Each week, MTV News is breaking down the big moments in DC Comics' "Batman Eternal," the weekly series that is redefining Gotham City as we know it.
This week, we chatted with writer Kyle Higgins about one big reveal means for the Pennyworth family - and how a villain's attack may mark the end of Gotham:
MTV News: Probably the biggest moment of the issue (or one of the biggest) is Julia going into the Batcave – and finding out Bruce is Batman. What does this do to her, mentally, or does she not have time to process?
Kyle Higgins: Well, Julia is an incredibly smart, capable SRR field agent. So, I don’t think it’s all that surprising to her to find the Batcave. Or, I should say, she has enough field experience that she’s not going to let a surprise throw her off her game. In fact, when I was writing the scene, that’s something I was pretty adamant about. The second she sets foot down there, she knows the truth. Considering what’s been going on in her life the past few weeks and her father’s past... it all makes sense.
MTV: Conversely, same thing for Batman, he takes this pretty much in stride, it seems. Or does he?
Higgins: Yeah, he knows he can’t bluff her. Does he like that she found him out? No, of course not. But that’s the situation he’s in.
MTV: There’s that great moment when Batman calls Julia "Penny-2," in reference to her father's call sign. Was there any discussion of alternate names for her? J-Dog, maybe?
Higgins: J-Money was a personal favorite of mine, yeah (laughs). No, Penny-2 was always the plan. And I love that moment, too. In order to save lives, they need to put aside their differences and work together. It’s pretty classic hero stuff.
MTV: And I'm guessing this is us linking up with one of those moments from Batman #28, with the shadowy woman in the Batcave. That’s Julia, right?
Higgins: You're just going to have to wait and see on that point. But it sure would be strange having someone other than a Pennyworth at the Bat-Computer.
MTV: Let’s talk about the Architect. What’s it like to bring him back here? How has he changed?
Higgins: For those who don’t know, Zachary Gates — the Architect — is a character I created in "Gates of Gotham." He’s a descendent of Nicholas and Bradley Gates, two brothers who were instrumental in building bridges in turn of the century Gotham, as well as the original Wayne Tower.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck during the construction of Gotham’s largest bridge, and Bradley drowned. Nicholas grew convinced that Cameron Kane was responsible, as part of a land grab in which he needed the bridge to extend to Kane County. Nicholas found no support from Alan Wayne — his biggest patron — and felt he was being screwed over by the oligarchy of power (Waynes, Kanes, Cobblepots, and Elliots), as they attempted to cover up what Cameron did.
Ultimately, Nicholas used one of the pressurized building suits to enact revenge on Cameron. It was later alleged that Nicholas suffered from the bends (as a result of the pressurized suit), and had gone mad well before this. So, depending on whose side of the story you believe… the Waynes, Cobblepots, Elliots, and Kanes forced the Gates family into obscurity, in order to take control of Gotham for themselves.
So, with all that in mind… when Hush approaches Nicholas and Bradley’s ancestor (Zachary) with a plot to topple the new Wayne Tower, Zachary can hardly pass up the opportunity. In that way, he hasn’t changed at all. The longer he’s in the pressurized suit, the crazier he becomes.
MTV: Why is the building so important?
Higgins: The Beacon is important in what it represents. It’s the new highest point on the Gotham Skyline, the centerpiece of the Wayne Enterprises Gotham Renewal project that goes all the way back to "Batman #1." And on a separate note, from the first issue of "Batman Eternal," we know this is where the climax of the series will come to a head. This is where someone will face Batman, beating him in a way we've never seen before. The beacon represents the heart of Bruce Wayne's vision of what Gotham City should be, and that's what also makes it such a big target.
MTV: And what about that reveal of Hush? How does Batman know that only he could be behind this?
Higgins: The nature of the attack, where the attacker entered Wayne Manor at, and the taunts that the Architect makes… Batman puts the pieces together.