SPOILER WARNING: The following interview discusses specific events and plot points from “Batman” #40 and “Divergence,” DC Comics’ Free Comic Book Day release.
Following the game-changing events of this week’s “Batman” #40, Gotham needs a new (super)hero. And in DC Comics’ Free Comic Book Day issue, available May 2, the heir apparent to the Dark Knight is revealed in an eight-page story by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Simply titled “The Rookie,” the short story swiftly sets up a new status quo for the hit series, with a muscled-up Commissioner Jim Gordon adopting the now-armored mantle of the Bat.
Beyond the new Batman, the story also features Geri Powers — the matriarch of a Gotham-based family that rivals the Waynes in terms of wealth, influence and, not surprisingly, power. And for comic book readers unfamiliar with the animated “Batman Beyond,” the Powers are also responsible for the death of Warren McGinnis, the father of Terry McGinnis, who eventually becomes Batman under the guidance of an aged Bruce Wayne. With a “Batman Beyond” ongoing series arriving post-“Convergence,” the hit show’s continuity now permeates Bruce Wayne’s world like it never did before.
And while Snyder confirmed for CBR News that Terry McGinnis isn’t going to play a role in “Batman,” the pieces are definitely falling quickly into place for a timeline that was once considered other-worldly to exist very neatly as the future of what’s currently happening in the DC Universe.
Plus, Capullo shares his thoughts on the new look of Batman and the overall series, which he readily admits feels like a whole new book now that Bruce Wayne is at least temporarily out of commission.
CBR News: Aside from the new armor, what’s Jim Gordon got that Bruce Wayne doesn’t?
Scott Snyder: Bruce has trained his whole life to be Batman. He is Batman, and Batman is him — and Batman shapes the city. You have characters like Dick, who has been Batman, and you have characters like Jean-Paul Valley and all of these other characters have been ambitious about becoming Batman. Even if Dick is reluctant, he trains for it because he knows it’s coming.
But Jim Gordon is like us. Having it thrust on him, the way the story develops, he knows the city needs a Batman, and basically, the Powers family proposes it to him. They basically say, “We need a Batman, but we need one with checks and balances. We need one that follows the law.” Batman needs a secret identity, but the people that need to know who he is, know who he is. And Jim is like, “Why me? Get someone younger.”And they say, “You know the city better than everybody else.” It’s that simple.
When he steps back from it and looks it, he says, “It’s true.” For me, it’s a really personal story. It’s almost like, what if someone came up to you and said, “We need you to do this thing. You’re the person.” But you never expected it, and suddenly, you have all of this on your shoulders.
Without giving too much away, it’s also a story largely about what has happened to Bruce. In a lot of ways, as crazy as it sounds, it sticks really close to the core. It’s really a love letter to Bruce and the Batman mythology.
When you are doing it this way, it’s like taking a vacation from home. Or going somewhere really out there and exploring crazy landscapes. Part of that is the wonder and the excitement, but it’s also about, how much do you miss it, and how quickly can you get back there. I really couldn’t be more excited about it. That’s, I guess, how Jim is different for me. We always try to follow the compass of what’s going to be the best story — never what’s going to be sensational, or what’s going to get readers, but always where does the story feel like it should go next? For me, this is really where that is.
It’s often asked if Bruce Wayne is Batman’s alter ego, or is it the other way around? Is Jim Gordon different when he’s Batman?
Snyder: No. And he actually learns that lesson early on. The only way to be Batman is to be you. You can’t try to be Bruce’s Batman. You have to be you. You bring your own qualities to it. The city is coming at you. Gotham is always Batman’s antagonist, but in a way, it’s also very personal for everyone else, too. But don’t be afraid. You have to be who you are, even if that’s a different kind of Batman. It’s the same way that Dick was a Batman who smiled. Gordon is a Batman with a lot of fun qualities that are unique to him.
Greg, Scott talked about taking a vacation from Bruce Wayne and the Batman that you’ve known and illustrated for the past four years. Were you ready for a change, or do you miss the more traditional cape and cowl?
Greg Capullo: What’s really cool about it is that it’s like I’ve switched books without switching books. [Laughs] I’m not drawing Batman anymore; I’m drawing Iron Man, in a way.
It’s very cool in that, after four years, this is radically different for me. Even the villains that Scott and I are coming up with are brand new, fresh and very different from what’s gone on before in these previous years. To me, it really is like a mini-vacation from Batman while still being Batman, and I think a lot of the fans, once they get on board with the ride, even starting with the first issue, they might go in saying, “I don’t know about this…” But they’ll end up going, “Whoa. This is really fun and awesome. I’m all-in.”
In “Divergence,” we see Geri Powers. The Powers name is strongly connected to “Batman Beyond,” the Emmy award-winning animated series. Can you confirm that this Powers family is one and the same?
Snyder: Yes, for sure. We’ve tried to build the Powers family as a big rival to the Waynes in the background of “Batman” for a while. In the Riddler arc, The Riddler actually talks about switching sides and working for them. He acquired a lot of their tech to take over the city. They have been hovering in the background a lot during our run. They were mentioned in “The Court of Owls,” as well.
When I spoke with Dan Jurgens about his upcoming “Batman Beyond” series, which is set squarely in DCU continuity, he explained that the future with Terry McGinnis as Batman is coming. Will we see Terry McGinnis in “Batman”?
Snyder: No, I like to try and keep those things separate. You’re not going to see him here.
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