If you are wondering who's in and who's out in "Batman and the Outsiders," a very forthright Chuck Dixon told CBR News what to expect roster-wise as the revamped DC Comics series launches this Wednesday.
Dixon, who replaced the announced and solicited Tony Bedard as writer on the series very late in the game, said his long history with Batman and the Bat-books made his jump into the Batmobile's driver's seat quite easy. Although, he admitted, his late arrival upped the ante in terms of his record for joining a series so close to its release.
"It beats the three weeks notice I had coming in on 'Nightwing'," laughed Dixon, who was synonymous with the Bat-books in the 1990s as the writer of "Detective Comics," "Robin," "Catwoman," "Birds of Prey" and the aforementioned "Nightwing."
As for managing the team's roster, Dixon shows almost right off the bat that he is not afraid to go to the bullpen early and make the Outsiders his own.
While he confirmed the lineup for "Batman and the Outsiders" #1 would include Batman, Martian Manhunter, Catwoman, Metamorpho, Katana and Grace, he said changes are coming soon.
"Thunder's here, but in an unofficial capacity," said Dixon. "Batgirl joins by issue #3 and Green Arrow comes along by issue #4. Martian Manhunter leaves as does Catwoman."
Asked if there were any heroes he wanted who weren't available to him, Dixon said, "I don't want to say as I'm still working on getting some of my choices.
"I'm familiar with everyone on the team except Grace and Thunder," continued Dixon. "But I'm finding my way along with them and their scenes are becoming among my favorites to write. I was a fan of the original series by Mike Barr and Jim Aparo, so it's all coming together easily for me."
And while he is enjoying writing the whole team, he said there is one in particular he loves to transform.
"I honestly like them all, but I'm really enjoying Metamorpho. I like his attitude and I'm getting into all the crazy stuff he can do with his physical make-up," explained Dixon.
And off course, nothing beats writing Bats.
"He's the coolest character in comics," said Dixon. "He's a problem solver and an ass-kicker. The guy is all about results. Other than James Bond, who is always referred to as synonymous with cool?"
Dixon said "Batman and the Outsiders" #1 picks up right where "Outsiders "#50 left off.
"The first two-issues have the team doing a recon-in-force on some very fishy experiments being performed in Central City by a European corporation. It all blows up from there and we intro a new villain.
"The next story is a one-off with the Outsiders facing off some of the JLA over a matter of protocol. Geo-Force joins the team in this issue."
Dixon says, as far as he knows, Batman will be serving double duty with both DCU's heavy hitters and its rogue team of what-ever-it-takers - two outfits with very different M.O.s.
"I believe he'll still be in the JLA, but he's running the Outsiders all on his own. Although no one on the JLA really approves of it," said Dixon. "The Outsiders react as Batman reacts. They ignore international law and often roll in a preventative manner. They try and deal with problems before they blow up to JLA size.
"I said, try."
And speaking of team-ups, Dixon is thrilled with the artist he has riding shotgun on the series, Julian Lopez ("Wonder Woman.").
"He draws all the crazy stuff I ask him for and makes it look easy," said Dixon. "His characters are nuanced and varied and he creates believable environments for them to move around him. He can draw anything and draw it well. I was floored by the dog he drew in #1.
"Julian brings out the coolness factor in every character. He's the full package and the real deal."
Beyond the "Batman and the Outsiders," Dixon has also been announced as the new writer on "Robin," beginning with issue #170 in January, 2008.
Asked if he was going to be writing any other Gotham-based titles in 2008, he joked, "I'm as curious as you are about that one."