Kyle Higgins may have ended his run on Nightwing, but he's far from finished writing Dick Grayson.
In Batman Beyond 2.0, the title character is no longer working with Bruce Wayne — his mentor since Higgins started on the title is Dick Grayson. In recent issues, Higgins has revisited the relationship between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon, as well as developing the former Nightwing's friendship with the young man currently behind the Batman mask, Terry McGinnis.
Now the digital first series is starting a new crossover with Christos Gage's Justice League Beyond that features the Justice Lords — the group of heroes-turned-violent that first showed up in the Justice League animated series.
In the story, Wonder Woman travels to the future, while Batman Beyond travels to the past. (But Higgins clarified that this storyline has nothing to do with the New 52 weekly series Futures End, which also features a version of Batman Beyond traveling to the past.)
Newsarama talked to Higgins to find out more about his approach to Dick Grayson in the future and what readers can expect from the coming year in Batman Beyond 2.0.
Newsarama: Kyle, anyone who enjoyed your run on Nightwing really need to pick up Batman Beyond 2.0, because you're still writing Dick Grayson there.
Kyle Higgins: Yeah, it's been cool to be able to work on the same character in multiple timelines.
But I differentiate between the two Dick Graysons. You know, the whole DC animated universe is a favorite of mine, and when I write Dick Grayson in Batman Beyond, I hear Loren Lester's voice. But when I write him in the regular DC continuity, I don't.
Nrama: Yeah, I honestly think it's the same for most of us who read these comics that are tied to the animated universe. And you recently showcased Dick's character quite a bit, in the last storyline and especially March's issue #16.
Higgins: Yeah, I was able to sneak that in there.
But also, there's some stuff coming up in the next year in Batman Beyond that really gets into Dick Grayson's past and Barbara's past, and Bruce's past.
Some of what you saw in chapter #16 was a precursor to the stuff we're going to be doing over the next year.
And Eric White came up for chapter #16. And that was kind of full circle for Eric — and in a lot of ways, for me — because Eric's first job out of college was to do character designs on Batman Beyond, on the cartoon.
So for him to come back into this chapter — I wrote it specifically for him, and I knew I was going to do these flashbacks to all the earlier stuff from the cartoon.
I thought it would be a lot of fun, and I thought he'd kill it — and he did. And [colorist] Emilio Lopez brought it to a whole 'nother level.
For me, it's kind of full circle because Eric is really the reason that I'm in comics. Eric designed all the characters for my short film, The League. I had cold emailed him, asking him if I could hire him to design these characters. And we stayed in touch. And a year later, when I finished the movie, he handed it out. He handed out unfinished DVDs to, like, everyone he knew in San Diego, when I was there for my first year for Comic-Con.
When the movie was done, he sent out an email to every person he knew in comics, film and TV, saying, "Hey, this is really cool. You guys should watch this short film." And Joe Quesada got in touch with me, like, six hours later.
So I have Eric to thank for all of my work on Nightwing and Batman and everything.
That was very long-winded, but it was very cool to finally work together with him, and to have it be on this property.
Nrama: You just started a new story arc called "Neo World Order." Can you explain the premise behind this storyline?
Higgins: The next arc — which saw its first chapter hit [digital] Friday night [March 28] — is the beginning of our "Justice Lords" crossover.
One of the biggest storylines from the original Justice League cartoon, the Justice Lords were alternate versions of the Justice League who conquered their world after Lord Superman murdered Lex Luthor.
Our Justice League worked with Lord Batman to stop them, but as readers will see in the next few weeks in both Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond, there's way more to the story. How does our Wonder Woman factor in? Why has she come back to our timeline? And why is Terry heading to theirs?
It's a pretty huge story that Chris and I have been working on for the last couple months. It's pretty exciting that it's finally coming out. I think people are going to be pretty floored by some of the twists.
And, I should mention, this crossover is just the beginning. In the next few months we'll be announcing our next Batman Beyond arc... which, yeah. Remember all those questions from my first chapter? What happened to Dana and Terry, why did Bruce and Terry split up, what was the big "event" that happened in the missing year? This crossover tees up the answers. It's going to be a pretty big Fall of 2014.