This week's All-Star Batman #10 begins a new arc titled "First Ally"; one that series writer Scott Snyder has confimed starts a countdown to the planned series finale with Sean Murphy. And now, the long-time Batman scribe tells Newsarama that that finale "very well might be" his last Batman story for a while.
But before then, All-Star Batman #10 reunites Snyder with American Vampire's Rafael Albuqerque - with Albuquerque taking over as writer of the back-up. On Monday, Snyder talked about how "First Ally" dealt with Alfred's youth in 1970s London and as a member of MI-6.
Now, we delve deeper into "First Ally," the inspiration it finds in Batman: The Animated Series, how this series segues into Dark Days and Dark Nights: Metal, and coming full circle for All-Star Batman's finale this fall with Murphy.
Newsarama: Scott, you mentioned that "First Ally," the story that starts this week in All-Star Batman, has a Batman: The Animated Series feel. You called it "Paul Dini-type" storytelling. What do you mean by that?
Scott Snyder: One of the things I loved about Paul Dini's stuff, from the animated series and Batman Adventures and a bunch of his Detective Comics as well, is that he has this great ability to tell a Batman story from this kind of prismatic angles, where he'll use a low-level crook or a friend of Batman's or an ally - or a straight-up villain from Arkham - to be the emotional arc of the story. And Batman will sort of be there and be a hero and take up the most time on screen.
Nrama: So it's still a Batman story, but told from a different perspective?
Snyder: Yeah, you'll get all your Batman goodness, but the emotional arc won't necessarily be Bruce's fully. It will be partly his and he'll learn things as a result of the adventure.
I always loved that about some of my favorite episodes of the animated series. They were told from the points of view of people in Gotham or villains. And you see them change almost against the diamond that is Batman, you know, that is really, really crystalized.
Nrama: Let's talk about the back-up in this issue. I thought you were ending the back-ups when the Duke story concluded, but there's one in here written by Rafael Albuquerque and Rafael Scavone, with art by Sebastián Fiumára. How did that come about?
Snyder: Yeah, with Duke, we're moving that story straight into Dark Days: The Forge, and then you'll hear where we're headed with it at Comic-Con International: San Diego.
I wanted to give the back-ups a different flavor in this. I was going to see if we could stop doing them, but Rafael had a story for this great villain called Killer Queen, and he asked, because he's been doing a lot of writing, if he could try writing it. And I was like, of course! I'd love that!
He has a terrific story planned. He'll probably outshine me on it. But he really wanted to do them, so we thought we'd do that.
So it's a second mystery that has to do with Bruce. And it's drawn by his friend, his buddy, and it's really terrific.
I'm really, really happy with it. I'm glad we kept them.
Nrama: So are back-ups going to continue going forward? How many more arcs do you have on the title?
Snyder: So, yeah... after this arc with All-Star Batman, when I get to the story with Sean - which is the one I've been kind of waiting to do for three years or more - that to me very well might be the last Batman story that I do proper Batman for a while. It's sort of a capstone to a lot of things I've been thinking about with him over the years.
It's almost like a Mad Max Batman story in the future. It's really nuts, but it connects the continuity.
When we do that, I'd like to try to take the back-ups out, reduce the price and do it a little differently, depending on what shapes up with some of the editorial changes going on as well.
That story is one I've been dying to do. So whatever format we wind up doing it in, I can't wait.
Nrama: Wait, this "final Batman story" you're doing with Sean - that's something you've been thinking about that long?
Snyder: Yeah! I've been thinking about that story for years - the same way I've been thinking about Metal for a couple years. I've never planned more for anything than for Metal and for that story. So those are the big two.
But that's the plan for All-Star Batman right now.
Nrama: How many issues is "First Ally?"
Snyder: It's five issues. I'm excited for people to read it. I think it's one of the strongest stories I've done in Batman.
Check back on Newsarama for more of our interview with Snyder, including details about his work on DC's summer event, Dark Days and Dark Nights: Metal.