[Spoilers for Batman #47.]
This week's Batman may have taken readers through an action-packed, one-on-one battle between Jim Gordon Batman and the new villain Mr. Bloom, but the real surprise came during much more character-focused moments at the end.
After a confrontation between bearded Bruce Wayne and Robin-wannabe Duke Thomas, Bruce not only realizes that he's Batman (something he'd forgotten), but as he's sitting on a park bench, he's joined by the Joker, who has also apparently gone through a transformation into a kinder, gentler, amnesiac version of himself.
Readers will remember that, at the end of April's Batman #40, not only was Bruce Wayne supposedly killed in a brutal hand-to-hand battle, but so was the Joker. In the final scene of the fight, Batman and Joker were lying next to each other when an underground chamber collapsed on them. They were both assumed dead as Batman #40 concluded the six-issue "Endgame" storyline by Batman creative team Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.
At the end of issue #41, it was revealed that Bruce Wayne was alive and well, sporting a beard and acting happy ‹ because he no longer remembered he was Batman (a fact that Alfred and others didn't have the heart to tell him).
In the meantime, Gotham City has an "all-new Batman" ‹ the mech-wearing, bulked up Jim Gordon, who's fighting a super-powered, flower-faced villain known as Mr. Bloom.
Now that the Joker is back, and Bruce realizes who he used to be, what's next? And with Greg Capullo scheduled to leave the title after this arc, what does that mean for the future of the title? Newsarama talked to Snyder and Capullo to find out.
Newsarama: Scott, we've got quite a big revelation today. The Joker is alive? But apparently he isn't the Joker anymore. Did he share Bruce's fate from the end of "Endgame," forgetting who he was?
Scott Snyder: Yeah, well without giving too much away, my feeling is kind of like, this is one of those things that's been the heart of the arc from go for me. And when I told Greg about the possibility of doing Jim Gordon and Bruce and all this stuff, the conversation included, "and thenŠ this happens!"
This arc is largely about what Batman means to us in the real world, where he can't solve any of our big problems, right? I mean, even in Gotham, when you think about it, he can't solve big problems. He can't solve crime, or racism, or class stratification ‹ all the things that plague you on a daily basis, Batman cannot do.
So what does he mean?
So this conversation coming between these two characters is at the core of the arc. Joker has always represented meaninglessness, to me. Our version of him, that's what's scary about him. He's like, I am nothingness. I am the answer to you thinking what you do matters in the world.
And Bruce is the opposite. He's like, I take this random, meaningless violence and I make everything mean something.
And so this conversation on the bench is an important part of the arc.
Nrama: Interesting. The other big revelation is that Bruce is figuring out that he's Batman. That was a pretty short time away from the cowl, but you gave us a taste of who he is without the cowl. But what is Duke saying here? Why is he angry enough at this point to confront Bruce?
Snyder: I think the thing that Duke is so angry about is that he believes Batman inspires us to reach for the impossible and be more than ourselves when things are bad, and to become something even greater than we knew.
And here he gets this text and realizes his parents are not okay. And he's just almost gotten killed by criminals. And here's a guy who used to be the person who inspires him. But now, he's standing there saying it's going to be okay, but he himself is just being so little compared to what he used to be, even though it's as much as he can do now.
And I just think Duke is like, you know what? I'm not okay. It's not going to be okay. Nothing's okay. How about you stop being so okay? And I think that's the dramatic moment, for better or worse. And Duke feels terrible about it later. There's a scene coming up, where he says to Bruce, you were free of all of this: I'm sorry.
Nrama: okay, Greg, let's talk about the battle in this issue between Jim Gordon Batman and Mr. Bloom. There were a lot of interesting angles in this scene, and it's clear in your art that Jim is a different Batman than Bruce or even Dick was. What are your thoughts behind that scene, and also the way Jim Gordon Batman is unique visually in those types of action-heavy situations?
Greg Capullo: Yeah, they're different characters, right? We've got an older guy. He's not as badass as Bruce Wayne. So yeah, I play him a lot differently, in his physical attributes and his acrobatics ‹ or lack of acrobatics.
That was a great scene to draw. First, I've got the big monster who traps him on the ground, and that was all great fun. And the Jim gets the last laugh, like, Œha ha¹, but then Bloom says, Œoh, no you didn't.¹
And that scene was cool. But my favorite scene came at the end, when they're celebrating inside the Bat-Truck that is now destined to be destroyed (just like the first Bat-Truck). I like the moments with a little bit less superhero interaction. You know, the other scene was very much superhero action ‹ you know, he's got the cowl on. It's what we expected from Batman. But later on, where he's pulling up the mask, and then of course we get the surprise of the ending ‹ that's a lot of fun for me.
So yeah, I love where we can get the action combined with some good character stuff. That's my favorite.
Nrama: I have some theories about the meaning behind the moths in the last pages with the Joker. Greg, what do those close-ups of moths represent?
Snyder: Yeah, that was a great idea.
Capullo: I got the idea and I approached Scott about it.
The first thought was, like, when we showed the Joker before, we used the fly. okay? So at first blush, I was like, maybe I should stick a fly in there. So we were thinking, yeah, maybe a fly comes along.
But then, based on what has happened with Bruce and Joker, I go, instead of a fly, maybe a moth, right? Because a moth is a symbol of transformation. So I hit Scott up and I go, hey, what do you think about this moth idea? And he said, yeah, that's great.
And then I read the story and I thought, wait a minute. It should be two moths. Right? And then he goes, oh, I love it!
And then I said, I think maybe if I crop the lamppost just right, the lamppost can almost, sort of look like heart, like they're flying around inside of a heart. So Scott was like, ³yes, yes, yes.²
That's how I do this stuff. We just kind of swing our arms when we walk. And we've been walking together for a while. And all this great, fun stuff just sort of develops and comes together. And then it becomes our baby.
Nrama: Let's talk about this collaboration. Greg, we've seen your name gone from future issues of Batman. I know you plan to do other things together. But what's your response to fans who don't want to see the end of your run on Batman?
Capullo: I'm just going to say, you know, there's nothing saying we won't come back and do more Batman. I mean, you know, I know for certain that Scott and I, when we come back together, we're going to be doing something that's different.
Where do we go from there? Well, there's the million-dollar question. But there's nothing saying that we're not going to come back and give the fans more Batman. Obviously, if the fans are supportive and like what we're doing on the book, and they beg us all the time, you know, "Give us a hundred issues!" There's no saying that we won't do that.
So I would say, rest easy. You never know what's going to happen in life.
But this idea that we won't come back together and pick up where we left off? There's no reason to believe that.
Snyder: I feel the same. And also, a lot of what I'm working on and planning leaves a story for Greg and I to come back together to.
I'm going to Burbank next week to talk about it with them.
You know, it's not even a break in terms of us working together. But the other thing to say, I would stress to fans, Batman is me and Greg and your team. I'm not just staying on Batman and like, hey! Here's a new artist!
I can't tell you what I'm doing yet, but I wouldn't try to do Batman without Greg and the art team, the way I've been doing it, at all. We've had a special run. And it's something we created together. The stories are tailored for the kinds of stuff that I love to do with this team, as opposed to other artists.
And the last thing I would do is be like, hey, here's the next issue of Batman and let's just try to keep going. I'm just not that way.
I try to tailor stories for different artists, that give me a different way to get things across because their art speaks to different things.
So Batman as we know it ‹ this run ‹ is always us.
And I'm not just going to stay on the book and try to replicate that, or stay on the book and try to continue that. That would be impossible. And I think it would undercut what's special about what we've been able to do together, all of us, on this book.
So I have a different sort of idea for what to do with the character when Greg goes away.
Nrama: Then let's finish with what can you tell us about what's coming up in issue #48 and beyond?
Capullo: Issue #48 has a lot of great stuff. It's where everything really comes to a head. All the intersections are colliding now.
One of my favorite scenes involves the park bench, and the guy we introduced on the last page of #47. That's probably my favorite scene in the entire issue, if not in the entire "Superheavy" arc.
But coupled with that, we've got some really fantastic action. You got a hint that there's going to be more than one Bloom, and so the action is taken to a whole new level in this issue. It's got everything you've been waiting for.
Snyder: Yeah, and I just have to say again how grateful and stunned we are for the fan support, for this arc and the entire run. They followed us through a yearlong reinvention of Batman's origins, and they followed us here, where we went so far left, we made Jim Gordon Batman and had a robot suit.
I was ready for everything to go down, but I wanted to do the story anyway, and the fact they've been so supportive for us ‹ this part of the arc where all this stuff comes together.
So it's like, oh, you saw a robot suit? Well, here's, like, all the massive robot suits. You saw a collider? okay, well, that comes into play in a major way. You saw Bloom? okay, here are more Blooms. You saw Bruce? okay, well, next week he comes back even stronger and faster than you've ever seen him before.
This is what you've been waiting for ‹ Bloom's identity, all this stuff sort of exploding. This issue is the end of the soundtrack of the music we've been playing. It's like our reward to our fans.