Every week, MTV News is post-gaming the latest issue of DC Comics’ epic exploration of the world of Batman in “Batman Eternal.” This week’s seventh issue brought the gang war between Carmine Falcone and The Penguin to a head, bringing villain Professor Pyg and sometimes-villain Catwoman into the mix.
To find out more about what went on behind the scenes, we talked to writer Tim Seeley:
MTV News: A big part of this issue is Carmine Falcone finally making his move, attacking Gotham City. He talks about taking the city back from the freaks, but it looks like Mr. Rhodes, who he’s working with, is a speedster. Plus, he’s working with other super-villainy type people. So is he playing both sides here?
Tim Seeley: Falcone’s thing is that he’s a very pragmatic guy. So he knows where to rally his troops, where he needs to. He knows where to use people that have a skill set in the context he needs.
Rhodes is a character called Roadrunner, who is a car dealer who also has cybernetic legs. He’s a courier and deliveryman around Gotham. When Falcone says freaks, he leans on the ones who have gimmicks, and animal costumes. That’s what he’s using as his rallying cry at this point.
MTV: But at the same time, he’s using Tiger Shark, and using Orca, so those aren’t exactly regular guys.
Seeley: There aren’t a lot of regular guys in Gotham. Having a red mask around your eyes and commanding killer whales is like small potatoes compared to Professor Pyg.
MTV: On that note, lets talk about Pyg. We find out he’s a pawn of Falcone, and Batman uses that idea to beat Pyg. So has Falcone made a major mistake in manipulating him?
Seeley: Oh yeah. Pyg represents one of the new criminals in Gotham. His motivations are unclear, he doesn’t want just money, he’s not a businessman. What does Pyg want? I don’t know. He wants things to be beautiful, but also dance around on his pig trotters…. We’re not really sure what Pyg wants.
What Carmine Falcone misunderstands is that trying to use someone whose needs you don’t understand, you’re probably going to get burned, and then have to deal with whatever insane ideas Pyg comes up with.
MTV: So how do you write a character like that, who has so many seemingly irreconcilable things going on?
Seeley: I love those weird Grant Morrison characters, Lord Death Man and Professor Pyg. Just chaotic, stream of consciousness guys. To me, Pyg makes more sense and is easier to write than someone who is really focused on one thing.
My brain works on, “Let’s take this track, and then take an extreme hard right.” I know what it’s like to have no attention span, to be running around all the time.
MTV: Let’s talk about Catwoman… We know she’s heading towards becoming the kingpin of crime in Gotham, but here she’s downright heroic. Where is she in her arc in this issue?
Seeley: When we started this story, Catwoman has her own agenda, she wants to play the game. She wants to steal stuff for fun and also for profit. But as she gets into this, she’s realizing that this is different than her usual scenarios. At this point, she doesn’t realize where its going, but she sees on the horizon she may need to choose a side — or at least people keep telling her she has to.
She ends up in these situations where she has to choose a complicated morality. In this issue, she saves the penguin. She doesn’t have to do that, but that’s the heart of who she is.
MTV: So why is it important than Falcone goes after the Penguin first?
Seeley: As we’ll see later, there is a history between Falcone and Penguin in Gotham. Originally, Penguin drove Falcone out and took over his operation. So for him to come back and see what Gotham has become… Penguin is a symbol. He’s revenge, and he’s also a symbol of a change in the order of Gotham crime.
MTV: By the end of the issue, the Iceberg Casino is completely blown away. Does Penguin have any resources left? Can he fight back?
Seeley: Oh yeah, he’s Penguin. Gotham is his city as much as it is Batman’s, so he’s not going to go down easy. That’s one of the things we wanted to play up in the series…. We’ve made Penguin into this guy, this high society criminal. But even without his vast empire and wealth, he’s still dangerous as hell.
When he’s desperate, he’s even more dangerous.
“Batman Eternal #7″ is on comic book stands now.