When All-Star Batman #2 became available Wednesday, it became apparent for readersthat this was a different kind of series than Scott Snyder's Batman run he completed earlier this year with artist Greg Capullo.
For All-Star Batman, not only is the art very different - as Snyder works with a series of different artists, starting with John Romita Jr. - but the tone and setting have changed as well.
Snyder, whose Batman title was consistently one of the top sellers for DC from 2011 to 2016, is starting fresh with All-Star Batman, doing something he always promised with be a different tone and type of story than what he'd done before with the Caped Crusader.
Newsarama caught up with Snyder for a conversation about how this series differs from his previous run, why it was important to change the setting from Gotham City, and why Alfred betrayed Batman in the first issue.
Newsarama: Scott, now that we're two issues into All-Star Batman, although this story has been about Batman fighting a slew of villains, it's also about Batman fighting the worst in all of us, even his allies. It feels very different from what you were doing with Batman in the "New 52" era, where you seemed to focus on Batman providing hope to the people of Gotham. Did "Rebirth" give you a different focus?
Scott Snyder: Yeah, but it was getting him out of Gotham, I think. The whole series we did, me and Greg, it was so focused on Gotham in the sense of how Gotham generated these different challenges for Batman that were largely about his own personal demons. And those demons were things that, I think, had corollaries in my own fears and my own anxieties.
But with this series, it gives a broader stage. It gives me a way to take Batman out of Gotham and sort of pit him against things that, I think, are more outward looking.
Nrama: So the challenge isn't just Two-Face, but the broader world? Or is it more about people kind of coming out into the light?
Snyder: Yeah, I think this challenge that he's up against with Two-Face, is a situation where Two-Face says, listen, in your little safe haven of Gotham, we all have our secrets, we all have the people we hide behind closed doors, and that's the way it is. And I'm part of that. You throw me in Arkham like you always do, and that's that.
But when he gets an invitation from Harvey Dent to sort of stop that and actually up the ante and say, enough of Two-Face and enough of this.
Let's force people out into the light, to sort of redeem themselves if they've done things that they're ashamed of, Batman included. Let's all do that together and start over.
Batman is completely up for that.
And yet the farther he goes down the road, I think the more scary the prospect becomes because the more cogent Two-Face's argument becomes, where he goes, look, people are not as good as you think they are.
Nrama: But it's also more fun, in a way. I mean, in a crazy, bombastic, Batman way, because you can do things out in the world.
Snyder: Yeah, it gives you the opportunity to have these incredibly zany moments, where you have scenes like Penguin filling up his limo with gas at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, and these dudes come up that are hunting ducks and they're like, "Hey, bird man! You need a job? You can be our decoy." And he's like, "Oh, that's funny." But he says, "You know, the thing about ducks is you have to know how to roast them." And he opens his umbrella and fries all of them. You know? And it's in this gas station in the middle of nowhere.
So there's those kinds of moments that are just totally out there, and like, really weird for Batman.
But then on the other hand, there's things that are, you know, really, really personal.
I love the series for that. It gives me a way of being more bombastic and silly and out there, and also, I think, more introspective.
Nrama: So it's less about reflecting Batman's own inner demons? That felt like what you were doing with Greg, or what you had Gotham doing to him. It was kind of an overarching thing through the entire... what? Five-year run?
Snyder: Yes. But that whole run with Greg was a singular conversation, you know? About Gotham and a particular kind of funhouse mirror where you're always dealing with your own personal demons. And it's very, I think, claustrophobic, in a great way, that can generate tremendous conflict.
But being out of it, I think you can think - for me at least — I can think more expansively about things that are both terrifying to me on a personal level, but also part of a broader conversation about how Batman fits into the larger world.
Nrama: OK, but let's talk about Alfred. In the first issue of the run, you had even Alfred turning against him. Scott how could you?
Snyder: I know, I know. But it's not a "Hail Hydra." It's not like Alfred has been secretly working for the Joker the whole time. I think people will, hopefully, be happy with why Alfred did what he did.
Also, there are a lot of twists coming.
Nrama: And this storyline, and your work with John Romita Jr., runs through issue #5?
Snyder: Yeah. I just finished #5, and I'm really, really happy with where it goes in terms of Alfred's argument to Bruce at the very end. And Two-Face has some really devious things up his sleeve.