The Batman characters have barely had time to process the 'death' of their teammate Tim Drake when Gotham City was attacked by giant monsters created by Hugo Strange in the first "Rebirth" crossover, "Night of the Monster Men."
The event, which takes place one night in Gotham City, is being orchestrated by writer Steve Orlando with help from several of the Bat-office writers. The story, which crosses over between Batman, Nightwing and Detective Comics, has brought a hurricane to Gotham City at the same time there are kaiju-type monsters attacking the Batman family characters — all immediately following the death of Red Robin Tim Drake.
So far in the story, the Bat-team is spread pretty thin, as Alfred is in the Bat-cave trying to find a cure for the Monster Men, Batman is fighting the monsters up close, Nightwing is doing detective work, and other Bat-characters like Stephanie Brown, Clayface and Cassandra Cain are making sure citizens are safe.
As Nightwing #5 ended, readers saw Gotham Girl rushing toward Blackgate Penitentiary to save the prisoners under attack.
The story crosses next into Detective Comics #941 — the latest issue in the ongoing series that depicted Tim Drake's 'death' in the previous issue. Newsarama talked to the writers for the next chapter of "Night of the Monster Men" — Orlando and Detective regular writer James Tynion IV — about what comes next in the crossover and how the story spills into upcoming issues of Detective Comics.
We also debut exclusive preview pages from Detective Comics #941.
Newsarama: James, we've talked about how Tim's death affects your Detective story going forward, but what about their reaction in "Night of the Monster Men." We've seen some mention of it in the first couple issues. How would you describe what's happening right now in relation to Tim's death?
James Tynion: In the first few issues that have come out of "Night of the Monster Men," you see the effects of Tim's death in the desperation of Batman. You can also see it in the way Kate is reacting. We are seeing a very deliberate, very focused Bruce and Kate trying to solve the problem because they couldn't solve the last one. So we're seeing them very effective and pushing themselves to their farthest limits. And I think it's really interesting to see how they, as cousins, are similar in how they react in situations like that.
But you can see the effects of Tim's death even more clearly, I think, in the character of Spoiler, who has some pretty key moments in the crossover. And that's something that will carry on into Detective.
But right now, in "Night of the Monster Men," we're seeing the immediate shock of Tim's death.
Nrama: So did you two work together on how these characters from Detective would react in "Night of the Monster Men?" Are you co-scripting their scenes or anything like that?
Tynion: As far as scripting, that's completely Steve. I'm just coming in to look things over and kind of consult, along with the other writers involved, to make sure it all lines up with our books. But Steve has been taking the lead on "Night of the Monster Men."
Steve Orlando: It's been a great experience for me, not just because of the great characters I get to work with in "Night of the Monster Men," but getting to work with these writers.
But you asked about the Detective characters, and in my mind, one of the big goals of this has been to not just tell this exciting blockbuster story over one night, but just to make it clear. To me, the trinity of Gotham is always going to be Nightwing, Batwoman and Batman. And obviously, Batwoman is a relatively new addition.
And it's just great to bounce these characters up against each other, the Detective characters. They already have so much on their minds, with what happened with Tim, but now they're in crisis mode as the city's ready to fall apart.
That's when the filters come off, that's when the walls come down. Things are a little more raw between them. It's a really exciting moment to be able to work with.
Nrama: What do you think this story in particular shows about her character? What are you getting to explore in "Night of the Monster Men" about Batwoman?
Orlando: We get to explore how she functions in a time of crisis, because even more than any of the other Bat-characters, she has – based on things her father put her through — I mean, she's dealt with crisis on a grand, global and arguably more realistic scale, being from the military.
But everything we can do to just remind people how integral she is and the unique point of view she has. You know, she's not quite Bruce and she's not quite Dick — she's not quite anyone else, but she can check them all.
Nrama: And we've heard that many of the threads from this crossover will be picked up in future issues of the various Bat-titles. James, what thread are you picking up?
Tynion: The effects of "Night of the Monster Men" are going to echo very strongly in Detective. This is a big thing to happen to Gotham City. Sure, this city is used to pretty awful things happening pretty often, but this is above and beyond the norm.
A lot of people are going to be questioning how Batman operates in the city and whether it's worth it. Because the attack in Monster Men wouldn't have happened in a city without Batman. Batman isn't just there to stop it. This is being engineered by Hugo Strange in reaction to Batman. Hugo is targeting Gotham City because of Batman.
So we're going to see a city that's not happy with Batman. And we'll see the team members unsure of the whole mission. So there are big impacts that Detective #940 and "Night of the Monster Men" are going to have in future issues of our comic.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell people about the next issue of "Night of the Monster Men?"
Orlando: I'm really excited for the moments that are coming, and the teamwork between Cassandra and Stephanie, which we hinted at in part 2. And we've got one of the best team-ups between Batman and Clayface that's been done.
There are amazing monsters yet to be revealed. And I'm just excited for what's coming. We're doing really, really wild things on the horizon in "Monster Men."
Tynion: This is one of the most fun little projects that I've ever been able to work around. And Steve as done an incredible job in taking this current moment in the Batman mythos which is very different — like, we have Duke, we have Gotham Girl, we have the Detective team — it's unlike any Gotham we've seen before. And this is the first real big crossover story of "Rebirth," and we're seeing Steve stitch together the new Gotham in a big, bombastic and fun story. This story is kind of a Halloween gift to the audience — a spooky, weird, crazy, fun, high-stakes roller coaster of a story that's going to be playing out over the next few weeks.
I can't wait for everyone to see it all together — all the crazy stuff that we can't even hint at yet.