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A Hush Falls On Gotham In 'Batman Eternal #26'

Writer James Tynion IV breaks down all the big moments from 'Batman Eternal #26.'

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 real life events in Ferguson may - or may not - have influenced the issue:

MTV News: Obviously given the way they've been talking this issue, the Bat-family may be physically together but they're not emotionally on the same page, at all. What needs to happen for them to join together again, completely?

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James Tynion IV: The key thing is trust, which is something Bruce has never been all that great at instilling in his proteges. They know they need to come together, but each of them have their own agendas, things they’re playing close to their vest.

If there’s one thing that ties together the whole Bat-Family, it’s a dogged self-reliance… They all have mysteries and problems in front of them, and each of them want to be the ones who solve it themselves. That includes Bruce. They’re starting to see that all of this is bigger than each of them separately, and starting to understand that they’ll need to stand together to take it down.

But recognizing a problem and working to overcome it are two very separate things, and this story is FAR from over.

MTV: Batman says "It's been Hush all along," but HAS it been? Is there something else Batman isn't seeing?

Tynion: Batman has good reason to believe that Hush is behind a lot of what we’ve seen, but there are so many other corners of the story... The Nanovirus lurking in the corners of Gotham for months, the chaos unfolding in Arkham Asylum, Cluemaster’s plots with each of his low-level criminal pals... There’s a LOT happening in Gotham City right now, and we’re only halfway through this story. There’s a lot more to come.

But Hush is clearly a key, if not THE key player, and an obvious contender for the man threatening Bruce on the first page of the first issue.

MTV: The flashback art style is, of course, from the classic "Hush" storyline by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. Why did you choose to go with this look for this issue?

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Tynion: To some readers, those who came to Gotham with the New 52, we knew that this was going to be their first impression of Hush, and we knew that establishing his backstory in the new continuity was going to be very very important. Not just for telling our story, but for setting Tommy up as a villain in this universe moving forward.

In the standard New 52 style, there are tweaks, things we discussed as a group to help make Tommy Elliot an even more perfect shattered reflection of Bruce Wayne. Each iconic Batman villain has a core psychological trait... Something simple but relatable that can unlock those characters for YEARS of stories.

We saw Tommy embodying the core trait of jealousy, of wanting to be someone with so much fire, so much passion it consumes you. Bruce has always had the opportunity to become exactly what Tommy always wanted to be, and that’s how Tommy has built his life. Even becoming a Doctor just shows that that’s how he saw Bruce’s life going. Stepping into his father’s footsteps. He covers his face so he doesn’t have to remind himself that he’s NOT Bruce, and I think more than a part of him believes that if Bruce was out of the picture, he’d be able to slip in and become that perfect version of him that he’s always seen the potential for.

The style of the flashbacks, we thought would be a fun throwback to Hush’s first appearance.

MTV: I know you have had the beats of "Eternal" planned for months, if not years... But Bard's speech about the police using martial law seems scarily on point given everything going on in Ferguson. Was there any discussion about changing, tweaking, or beefing up that aspect of the plot, given events in the real world?

Tynion: Honestly, given the speed at which we’re moving through the series, and how far ahead we are, these issues were already locked by the time Ferguson started exploding across the media. Our goal was simply to go to the core fear we all have that the people who are supposed to be keeping us safe and making our lives easier don’t have our best interests at heart. That they’ll take power away from us, and subject us to their whims.

It’s a total inversion of what life in this country is supposed to be, and it’s horrifying to see it happen here. It’s much more horrifying to actually see it unfold in the streets of a real American city, far from the realm of allegory or metaphor, though...

The events of Ferguson weren’t an impetus for this story though, and I don’t think readers will find much of a connection, beyond the core fear of a government working against its people.

MTV: Spoiler pretty badly has the tables turned on her this issue... Is that Cluemaster's doing, or his puppet master's?

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Tynion: That’s an excellent question, now, isn’t it? Clearly Spoiler has caught some folks’ attention in Gotham City, and they don’t want her out there anymore. She knows things nobody else is supposed to know, and obviously we’re creeping closer and closer to the events of "Batman #28." You’ll just have to wait and see exactly how.

MTV: So Tommy Elliott transfers Alfred to Arkham... Through all of this, he's managed to maintain his medical license?

Tynion: I think the legality of his his medical license might be questionable at this point, at the very least, but you have to remember this is Gotham City. A place where the insane asylum occasionally announces serial killers completely cured only to have them sent back out on the streets and get back to murdering. I think a lab coat and an assertive voice go a long way to get a patient transfer going.

MTV: Okay, things look VERY bad for Alfred at the end... What do we have to look forward to (or to fear) with our faithful manservant going forward?

Tynion: Well, readers know that things are getting WAY out of hand in Arkham Asylum. Alfred’s been horribly affected by the Fear Toxin, and now he’s been placed in the middle of a hellish nightmare unfolding on earth. I can’t imagine things are looking particularly great for him. But this is also an opportunity to show Alfred stretching his own muscles outside of the reach of Bruce or even Julia.

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"Batman Eternal #26" is in stores now. Check out our previous post-games here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

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