So what's up with Bruce Wayne? Batman creative team Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo replaced Bruce Wayne with Jim Gordon in June's Batman #41 — putting the former police commissioner in a new, high-tech Batman suit that helps him patrol Gotham City in Bruce's place. The character's new role came as the result of Bruce Wayne's death at the end of #40.
However, Bruce Wayne was revealed to be alive at the end of June's #41, and in #42, it was shown that he works at some type of recreation center for teens.
In this week's issue, August's Batman #43, readers will find out the truth about what happened to Bruce that made him quit being Batman.
Then in September, Snyder is teaming with writer Brian Azzarello to write a story that explains the origins of Mr. Bloom, the villain in the current storyline.
Newsarama talked to Snyder and Capullo to find out more about the upcoming flashback, the flowery design of Mr. Bloom, and where we'll find out how the rest of the Bat-family deals with Bruce Wayne's return.
Newsarama: In the preview, it looks like, in Batman #43, you get to finally reveal to everybody what's going on with Bruce Wayne?
Scott Snyder: Yeah. And as much as I love the idea of Jim being Batman and all the things I get to explore in the main story, really, the beating heart of it is also Bruce.
At this point, having done the stuff that we've done on the book already, when you come across an idea that's exciting to you but also hasn't been tried in the mythology, then you have to do it.
Nrama: We see Clark Kent in the preview, apparently discovering what's happening with Bruce. Are you also going to deal with Damian or some of the other Batman characters finding out what's going on?
Snyder: I'm not going to deal with a lot of it in Batman, but it's a big part of what happens in the other books.
There's a run on Detective Comics coming, there's another… there are stories that are happening with Damian in Robin, Son of Batman and Grayson and all those books to deal with how the Bat-family reacts to this.
For me, it was really just a matter of not trying to step on their toes and giving them enough room to do the story. They were in the room when I first pitched the idea of Jim Gordon as Batman, and this was the other half. There were two pillars to the story — Jim Gordon as Batman and Bruce Wayne's story.
I pitched it to the Bat-Summit. I told all of them that if they had better stories for their characters, whether they were dealing with Bruce or Jim, we didn't have to do it and we could just stay the way we were.
But they got very excited about it, thank God.
My stipulation was that I didn't want to steal any story. I had a whole scene I wanted to do with Barbara, and then one I wanted to do with Damian. But then when I saw what the writers and artists on those books were going to do, I loved their ideas so much I figured it was better to just leave off and stick to Bruce and Jim and all that stuff.
So we're giving them the breathing room to tell those stories in their books.
Nrama: Greg, you guys mentioned the last time we talked that you're getting to draw sharks. Is that in this coming issue? Did you ask for sharks?
Greg Capullo: Yeah, I didn't ask for sharks. And when Scott told me there would be sharks, I was very excited.
Nrama: And we'll finally get our eyes on Mr. Bloom, who was hinted about in the preview — that flower on the first page — although we didn't get a very good look at him. I think you'd mentioned to me that you were struggling to find a way to make him look creepy with a flower incorporated into his costume?
Capullo: Yeah, and you know, a lot of times, I collaborate with Scott — I mean, really only on the visual instincts. I don't say to Scott, hey, can you do this character, and how about if we add this wrinkle to his psychology or personality. Whatever. It doesn't really go like that.
Scott tells me he's got this great idea for this character, and he describes it to me. And whether I land close to his idea or very very far from his original idea visually, he gives me his impression.
But this character, Scott probably had the most vague ideas for. The only idea he really had was a flower on the mask. And I was going, flowers?
He was like, yeah, you know, a really creepy flower. I was thinking to myself, I give my mother flowers and my wife flowers. Flowers are nice. And I couldn't see the creep factor.
But when I drew Batman #43, I'm a believer that Mr. Bloom is a super-creepy character.
Snyder: Yeah, the idea of him being a weed was the beginning of the character. Growing up in the city, when things go wrong, you notice that things kind of grow through the cracks, and that, to me, was the origin of this character.
I wanted him to be this thing that sort of sneaks up and suddenly takes advantage of the cracks that exist between neighborhoods, between groups of people in a city like Gotham — especially when things haven't gone well over the last year, when it comes to "Endgame" and what happened with Commissioner Gordon.
He not only takes advantage of it, but he thrives. He grows sort of a garden of his own in that damaged and broken landscape. So for me he's really scary.
Nrama: And we learn more about Mr. Bloom in the September issue?
Snyder: Yes, you'll see more about the past of Mr. Bloom in #44. I wrote it with Brian Azzarello, so it's sort of a joint writing credit and JOCK is drawing it.
It basically shows the city right after "Zero Year," in the very first months that Batman picks up the cowl after that. And it's a humbling story about things that Bruce didn't really know how to deal with, and how this character Bloom was actually taking advantage of these things even back then.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about what's coming up in Batman?
Snyder: You know, I would just say… we had a storm a couple nights ago and lost power, so we were living in a hotel, waiting for our power to come back up. And I was off the radar for social media stuff. And I was looking at some of the comments for Batman and stuff that's coming up.
And looking and seeing how supportive fans are of a story that's this left-of-center is great. I was like, ugh, how am I going to go write Batman in this hotel, in the lounge where they're playing, like, there's a fake piano thing going. How am I going to concentrate and do this?
But then I saw how supportive fans are of a story that's as crazy as this one, and it means the world. It makes it worth it even if you're at your worst point, in terms of writing — it makes you want to get up and go work on it because they're the best fans in the world and we're very appreciative of their support.