Spoiler for those who haven't read this week's Batman #50.
The final arc in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman run has come to an end today with #50, detailing Bruce Wayne's return to the cowl, the end of Jim Gordon's stint as the Dark Knight and the apparent death of the villainous Mr. Bloom.
The issue also insinuated that Duke Thomas is finally getting a specific superhero role in Bruce Wayne's team (after the boy's parents are revealed to be permanently disabled by Joker's recent attack on Gotham).
The issue wraps up the "Superheavy" storyline that started in June with Batman believed to be dead. 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. They were both assumed dead, and the city of Gotham put together a new, mechanized Batman piloted by former police commissioner Jim Gordon.
Later, it was revealed that Bruce Wayne was actually alive and well, but he no longer remembered he was Batman (and incidentally, the Joker had experienced the same fate). Eventually, in last month's Batman #49, Bruce gets back his memories and his abilities as Batman.
In Batman #50, he not only puts on the Batman costume again, but he interacts with Jim Gordon as the two try to save Gotham from new villain Mr. Bloom.
After this week's action-packed Batman #50, Snyder and Capullo have one more issue in their lengthy run on Batman — next month's #51 — which Snyder called a "lighter" issue that contains "conversations that need to happen after the city is saved."
And although the Snyder and Capullo have both announced their departure from Batman after issue #51, the two have been saying for months that they plan to reunite on another DC project in the future. In the meantime, Batman will relaunch in June with a different creative team as part of DC's Rebirth event.
Capullo told Newsarama earlier this week that as soon as he's done with his next project — a six-issue mini-series with writer Mark Millar — Capullo will come back to an unnamed project at DC. According to Capullo, the next project is something DC suggested, and it's even more "stand-out-in-the-crowd" than the pair's 2011 launch of Batman.
Newsarama talked to Snyder about the final issue of "Superheavy," what readers can expect from Batman #51, and whether this means Duke Thomas will be the next Robin.
Newsarama: First off, Scott, how long did you want to use that line, "Who died and made you Batman?"
Scott Snyder: [Laughs] Forever! Forever. I want it on a bumper sticker or a pen. I've been like waiting to pull that one out. It's one of my favorites. I might be my favorite line in the whole run.
I was sort of like, the only time Bruce could ever use it is here, where he immediately alerts Jim to the fact that it's the real Batman, because he's so cocky. He's just really confident. It's the equivalent of him saying, "I'm Batman." You know what I mean? And I almost went that way, with him saying, "You know, you're not Batman; I am."
But I decided to go with this one instead, which is our twist on that same sentiment.
Nrama: There's also a twist in that the identity of Bloom wasn't exactly spelled out. We did find out Daryl's involvement. I know the idea of Bloom is those things that fall through the cracks, not only in the system, but even in a world with superheroes. How would you describe the role of Daryl and what he represents?
Snyder: Yeah, I mean, for me, every character in this arc is trying to be a hero in different, flawed ways. Bruce is trying to do it by helping at the center. Is that enough for him? That's the question. How much do you do before you feel like you're not doing enough?
Jim's trying to do it by being a superhero. Duke is trying to do it by inspiring other kids to take action, and in this arc, trying to make his parents proud.
For me, Daryl is trying to do it in a way where, he felt like, if there was a way to empower people that were disempowered in the neighborhoods and make sure they use their powers the right way, then you could make things better.
It's an argument about strengthening or arming or giving the good people more leverage than bad people. The problem is you can never stop. Who's going to decide who's good and who's bad? Who's going to decide who gets what? And who's going to decide how to keep those things safe from bad people getting them?
So his intentions are noble. He just can't handle the fact that it's not going to work.
Nrama: So who is Bloom? Readers got some hints in former issues. But are we meant to know?
Snyder: Well, it's meant to be… the person that became Bloom, it could have been a man or a woman; it could have been someone who's white or black or Hispanic or anything. But the idea is that all of those people had been hurt in the last attack and they were all headed toward the Potter's Field where they bury unidentified bodies. And so they're people who would have just gone back to the dirt and been forgotten about.
That was fascinating to me, the idea of a Potter's Field, and the idea that you spend your whole life in service of trying to make a city better, or doing something to try to help, and then that's what you come to, in this case, at least.
So I wanted to keep it anonymous and have it be something where he could have been a number of people, but he's so very different from the Joker in that he comes from a real, physical body, as opposed to the Joker, who almost appears as a figment and a terrible being.
Nrama: Batman said to Duke, "I have an offer for you." I think a lot of fans can guess what that offer is, especially with the costume that Duke wears. Yet there's already someone in that role. Is Batman offering Duke the position of Robin?
Snyder: I think you guys will be surprised. We wanted to try something a little bit new with this one. It has echoes of that, but it's actually something a little bit different that myself and the writer on Batman and a couple of the other writers came up with — a way of sort of spinning the mythology a bit. So we're really, really excited about it.
Nrama: Was this something that, when you introduced Duke, you kind of had in mind? Or was it something new that arose when you were more recently working with other Batman writers?
Snyder: It was a little bit of both. From the beginning, I've been hesitant about the possibility of him becoming officially Robin.
I think that he would fit, because of the way he approaches the mantle. I think he'd make a great Robin for that reason.
But I also feel like… I guess part of me wondered if there was a way to create something new with him as well, so that it would just be another figure in that role, as exciting as that can be.
So I think we landed someplace that gives us an opportunity to do something with him that hasn't been tried before. And it opens up the mythology of Robin and that stuff a bit, and gives us a bit of history and interesting elements that have gone unexplored to this point.
So, you know. We'll see. We'll see.
Nrama: We talked earlier this week with Greg about this being his final storyline. For you, too, why did it feel like the end of "Superheavy" felt like the right ending to your run with Greg?
Snyder: This whole arc, I think, for us was our riskiest, and the one that stretched everything to the limits, and for me, it was deeply personal about what Batman can and should mean to the real world.
So Batman #50 has all of the fun, all of the emotion, all of the things that I think we tried to bring to the series — a sense of novelty, a new take on Batman.
And Batman #51 is really just kind of a lullaby.
I couldn't be prouder of what Greg and I are able to do, and he's just become one of my best friends. Even though he's going to go work with Mark Millar — which I know is going to be incredible and I can't wait to see — anytime he ever wanted to work on anything, I'd be there in a second.
So I just see this as one step in a lot of fun things we'll do together over the years.