'Batman Eternal #9' Reveals A New Member Of Alfred's Family

Writer John Layman discusses all the big twists in DC Comics' newest issue.

Every week, MTV News is breaking down the big issues in DC Comics' weekly series "Batman Eternal." This week we talked over e-mail with writer John Layman, who explained the genesis of the Japanese influenced Batcave, the fate of Catwoman and just what's up with that big character reveal on the last page:

MTV News: Batman of Japan’s “Batcave” is a fun riff on the original... How much talk was there about designing that, and should we expect that every Batcave around the world has a different giant coin and local lizard?


John Layman: Not much discussion. I threw it out there in the script and nobody objected. Simple as that. Seemed like a fun thing to do, and I think it would be awesome to visit various Batman Inc. "Batcaves" and see the cool ways each is similar-- and different.

MTV: Shen Fang gives up pretty easily... Was it the punch, or the breaking of the sword that really got him?


Layman: Yeah, in retrospect, I probably should have changed the dialogue, because it does come off as a pretty abrupt about-face on Fang's part. My intention was to give the scene a little more length, and it's very likely it was cut down from something bigger.

Fact is, "Eternal" is a big book with a lot of stuff going on at any point, and it moves at a brisk pace. In this case, maybe a little too brisk, and I'll take the bullet for it not being paced better. Maybe readers can pretend there is a director's cut version out there, with Batman laying a beatdown on Shen that lasts several pages instead of several panels.

MTV: There seems to be the very strong indication, again, that Falcone is being manipulated by someone even bigger. How much of a trail of breadcrumbs are you guys leaving to the eventual mastermind in each issue?


Layman: If I answered that I would be agreeing with you, or admitting there are bigger forces at play than Falcone. You're trying to trick me, MTV, and I ain't fallin' for it!

MTV: Okay, okay. Fine. Moving on, Falcone captures Catwoman and tells her she’s entirely predictable. Is he on the money here? Is that her actual downfall? And how bad are things about to get for her?


Layman: Falcone and Catwoman have a history, and we'll see a pretty significant moment they shared next issue. I think Falcone is right in that Catwoman CAN BE predictable, especially if she is so focused on something she's not thinking clearly. However, Falcone may be making a fatal error if he thinks Catwoman is ALWAYS predictable.

MTV: Okay, let’s talk about Julia Pennyworth. I imagine we’ll find out a lot more about her in the coming weeks, but what can you tell us now? Who is she, and what is she like?


Layman: Well, as was said, she's Alfred's daughter, though if there are any similarities between them, neither are going to be in a hurry to admit it. Julia will, however, be playing a very big role as things move forward, so readers can figure out for themselves exactly how much like her father she is.


"Batman Eternal #9" is on sale right now from DC Comics

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