SCOTT SNYDER: BATMAN #0 & the Next Major Batman Storyline

Batman's origin story is one that's familiar to even the most casual fan of the character. But in September, writer Scott Snyder will be taking comic book readers into a still-unseen part of Bruce Wayne's past in Batman #0.

The issue, which will feature art by regular Batman artist Greg Capullo, will be a stand-alone story, but according the writer, it will also play a role in upcoming stories in the title.

Batman is currently finishing up the "Court of Owls" storyline, with the "reveal" of a new, surprise villain just last week. After the "Owls" story ends with issue #11, two stand-alone stories in August's issue #12 and September's #0 will segue Batman into the title's next major storyline, which begins in October.

Batman #0 is part of an event that DC Comics is calling "Zero Month," when titles that are within the "New 52" universe will release #0 issues. Timed to the one-year anniversary of DC's massive reboot of its entire fictional universe, Zero Month will feature stand-alone stories that tell something from the history of the team or character — from before the relaunch.

In the fourth part of our interview with the writer (click on these links for parts one, two and three), we talk about what's coming in September and beyond, as Snyder takes on his "favorite villain."

Batman #12

Newsarama: Scott, we just heard about Batman #0 that's coming up in September, and we've also seen solicitations for #12, which focuses on the character named Harper that helped Batman in a recent issue. Can you describe what we'll see in those two issues after the "Court of Owls" finishes up?

Scott Snyder: Issue #12 is a stand-alone story that revisits the character named Harper Row who saved Batman when he escaped the Labyrinth in issue #7. This young woman pulls him out of the icy waters of Gotham Bay, and she basically shocks him back to life. And this is her story.

So it's an important one-shot that features her. And Becky Cloonan is on art. I've been a fan of hers forever. And Andy Clarke is actually doing the back-up, which is a continuation of the feature. It's one big story about Harper and Batman and Gotham.

After the really ambitious scope of something like Court of Owls and the bombastic, fun, over-the-top action that's going to come at the end of it, we wanted to do something quieter that's more of a palate cleanser that was really a deep psychological and emotional story about what it's like to live in Gotham if you don't have a lot. You know, you live in a bad neighborhood called the Narrows and, you know, you're emancipated from your parents, and you're just trying to make it in school and work to make enough. And you're trying to be a hero in your own life in a terrible place. So it's an issue I really care about a lot.

And then we have our #0 issue, which I'm really excited about, and it will give you an important slice of Bruce's life from when he first gets back to Gotham after his travels. It will happen within the shadows of Batman: Year One, taking place in a moment of time that you haven't seen. And I think it will be very surprising to people and exciting. You'll see some things that will catch you off guard and will get you excited to see what's coming.

And both issue #12 and #0 have elements that are going to play into the next year of Batman in a big way.

Nrama: What did you think of the "Zero Month" idea when it was first proposed to you guys? Did you want this chance to go back and explore the early years of New 52 Batman?

Snyder: Yeah I'd actually been pushing them to do a story about Bruce's early years. As a writer, I just love those kinds of stories, and yet there are certain things that are very sacred from that story, you know? Like Batman: Year One. I have no interest in retelling or altering that in any way. But there's that whole period of his life, the formative period, that has been done in so many different ways in so many different media, and I love so many of the iterations, you know? And I'm talking about, literally, from like, Batman Begins to the Batman animated series they did, where you get to see Batman at this moment when he's still unsure of himself. He's still a little too angry, or he's a little too cocky. And I love that period.

So when they mentioned the idea of doing #0 issues, I was so glad because this is my chance to start in on stuff that I'd been thinking about for awhile, you know? Batman #0 is going to be really fun. I'm super excited about it.

Nrama: There are several Bruce Wayne stories being featured in the #0 month, so do they all take place before he's Batman?

Snyder: You won't see the Bat-suit in most of the #0 issues that deal with Bruce Wayne, and I really applaud DC for doing that, because it's cool and risky to show all these issues about Bruce that don't have him in Batman gear. It really forces you to explore the character in different ways. I love that aspect of this.

We're coordinating the Zero Month to make sure we don't step on each other’s toes with all the stories about Bruce Wayne. We all had points in his pre-Batman years that we wanted to show.

So in Detective and Dark Knight and the other Bruce books, you're going to see a time that's very different from the time I'm showing.

However, there is going to be an interesting motif that runs through all of them, because we want it to be something that's united. You'll see some elements that cross into each book, that shows that this really is one big story that's about one character. But at the same time, it will give you different glimpses of Bruce that aren't repetitive at all, that show different moments from his pre-Batman years.

Nrama: Can you describe the story we'll see in Batman #0? You said it's something that fits within Year One?

Snyder: Yeah. I love the period where Bruce first gets back, that's in Year One, after he's been traveling. But I feel like, because of the way Year One is structured, jumping month-to-month, there was room to play within that time period without stepping on anything that was already there. So I was really interested in doing this story that had to do with Bruce getting back to Gotham and not being sure of himself, but also being a little too angry, and a little too cocky just in that way, and taking a few missteps.

 

So my #0 issue is about Bruce returning to Gotham after being away for years, but it takes place before he's wearing the Bat-suit. It focuses on Bruce setting up shop in Gotham, before he moved to Wayne Manor, before he was part of Wayne Industries, and before he adopted the symbol of the Bat.

It's really a story about Bruce needing to grow up and be a man. My #0 features a Bruce who's not there yet as an adult. He's fun to watch because he does make mistakes and Alfred doesn't approve of what he's doing.

And there will be some fun surprises as to how he's proceeding as a vigilante at this particular time period that you haven't seen before. This exists in the crevices of Year One, and it tells things that you haven't seen that seem new, but honor what's come before.

So there will be some new twists and new surprises and new enemies and new allies.

Nrama: Is it a one-shot? Or does this play into future stories?

Snyder: It definitely plays into future stories. It isn't a one-shot that just opens a window into Bruce's past and then closes it. There are elements of this story that will resonate for a long time in stuff that I'm working on in Batman and will show up in future storylines in major ways.

Nrama: We haven't heard anything about October, but it sounds like you'll be ready to start a new storyline. Can you tell us about what's coming after issue #0?

Snyder: With the storyline coming after that, with issue #13, I can't really talk about it yet. But all I can say, and I've said this before, but I'll say it officially here, is that it features my favorite villain from the Batman rogues gallery. And it's going to be really fun and big. And Greg is with me on that too. So he'll be on #0, and he'll be on the next story starting in October with #13.

Nrama: So it sounds like you have a long-term plan going on and you intend to stay on the title for awhile?

Snyder: I do. I do. I would stay in Gotham as long as they'll let me. I feel like, in some ways, I was living in a little boarding house from week to week on Detective, where I was hoping I'd get to stay another week, or I'd have enough pay to, like, pay the landlord and stay.

Then with Batman #1, I started to feel like I at least am renting for a year. And now, it kind of feels like I can comfortably say, yes, I will be in Gotham for another year at least.

I will stay there as long as readers and DC will have me. I love it. But I will leave the moment I don't have a story that's as important to me as the one that we just did in Court of Owls and the one I have coming after that in October, and the one I have planned after that. [Laughs.] But I mean it. I would never write Batman just to say I get to write Batman and stay on a big book. The second I don't have a story that matters to me, I will happily leave and go somewhere else.

But I don't intend to leave anytime soon, because I've got things planned out until at least the end of 2013. So you're stuck with me for at least another year.

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