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 James Tynion IV about how the bad guys finally win - and how that also brings the Bat-family back together:
MTV News: Let's start off with the first page… Vicki essentially gets bullied by Jason Bard into publishing an inflammatory story. Is she starting to suspect something is wrong with Bard?
James Tynion IV: She's definitely starting to realize there's something off about Jason Bard, and that's something that's going to unfold in the weeks to come. It's very clear that right now, she has access to these bigger stories than she's had before, and she's eager to take part in them to that extent – but she doesn't like the idea that she's being manipulated.
Vicki's story is far from done here.
MTV: There's a fun scene following that with Harper and Red Robin. You've got the classic, girl throws boy, boy ties girl up with thing on his chest.
Tynion: [Laughs] Classic moment.
MTV: I am misreading things here? Is there something flirty going on?
Tynion: There's definitely a bit of tension there, and that's definitely something we want to explore. But Harper also has very clear desires of what she wants to be, and ultimately her path towards becoming something more than just an ordinary person matters to her more than a little romance.
MTV: That ties in nicely with that scene in the hospital between Red Robin and Red Hood. It almost feels like this scene with two bros, broing out about girls is where we start to repair the damage inflicted on the cast back in "Death of The Family."
Tynion: The bat-family has been off having their own adventures for the last big section of "Eternal," and now we're going to really come together, and put all the pieces on the table, and lay out exactly what's going on. The fact of the matter is, Bruce didn't let them know Alfred had been hurt. He's been so caught up with everything, he didn't think of it – and the Bat-family is not going to be too thrilled about that.
Part of the scene here is, they're often in their own world, in their own books, so it's rare we get to see them playing off each other. There are so many great dynamics in the Bat-family, and that was one of the great things about "Eternal," was seeing these worlds collide, and these characters come together in interesting ways.
I was really happy to do this scene, a little quiet bit of bonding in the midst of all the insanity.
MTV: Batman realizes this issue that Jason Bard is the man that let The Architect out of his cage. What does this revelation do to Batman? How does it affect him?
Tynion: It's a huge blow. It's not that it came so far out of left field, because he already had his misgivings about Jason Bard, and he was already very worried about the kind of man he would be. But he thought he was a good enough man that he would go and free Gordon, and then he would have Gordon by his side to help fight this battle.
But he doesn't have Jim, and he doesn't have Alfred, and things keep getting stripped away from him as he's beaten down. And that's leaving him in a very raw state. Particularly because of his personal history with Tommy Elliott. Now that he knows that this is a personal attack, he's going to be much more worried about where it can go from here.
MTV: That segues nicely into the scenes with Hush, where the villain reveals he's several steps ahead of Batman. That can't be a great place for Bruce to find himself, right?
Tynion: He's not used to being behind the game. He's used to being five steps ahead of anyone coming up against him! There are aspects here he just wasn't prepared for, and we're going to see that especially with the end of the issue, the start of martial law that was hinted at all the way back in "Batman #28."
This is a much more militarized Gotham that Batman is going to be facing, and it will make it very hard for him to operate and take Hush down. Two of his core allies are out of the picture now, and the city is now becoming a weapon that is going to hunt him down.
MTV: The last page has that wonderful framing of Red Hood, Red Robin and Batgirl coming to help Batman through the wreckage. I imagine that was an important page to get right, so what was the process behind constructing it?
Tynion: We knew that this was the moment that they needed to come together. And we knew that we needed this turning point, to be shaped like this.
I like the little stuff on the page, like Tim enjoying the "Penny-Two." It seems like this is the moment the family can come together and start taking ground back. It's an upbeat moment, even though Hush led Batman into a trap, detonated it, and then that trap is the thing that manages to unleash martial law over the city.
It's a swelling up point, but it's also a downbeat in terms of how powerful Hush is getting.
It was a fun page to write, and I was really happy to see it come together, and see the family standing together there – especially with so many people off the table. This isn't really the combination we're used to seeing, but this is the Bat-family as it stands right now. That is a powerful moment, having them coming together.