SPOILER WARNING: The following story discusses major plot points and developments in DC Comics' "Batman" #48.
As those who have read this week's "Batman" #48 know, big things happened in Gotham City, but perhaps the biggest is Bruce Wayne seemingly remembering that he is, indeed, Batman.
Of course, we knew Bruce was headed back towards the life of a costumed hero, as numerous cover reveals, interviews and teases gave that part of the story away months ago. However, what fans probably didn't see coming was exactly how the amnesiac billionaire would remember his past, and decide to take up the mantle of the bat once more.
Writer Scott Snyder spoke with CBR about this development, with he and artist Greg Capullo flipping the script from the popular theory that Batman's existence created the Joker to having the Joker actually being the reason Bruce Wayne once more becomes Batman.
"In a lot of ways, they are locked in this eternal battle," Snyder told CBR, explaining why, exactly, the often tense conversation between an amnesiac Bruce and Joker triggered the Dark Knight's return. "Joker has appeared in every single story that we've done -- even in the beginning of 'The Court of Owls.' He was also in 'Zero Year' as the Red Hood. We haven't done a story that hasn't involved him in one way or another."
"I feel like our version of Batman -- and I realized this when we were doing 'The Court of Owls' and later, 'Zero Year,' all has a lot to do with a post-9/11 world," the writer said of how he and Capullo have always approached their series with the intention of making it relevant to our modern world. "Batman is someone who teaches people to be brave. 'Go out and don't be afraid of things that seen insurmountable or the randomness of things. Make your life matter. Make it mean something.'"
"Joker is a character who constantly says, 'Your life means nothing. I am the bomb that goes off and ruins everything and closes the story of your life before it should be closed. You might have been building a life but I will come and I destroy it,'" Snyder continued. "They are eternally locked in this conversation, which is usually violent, here less so, but it has to do with the core elements of what Batman is about. The fun thing about this scene, which is one of the keystone scenes -- and before we even started this arc, we discussed this -- they are coming at the conversation from the other side of the mirror. They are both taking the side of the mirror that the other one usually takes. Bruce says, 'What's my life mean. So I helped some kids. So I'm in love. If it ends here, before it finishes, what does it matter?' And it's The Joker that says, 'Maybe all that matters is that you were here.' That's kind of a strange forgiveness and a closure for them, so that we can move away from that conversation."