Scott Snyder finishes his debut storyline in All-Star Batman this week, concluding his collaboration with artist John Romita Jr. and resolving the Dark Knight's conflict with Two-Face - and almost every other villain from Gotham City.
However, Snyder promises more Romita/Snyder collaborations in the future.
Snyder, whose ongoing Batman title was a bestseller during the "New 52," launched his new All-Star Batman series as part of DC's "Rebirth" initiative. The series gives Snyder the chance to work with different artists, in both a feature story and back-up story.
Now only four issues in, All-Star Batman has established some surprising history (and brand new continuity) between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent - a relationship that was formed when the two were children. And there have been other surprises - including a betrayal by Alfred Pennyworth and a "wheel" that helps Batman train his allies (and even one of his villains, according to Snyder's story — although readers don't yet know whom).
Newsarama talked with Snyder to find out more about this week's #5, how Snyder has struggled to balance light and dark in more ways than one, and what readers can expect next in All-Star Batman.
Newarama: Scott, we've talked about the theme of this Two-Face story before - how Batman and Two-Face are sort of two sides of a coin. But at the end of #4, it was obvious that the idea extends to all of the characters in this story, from the citizens of Gotham to the villains themselves like the Beast.
Scott Snyder: Yeah. Beast is basically saying, "I am the dark side of the coin. That's who I am. This is what I like to do." And Penguin and the other villains are basically saying, "We choose to be bad guys and do what needs to be done and other people don't have it in them because they're better people."
It's this theme where they're all moving around those two sides.
Nrama: I feel like it's not only a battle between good and evil in the traditional comic book sense, but also a battle between what's brewing inside all these people - particularly Harvey. You called it a "bet" the last time we talked, right?
Snyder: Yeah. On one side, Harvey is saying that "Deep down, we're all monstrous. Deep down, we all want the money, we're all selfish." But Batman is betting on the part of us that's better than that. Batman's making a bet with Two-Face here. He's betting on us.
Nrama: The villains have been numerous in this storyline. What can we expect from All Star Batman #5? More villain showdowns?
Snyder: Yeah! It's a big showdown. They're going over giant waterfalls in gambling ships and they're facing off in rainstorms and on cliffs. You'll definitely see some fun villains in this issue.
Two-Face said to Bruce, basically, "Every step you take along this journey, I'm going to show you something uglier, and when you get to the end, you're going to wish you died or stopped or turned back miles and miles ago."
So this issue really brings that to bear, I think. Two-Face and someone we don't expect have some ugly reveals for Bruce.
It's one of my favorite issues I've done.
Nrama: That sounds dark, but one of the things that has marked this storyline is the humor. Will there be more in #5?
Snyder: Yeah. Part of the fun has been balancing the levity and the humor with the fact that it's actually an extremely dark arc. And that's true of this final issue - it's a lot of fun, but it's a dark issue too, as a culmination of the whole journey.
Nrama: And this is the final issues with John Romita Jr. How involved with the genesis of this story was he? Since this is your last issue together, right?
Snyder: Yeah, but John and I have been talking about doing more stuff together. We're actually going out to dinner this week.
But yeah, he was a collaborator from the beginning. Up front, I talked to him about what things he hadn't drawn and what he wanted to draw. And I gave him a couple different options about, "What if we did it in Gotham, or what if we did it on the road?" "I prefer the road." And he immediately gravitated toward drawing things that he hadn't done before. He wanted to do autumn farmland and blood on the road and all this kind of cinematic imagery that he hadn't really drawn before.
You know, when you work with these kind of legends, they turn out acting like hungry young artists because they want to continue to reinvent themselves.
Nrama: Looking back, what do you think his art style brought to the story?
Snyder: With John, there's an energy to his stuff that's just pummeling forward motion always. Characters look like they're standing against the wind. They're strong and muscular in spirit as well as in physique, and they're always like pushing through to the other side.
John is so disciplined. And if you see him, he's a beast, you know? He has a physique of a guy 20 years younger than he is. And it speaks in his art also, just that sense of, kind of, you know, that work ethic. You get up early, you do what you're going to do, you get to work. And so it just felt perfect for this arc, where Batman has all these obstacles but he says, no, I'm going to keep going.
So I just thought it was perfect for this kind of story where you're just barreling down the highway non-stop, with this will of steel and that sense of determination.