things that make Bruce Wayne this incredibly powerful superhero called Batman. Yeah, yeah.


But how do you get from this theme of Batman being something you can’t duplicate, to the concept of Bruce Wayne wanting to duplicate his efforts around the world in Batman Inc.? What he’s trying to do now, he’s realized his vulnerability, and also — as the result of Return of Bruce Wayne #6 and what happens in there — he’s also realized that he is kind of a living symbol. He’s almost a New God himself, in the sense that Batman is bigger than Bruce. No one can be Batman like Bruce Wayne. No one can process that feeling of trauma in the way that he dealt with it, and the way that he turned the worst day of his life into this beautiful crime-fighting experience that saves so many other lives. Yes, no one else can be that man. But he’s realized that other people can represent Batman. And then he’s come back and seen that Dick and Damian have managed to keep Gotham intact while he’s been gone. And suddenly it’s the idea of this symbol. That’s what drives him toward Batman Inc. By symbol, I assume you mean not only the yellow symbol he’s wearing, but also the symbol of Batman himself and what he represents? Yeah, I was looking back at the old Tim Burton Batman movie in 1989, and the way they played that symbol, it was such a major merchandising tool. So I wanted to do something that represented that, or echoed that.

So Batman Inc. is the notion of Batman taking the symbol and saying, let’s form an international army or team, or police force, which is endorsed by Batman and wears Batman’s symbol. It’s not that they all dress like Batman or look like Batman, although some of them might do it, but they all wear the symbol. And it’s almost like a badge, like the Red Cross or the police or the army. And that’s what he’s doing now. And the reason why he’s doing it will be revealed at the end of the first season. Right now, we just see him kind of stamping his mark on things. What’s going to happen when Bruce Wayne himself — not just Batman — but Bruce Wayne returns to the world? What are the ramifications of his homecoming? And how is he involved in Batman Inc.? He takes a much more proactive role in the idea of Batman, as you’ll see in Batman: The Return. He’s much more dialed up in the mix, I guess — a lot more. Bruce’s voice is louder in the Batman concept than it may have been in the past. He’s come to understand who he is. He’s not just a shell of a man. He’s not just a mask or a face. He’s realized that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same. So now he’s allowing Bruce Wayne’s business expertise to influence Batman’s crime-fighting work. He takes a much bigger role.


You’ll see Bruce Wayne as almost a Tony Stark figure, using his money in a very different way.

Will we see the Japanese heroes of the Super Young Team you introduced in 52?

So will his money be involved in Batman Inc. in a big way?

We see a little bit of them, actually, in the second part of this story. But they’re not a big part of the story. They’re just there in the background. We actually have a new Japanese crimefighter called Mr. Unknown, who’s involved in this one.

Oh yeah. Definitely. And WayneTech will be providing a lot of new equipment for the Batman operation. You’ve talked about Bruce’s team-ups as he recruits new members to Batman Inc. around the world. We’ve seen you play with this idea of an international team before in your Club of Heroes stories and even the more recent stuff you’ve been doing. Who are some of the first international heroes we’ll be seeing during Batman Inc.? Well, the first one is set in Japan, and we’re introducing this idea of a Japanese Batman. The idea came from Bat-Manga book that Chip Kidd did — you know, the Japanese Batman strips. And I wanted to bring that in, in the same way I’ve brought all these other elements in from Batman’s history into the one, unfolding storyline. I kind of wanted to incorporate some of that Japanese Batman manga stuff. So this is kind of the story of that Batman, as he’s recruited and begins his work. And we’ve got Catwoman in there as a guest star. It’s a big kick-off for how the concept works with Batman traveling around the world to different destinations and recruiting people.

The second storyline... and this is because Yanick Paquette is drawing this stuff, and he draws these fabulous macho men and beautiful women. So the second story is set in Argentina, and it brings back the Batman of Argentina from the Club of Heroes story, a guy called El Gaucho. It’s kind of a big old macho man story, you know, with these two guys. Maybe Gaucho doesn’t want to wear the bat-symbol. He’s happy to be influenced, but he doesn’t want to be taken under the wing. It’s just a nice macho man story set in Argentina with a bunch of new villains, and I guess influenced by the old Kathy Kane Batwoman in a flashback. You mentioned new villains, but will we see any established Batman villains in Batman Inc.? Or are you mostly creating new ones? I’m trying to make up new villains, mostly. I think that’s what we should be doing right now. I’m sure some of the other writers will tackle some of the old favorites. But I kind of feel like, as I push forward, I’m making a bunch of new characters.


So mostly, in Batman Inc., the villains are new. And a lot of them are international villains. We may have seen some of them before, in the Club of Villains thing in Batman R.I.P., like Scorpiana, who’s the Argentinean assassin girl. So stuff like that will appear. But generally, I’m going for new villains. I want to make it feel fresh. I think that’s one of the things that helped Batman & Robin. People really seem to respond to the new characters and the new villains. You also did pretty short story arcs with Batman & Robin, usually doing three-issue stories. Is it the same kind of approach for Batman Inc.? Yeah, but it’s going to be even different again. It’s going to be even more stripped back and pulpy and fast-moving. So the first one’s only two. It’s really tight. It’s like reading about six issues in two. I’m very pleased with the way we’ve been able to cut this. Yanick’s work is just so great. His work is so visually dense and so detailed that you can do a lot of tricks with it, that you couldn’t do with some other artists. So yeah, we want to do very short, punchy stories in it. We may do some that are only one issue, and some that are three issues. And that will be the first year of the book. I call it the first season. It will be 12 issues of one- or two-part stories.

And then you mentioned that after that first year, you’d be coming back to Damian. So are there big plans for what comes after this recruitment period, as Batman Inc. is put into action? Yeah. The second year of Batman Inc., which is what I’m building up to, we find out why all this recruitment is going on. I’ll be bringing Damian and the whole team back together again for the big epic, which will be year two of Batman Inc.. So that’s going to bring all the characters back together again. And definitely, I’ll get my chance to write Damian again. And that will be good. Grant, then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Batman: The Return or Batman Inc.? Just that, with Batman: The Return, it’s all very intricate. I’ve been working on this for the last six months, with 11 different artists simultaneously. For me, it’s the big payoff of a lot of hard work. So I hope the fans are really going to get into how it ends. With Batman Inc., we’re moving forward in a completely new direction, which I hope is going to take everyone by surprise. It’s nothing like the conclusion of The Return or Batman & Robin. So yeah, I hope everyone enjoys the ride.


FROM TODAY ON, BATMAN WILL BE EVERYWHERE IT’S DARK. NO PLACE TO HIDE.

BATMAN BY GRANT MORRISON - BOOK 4  
BATMAN BY GRANT MORRISON - BOOK 4  
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