DC Comics continues its weekly exploration of all things Batman today (April 16) with the release of “Batman Eternal #2.” Where the first issue teased a dismal future where Batman and Gotham City were in ruins, and showed how Commissioner Gordon accidentally causes the crime of the century; issue two brings on the bad guys.
What might be most surprising is that the comic book has yet to introduce the big Batman baddies like The Joker or Mr. Freeze. Instead we’re getting a new villain, a mostly forgotten villain, and one of the most notorious Gotham villains fans haven’t seen in years.
To break down what it all means, we once again talked to writer Scott Snyder, who also dropped a few hints as to where this is all going. Spoilers from this point on:
MTV: This week’s issue seems to be all about the power vacuum in Gotham filling up, now that Gordon is gone. Let’s talk first about the mysterious man whose eyes glow green, and seems to hypnotize Officer Strode.
Scott Snyder: One of the joys of writing this series is to create new villains, and bring back old ones. A lot of the fun, and tug of war in how much to show you guys, or tell has been, do we reveal this is a new character, do we reveal this an old character? And we wanted to show the least here.
There’s going to be villains behind the political machinations that happen to Gordon, and the things that happen to Bruce, and Batman that go get bigger and bigger and bigger. You’ll see these shadowy figures that will soon be revealed, and in a lot of ways you’re going to see your favorite villains that haven’t appeared in Batman in a long time. But also some new characters that we’ve worked very hard to create.
MTV: That ties nicely into the next guy I wanted to talk about, Blackfire. I’m assuming he’s Deacon Blackfire based on his look, a character who only showed up in four issues of an obscure “Batman” comic from 1988.
Snyder: Right! “The Cult.”
MTV: So why is he important, and what does adding a supernatural element — versus the crime/science-villain element you normally associate with Batman — a route you wanted to go?
Snyder: If we’re going to go whole hog with this series and do everything Gotham, Gotham has a wonderful tradition of supernatural elements, all the way back to the Slaughter Swamp stuff. All the way back to Gotham’s origins, which were told by Alan Moore.
There are so many great stories from Steve Niles, Doug Mahnke and so on that mix Batman with the supernatural. Grant Morrison himself did Batman gothic, and they’re terrific aspects of Gotham that are intensely creepy and paranormal.
Ray Fawkes, as such a huge fan of that material, that’s what he came to the table saying, something that digs up these horrifying secrets and characters of the occult. They’re part of Batman’s mythology, but don’t get as much screen time as Batman, Robin and so on.
We wanted to announce that not only are we going to do the supernatural, but we’re going to do it in big, surprising bombastic ways that celebrate Batman’s rogues gallery in that way, as well.
So bringing in Deacon Blackfire was a lot of fun, when Ray proposed that. His mission in Gotham, the thing he wants to do is really spooky, so I’m excited about it.
MTV: And then you end with revealing that Carmine Falcone is back… Catwoman, Batman, they’ve gone up against these gigantic evil villains. Falcone is “just” a mob boss, so what is it about him that makes our heroes so scared?
Snyder: In other iterations you’ve seen of him in “Batman: Year One,” “The Long Halloween,” and “Dark Victory,” he’s a classic “Godfather”-type crime boss. He’s terrifying in that regard, because he rules Gotham with an iron fist.
In our iteration, we imagine that’s who he was, but he was run out of town for certain reasons. Now he’s coming back into town and forming dangerous alliances. We imagine the way the Mob used to be, versus the chaotic, much more vicious and violent iteration of it now.
Him coming back is going to be much more bloody and dangerous, that’s what we want to convey here. The city was horrible under his grasp last time, but this time, now that he’s formed alliances with people bigger and smaller than him across the board, he’s going to be a real figure to be reckoned with.
MTV: Those scratches on his face look like the ones Catwoman gave him in “Long Halloween,” are we going to see touches of that story in “Eternal?”
Snyder: [Laughs] You’re going to have to wait and see. I don’t want to give that away. Part of the joy is certain stories, getting to reclaim them, and also reinterpret certain things like that.
I don’t want to give it away because Catwoman plays a huge part in the story, and her relationship to Falcone is a big part of it.
What I hope you guys will take away from reading these first couple of issues — and the next one goes even crazier with the Stephanie Brown stuff — is that we’re just going for broke. It’s Batman’s 75th Anniversary, and we wanted a dismantling, rebuilding and celebration of all of the character elements about Gotham City that we love, too.
If there was ever a time to try to do the craziest stuff possible with these characters, I’d say it’s this year. So look forward in “Eternal,” and “Batman,” and “Batman and Robin.” Across the line, we’re looking to make the books as big as we can this year.
“Batman Eternal #2″ is now in stores everywhere. Head back to MTV News next Wednesday for an exclusive breakdown of “Batman Eternal #3!”