As the Batman spin-off title Talon heads into 2014, main character Calvin Rose will come up against a villain that Tim Seeley describes as "the Batman villain version of Deadpool."
Lord Death Man, a Batman villain that was just revamped by Grant Morrison for Batman, Inc., will show up in Talon for a two-issue story beginning in February. Seeley, who's also going to be one of the writers on the weekly series Batman: Eternal, will write the story, which begins in Talon #16 with art by Jorge Lucas.
Since Talon began in September 2012, it's proven itself to be one of the more successful New 52 launches that came in later "waves" from DC. But the title, which was launched by Batman writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, is going through its first creative team upheaval next year, when Tynion (who's been writing the title solo), is leaving to concentrate on the upcoming weekly series Batman: Eternal.
While a new writer hasn't been announced, January will feature a one-issue story by Marguerite Bennett, followed by Seeley's short stay.
Seeley is best known for his horror-themed comic Hack/Slash from Image, but he's also getting a lot of attention currently for his zombies-with-a-twist story in Image's Revival, which he creates with studio-mate Mike Norton. The two are also uniting for the second volume of The Occultist at Dark Horse, and Seeley will be working at Dynamite for a reboot of the Chaos! Comics universe in April.
But his highest profile work in the world of superheroes comes in the Batman office, first with the two-issue story in Talon, and the his story for Batman: Eternal. In a multi-part interview with Seeley about all his upcoming work, we talked to him about what readers can expect from Lord Dead Man as he appears in February and March in Talon.
Newsarama: Tim, before we talk about Batman: Eternal, what can you tell us about the two-issue story you're writing for Talon?
Tim Seeley: My story takes place after Calvin has become resurrected as one of the undead Talons. He was temporarily killed by Bane, and they brought him back. And now he's dealing with being an undead character, wanting to get his humanity back.
So our story is about that quest. And it picks up after the end of Batman, Inc., actually.
Nrama: What part of Batman, Inc. are you expanding?
Seeley: I wanted to pick up on some threads that Grant Morrison left at the end of the story with one of the greatest characters ever created, Lord Death Man.
Nrama: Ah, but he was involved in the Lazarus Pits, right? Does this tie into that?
Seeley: Yeah, Ra's Al Ghul's people figured out a way to create new Lazarus Pits by strapping Lord Death Man to some kind of a machine. His power is that he couldn't die, for unknown reasons.
So we're going to pick up the threads on that, with Calvin looking for a cure for being undead, it will lead him to Lord Death Man.
Nrama: And it was your idea to use that character?
Seeley: Absolutely! It was in my pitch. I was like, I have an idea for Talon — don't put the pitch down just yet — it involves Lord Death Man.
Nrama: What drew you to that character in particular? He seems like he'd be fun to write.
Seeley: Yeah, I think I was born to write his dialogue, because the way Grant wrote him — I mean, it's a weird character to begin with, because he's an old Batman villain from the '60s, who the Batman manga re-introduced as Lord Death Man. And then Grant Morrison picked up on that and introduced him again as a sort of extension of that manga version.
So his dialogue sort of sounds like he's been translated from some other language. He just says crazy things out of nowhere. So that was what I kind of grabbed onto, and I think he's pretty funny.
He's kind of, like, the Batman villain version of Deadpool.
Nrama: Since I'm reading your Image book Revival, I'm thinking you might be good at writing a story involving someone who's "undead."
Seeley: Yeah! I think there might be a little… I don't know if I want to say typecasting, but I'm sure when the were kicking this around, it might have been asked, "who writes undead people every month?"
Nrama: Like when Robert Kirkman did Marvel Zombies, but I know Talon is a lot different from anything you'd associate with the word "undead."
Seeley: Yeah, yeah, it's a superhero book, firmly set in the Batman universe.
The character is sort of on a redemption track, having been designed to be an assassin, but now trying to figure out what his lot in life is.
He keeps getting drawn back into it, going so far as… he died to escape it and couldn't escape it.
So I kind of wanted to play up that aspect of it. You know? What are the things you can't escape?
Nrama: Which is interesting, since Calvin is an escape artist.
Seeley: Yeah, what kind of escape artist are you if you can't even get away from this?