The Secret Origin of The Batman Who Laughs' Horde of Cannibalistic Robins
Speaking of things that are totally bonkers, can you talk a little about where the idea to have The Batman Who Laughs have a squad of cannibal Robins came from?
[Laughs] That was actually my idea. It was late at night and I was sitting there thinking, like, “...Joker...ugh, this Batman Who Laughs...would he have any henchmen?” I had literally just put my kids to bed, so it popped into my head, like, “Oh, he would have kids!” But then I had to go further like, what if they’re like...cannibalistic, crazy Robins?
I literally called Capullo then and just said, “I have an idea that might be the darkest thing I’ve done.”
The Batman Who Laughs was actually one of the earliest elements in Metal. Those Dark Knights one shots? I’m so proud of them and what those teams have done. Each one is about one of Batman’s nightmares about going too far. For example, the Batman Who Laughs is Bruce asking, “What if I killed the Joker and I found out that he has a toxin in his heart that essentially made whoever kills him the next Joker, and that’s why he’s always tried to get Batman to kill him?”
It’s one of the darkest stories that we could do. What happens then, what happens to the family, all of that is in Batman: The Batman Who Laughs one-shot.
Similarly, the Red Death is asking “What if there was a catastrophe in Gotham that I wasn’t fast enough to stop and I started experimenting with the Speed Force and it all went to hell?” Murder Machine is looking at a world where Alfred passed away, so Bruce asks Cyborg to upload his consciousness into the Alfred Protocol, and the first thing the Alfred Protocol does when it comes online is kill every villain in Gotham like, “You’re welcome, sir!” When the superheroes try and stop it, it kills them too, and absorbs Batman into it as an extension. So, yeah, each one of them actually has a really emotional story.
So those are these Dark Knights one shots, and then we have the "Gotham Resistence" tie-ins which are about Dick and a team of heroes trying to take on the Batman Who Laughs as he kind of transforms Gotham City. He’s got these creepy Joker cards that seem to kind of magically do things through the metal on them. They fight back and it almost becomes like Dungeons & Dragons or Game of Thrones.
Dark Nights: Metal #2, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia and Steve Wands, is on sale now from DC Comics.