THE OWL SIGNAL: Tomasi's "Batman and Robin" Faces A "Night of the Owls"

The "Night of the Owls" is almost upon the DC Universe, and Damian Wayne, who forms a dynamic duo with his father Bruce Wayne as Batman's iconic sidekick Robin, is tackling the Talon head-on with his fists of fury.

Spinning out of the pages of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo's "Batman," the mysterious Court of Owls are emerging from the shadows to challenge Batman's hold on Gotham City. In May, they expand their lethal operations to nearly every Bat books. While the Talons target the powerful and important players in Gotham City, Damian Wayne is called upon to protect the night skies of Gotham in "Batman and Robin," written by Peter Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray.

CBR News already spoke with Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and editor Mike Marts about "Batman," writer Kyle Higgins about "Nightwing" and co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray about "All-Star Western." Today, THE OWL SIGNAL's coverage of the "Night of the Owls" continues as Tomasi sheds light on Damian Wayne's pivotal role in the upcoming crossover, explains how his passion for the Revolutionary War led to setting part of his story in 1778 and teases what's coming before and after the event in the pages of "Batman and Robin."

CBR News: When you initially planned out your story arcs, were you planning on driving the overarching plot in "Batman and Robin" with the Ducard family before the New 52 was announced, or was their reintroduction to the Bat-mythos something you developed to supersize the relaunch?

Peter Tomasi: Creating a son for Henri Ducard was all there from the get-go. I wanted to have juxtaposition between Bruce and Damian's relationship, and the Henri/Morgan Ducard pairing grew organically from that idea.

I did a little digging and couldn't find any connection between you and the character, but have you worked with the character of Henri Ducard in the past, even as an editor? If not, what led you to the him? Was it Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins?"

Actually, no, I never came in contact with Henri Ducard while I was the Bat Editor at DC, and I didn't use him in my story because of the amazing "Batman Begins" flick. I knew him as a kick-ass character from the Sam Hamm "Detective Comics" story "Blind Justice" back in the late 80s. When I realized that no one had ever really used him again after that in the comics, I felt it was a perfect time to introduce new readers to him in my story. All I needed was, of course, to add a son and wife to his back story, and it came together well -- especially since the story hinged on the father/son dynamic and plugged into Bruce's early training days.

What's the secret origin of NoBody? I mean, we know he's Henri Ducard's son, but why did you choose that particular name and what is it about the character that you feel has driven readers to respond to him as strongly as they have?

The secret origin of NoBody isn't so secret, since we saw in issue "Batman and Robin" #6 what happened between him and Bruce when they were younger. It's not an earth-shaker as to how he took the name NoBody. It's personal and visceral and not bombastic or forced in any way. We'll see in issue #7 the particular reason he chose that name above all others.

With Damian and Bruce struggling with the father-son dynamic, I love this idea of introducing an evil emperor of sorts, to bring Robin to the dark side. Considering Damian's violent history and his unhealthy thirst for blood, is this transformation going to be fairly uncomplicated for Morgan?

Nothing about how Damian and NoBody/Morgan's story comes to a conclusion is straightforward. It's transformational in the sense that nothing will be the same again.

While Bruce/Batman is obviously the central figure in any Bat-book, this is really Damian's story, isn't it? We're only six issues into the new series, but I feel I now have a better understanding of how Damian/Robin operates, what drives him and how difficult it is to have Batman as your father.

Damian's arc was the entry point into the story for me. I saw it all immediately and just got out of the way. He's the engine in "Born to Kill." He's the proactive character that everybody else reacts to. It was my job to think of Damian/Robin as a new character so new readers could plug into him fast and get where's he coming from while previous "Batman and Robin" fans would see a further evolution as to how Damian's upbringing affected the core of his being.

I am starting to think this opening storyline doesn't end well for NoBody. Should we expect him to be around for the long haul and will we see more of him in the months and years ahead in "Batman and Robin" as an ongoing threat?

We're a month out from #7 and #8 where it all comes crashing down. I wouldn't want to spoil it, but let's just say that it's an emotional and action packed ending. Wait till you see the pages from Gleason, Gray and Kalisz -- beautiful stuff.

Let's move on to your crossover issue with "Night of Owls." The solicitation teases, "Robin faces Talon alone with the skies of Gotham City at stake!" The PR folks at DC Comics also shared that the particular Talon featured in your story was developed, at least visually, by Greg Capullo. What can you tell us about the Talon Robin faces off against? And how does he compare as a match for young Damian as compared to NoBody?

The solicits are true. Robin pretty much faces this Talon alone in a wall to wall action packed story just outside of Gotham. Batman has his hands full with all the craziness that Scott's throwing at him at Wayne Manor, and members of the Bat Family need to step up and kick some serious ass to try and help set things right. With all of the Talon action taking place in Gotham proper, I thought it would be cool to move Robin into the outskirts for a little change of scenery in his battle.

Capullo designed several cool looking Talons that stretch across the eras, and being a Revolutionary War buff, I gravitated to the last 25 years of the 1700s, told Scott [Snyder] and Mike [Marts] that I wanted to set my story during that period and then came up with the Talon of 1778's backstory.

Scott told us awhile back that it was up to each creative team if they wanted to include their Bat-book in the summer event , so what is it about Scott Snyder's "Night of Owls" story that intrigued you enough to include "Batman and Robin" in the crossover?

It's simple, really: Scott had a great uber-story going and I wanted to be part of it. The fact that it has real time historical underpinnings got me excited even more, so I found a way to play along that everyone liked and had a helluva great time doing it.

Assuming your tie-in begins and ends in "Batman and Robin" #9, what can you tell us about what's to come in #10 and beyond in 2012? In your first arc, you re-imagined Ducard by adding a wife and a son to his story. Do you have plans to reinvent any other classic Batman rogues, or will the next arc feature a new villain as well?

The Talon crossover does begin and end with issue #9 for me. I can't get into details about future plans at this juncture, but issues #10 through #12 feature a new main villain along with several other new nasties to help him out.

And a little down the road, I do have plans to bring a familiar Bat rogue into the mix as well, so stay tuned!

"Batman and Robin" #9 faces the Night of the Owls on May 9.

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