Each week, MTV News is breaking down the big moments in DC Comics' "Batman Eternal," the weekly series that, currently, is about to send Gotham City to hell. To find out just how we get there, we talked with writer Ray Fawkes over e-mail. Plus, magic - how does it work?
MTV News: Let’s talk about Mister Bygone... What happened to him to change him into this? And what can he do?
Ray Fawkes: Mister Bygone was once an ordinary patient at Arkham, as we see in this issue - in fact, he’s Martin Ware, the patient who was led downstairs by his “doctor” in issue 6, and brought face to face with the Joker’s Daughter in a drug induced haze. He was subjected to lunatic black magic, and it made him what he is now.
Mister Bygone’s presence causes the manifestation of all your sorrows and regrets as ambulatory spirits who hunger to destroy you for creating them. It’s all very unfortunate for everyone involved.
MTV: Joker’s Daughter seems to have quite the power upgrade. Is this all due to (spoiler) Deacon Blackfire? Or something/someone else?
Fawkes: It is due to the unique, unearthly geometry of Gotham’s under city, as it shifts into configuration in alignment with Deacon Blackfire’s return from Hell. Joker’s Daughter seems able to access some of the power available in this environment…but is she taking it, or is it being given to her?
MTV: We see Professor Pyg being taken in by something, “saved” as it were. Is this Blackfire using his influence? And how is he changing these people?
Fawkes: It’s all black magic, and it’s all beyond rational explanation. If anyone can explain it, it’s Jim Corrigan. Lucky thing he’s down there now! Well…lucky for us. Not him.
MTV: Over in Japan, Harper figures out the “test” before Red Robin does. Is this going to make him give her break a little? And what will the return of Sergei and Maxwell mean for our daring duo?
Fawkes: I think Tim finds Harper irritating, and he may never ease up on her as much as her actual talents and achievements merit. She’s like a sister he doesn’t want, to be honest, horning her way into the family. On the other hand, she is smart and talented, and he might be glad she’s around…sometimes. He’ll just never admit it to her face.
As for Sergei and Maxwell… read on!
MTV: Corrigan seems to be doing okay with three sucking wounds in his chest. Even without the Spectre, is he pretty unstoppable?
Fawkes: That injury was inflicted by a spirit - and while Corrigan is by no means invulnerable to injury (he’s still smarting from the punches he took in the last issue, for instance), ghosts often find their best efforts bouncing off of him…or rather The Spectre inside him… with little effect. Ghost bark is worse than ghost bite, I guess. For him. You don’t want to know what happens if Mister Bygone’s manifestations get their hands on a normal person...
MTV: Maxie Zeus is back! What’s behind the decision to bring him in here? Why was he the right character to work as the vessel?
Fawkes: The motivation behind bringing Maxie Zeus back is the same as the motivation behind bringing back The Ten-Eyed Man, Doctor Double-X, and more you’ll be seeing later. They’re fantastic characters, and it’s been a while since we all had some fun with them!
In this case, Maxie is the right person to act as the vessel because he’s big and strong, he’s physically healthy, and he’s nearly catatonic…so, basically, an excellent body to put a spirit in. Gosh, I wonder if he’ll wake up and have a mind of his own one day, though.
MTV: Relatedly, what’s the deal with this whole vessel thing? Is it that Maxie needs to die not by his own hand?
Fawkes: The spell intended to bring back Deacon Blackfire needed Maxie to be “prepared” in conflict, and set alight (which Batwing unwittingly did with his tasers). It’s all part of the magic, and its strange requirements. They also probably needed a full moon, and there needed to be a certain trees blooming on Gotham’s shores that night or something. Magic is weird. Some people, like Corrigan, get how it works innately. Some, like our poor Batwing, just don’t. But maybe he’ll learn...
MTV: And then, Deacon Blackfire, revealed! Is he the mastermind behind this? The daddy Joker’s Daughter has been referring to?
Fawkes: I can’t answer that question! We’re 16 issues into a 52 issue story. That’d be one of the worst possible spoilers I could drop in my entire career. I’ll just say this: Blackfire is a big problem. Now that he’s here, Gotham City is going to suffer one of the worst disasters in the history of the city…maybe the history of the whole world... unless our heroes can find a way to stop him.