As readers anticipate the second issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Dark Nights: Metal this week, the writer says the event is the most fun he's "ever had in superhero comics."
And among the many teases readers have seen so far, Snyder said there are hints about upcoming stories that will follow the conclusion of Metal - including plans for Hawkman and the Outsiders.
Snyder also said that although Dark Nights: Metal is a six-issue series, a seventh issue - Batman Lost - will be collected with the series and is "hugely important" as it explores the Dark Multiverse and the event's villain, Barbatos.
Newsarama talked to Snyder to find our more about some of the teases in Metal #1, what the nature of Barbatos is, and what readers can expect next in this week's Dark Nights: Metal #2.
Newsarama: Scott, we already talked about Dream showing up, which was the final cliffhanger in#1. But we didn't get to talk much about Barbatos. Is that how you pronounce it?
Scott Snyder: Yeah. BAR-bat-toes.
Nrama: OK, accent on that first syllable. I know you are pulling from Grant Morrison's work on Batman, especially on Return of Bruce Wayne and Final Crisis, which we also talked about last time. But for people familiar with those stories, can you clarify whether Barbatos is the Hyper-Adapter that Darkseid sent back in time in Grant's story? Or is your Barbatos a separate entity?
Snyder: Well, Grant sort of set that up. The idea is that, in Grant's run, the Hyper-Adapter is what Darkseid sent back to chase Bruce Wayne up through time.
But it's sort of attached to this idea that it comes through at the moment they're trying to summon this demon, Barbatos, that's tied to this Peter Milligan story, Dark Knight, Dark City, which I love.
So it kind of leaves open the possibility that those two things are either linked in energy, or they're linked in story, or they're separate entities that happened to almost come through for some reason at this particular moment.
So that's part of our mystery in our story.
Nrama: Ah, so we don't know.
Snyder: Yeah, it's meant to be totally confluent with what Grant was doing, where the Hyper-Adapter itself came into our reality and chased Bruce Wayne up through time right at the moment these old Gotham-ites from Colonial times were trying to summon this demon they had heard of, Barbatos.
Nrama: Right, and we've seen a few different stories about Wayne ancestors from the past of Gotham City. Now you're adding an additional layer there, saying that the Waynes went from "tribe bat to tribe bird" and were allies of Hawkman. Is that going to be explained within the upcoming Metal story?
Snyder: Oh yeah. That comes in in a big way in a bunch of issues. We're doing this issue Batman Lost - basically, we do issues #1, #2 and #3 of Metal and then Batman Lost gives Greg a break to get ahead. He is ahead, but we want him way ahead because the last issue of Metal is a monster. It also gives Doomsday Clock a little room to breathe.
Nrama: Which starts around the same time.
Snyder: Yeah. And that issue, I'm really proud of it - it's got killer art from Doug Mahnke and Yanick Paquette and Jorge Jimenez.
We tried to do the same format as Dark Days: The Forge and The Casting. It delves into Bruce Wayne's full relationship with Barbatos and how the Hyper-Adapter plays in.
All that stuff gets explained in that issue. It's almost like Barbatos' thesis on Batman and what he is.
Nrama: That sounds important to the story.
Snyder: Yeah, it's going to be collected with it too. It's a hugely important issue. But we didn't want to call it Metal #4 without Greg doing it. So it's almost like - it's not an intermission, because it certainly pushes the story forward in certain ways, but I didn't want to make it so that if you didn't read it, you wouldn't get major beats of the story.
Nrama: The solicitation indicates that Batman's actually in the Dark Multiverse in that issue.
Snyder: Yeah, not to spoil too much, but in issue #2, Batman sort of becomes a counterweight for Barbatos and all the nightmare versions of himself that Barbatos is bringing here as his army from the Dark Multiverse. And in doing so, he becomes lost in the Dark Multiverse. They switch places.
So that issue shows him sort of drifting around in this subconscious, vast, oceanic realm that is the Dark Multiverse, where all of his fears and hopes materialize around him.
Nrama: And the Dark Multiverse is where nightmares kind of come to life? These dark possibilities?
Snyder: Yeah. If the Multiverse that we know - the 52 universes - is a place where all the worlds are set and stable, and they're fixed, then the Dark Multiverse is almost this oceanic, dark, ancient realm that's the subconscious of all reality, in the way that anything you fear and hope for materializes as this kind of fluid, isotropic world there for a moment.
And when you stop fearing it, it goes away and bubbles down.
But, if enough people fear or hope for the same thing, those worlds can sort of materialize more firmly.
So exploring all this stuff - it's really, really bonkers, and fun!
Nrama: Wow. OK, so let's talk about a few things we saw in Metal #1 and in Dark Days: The Forge and Dark Days: The Casting that felt like they could either come back, or not. I'm wondering if you can just quickly answer if these things are coming back in the story. First off, the Joker?
Snyder: Yeah, I don't want to give away if he comes back or not.
There's nothing I can think of in The Forge and The Casting - except the quick teases of some of the series that are in the "Dark Matter" series, like the mention of Silencer - there isn't anything in there that isn't coming back in some way to Metal.
Nrama: So Steel, Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man…
Snyder: Yeah, Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Dr. Fate…you'll see more about all that.
Nrama: The Outsiders?
Snyder: The Outsiders is something that's being teased for something, like how we're teasing the "Dark Matter" books. So again, without giving too much away, there are plans for the Outsiders at DC.
[Their appearance] was kind of like, "Guess what's coming! We're working on a story for stuff!"
Nrama: What about Hawkman's alliance with heroes of the past, like the old Blackhawks, the '80s Starman, etcetera. Does that come up again in Hawkman Found?
Snyder: Yeah! It's in Hawkman Found, the Jeff Lemire and Bryan Hitch book.
And then there are plans rolling forward for Hawkman that kind of play off a lot of that material and the Geoff Johns run on Hawkman and all of that.
So that's all being set up as a kind of launchpad for a lot of Hawkman story coming after Metal.
Nrama: Then to finish up, what's Metal #2 going to be like? What can readers expect?
Snyder: Issue #2 is where the full scope of the story begins to be revealed. Issue #1 was a lot of set-up, but we also wanted it to announce the tone as something that was particular to Greg and meant to be something that was meant to build on the past but going into territory where we were just going to be explosively new with all of our stuff.
But Metal #2 is where the story really gets going. It's where everything breaks open and breaks loose. The bad guys get here.
It definitely is way more bonkers than issue #1. And to me, the series honestly gets better issue by issue. Both me and Greg, I think, with issue #1, were scared and nervous.
I can honestly say this is the most fun I've ever had in superhero comics. All-Star Batman taught me how to have fun with Batman. I always had fun with Greg, but it's very intense doing main Batman when Batman is holding a certain position in the line and needs to sell a certain amount. There's a pressure on it constantly that means you have to keep this conversation going with yourself and with the fans and the character that's intense and has a lot of expectations around it.
All-Star, for me, was just getting to write out of the joy and love of the character, without worrying about how it related to the line. And so that set me up for Metal, where it really was kind of like, you know what? If I get a chance to do an event now with Greg, what I want is to do that celebratory, out-of-control, bonkers, Kirby-esque fun that I loved doing with Batman with the entire toy box of the DCU.
To me, Metal is the culmination of everything I've learned to do in superhero comics, and it's sort of a tribute to my love of the stuff I grew up on. And it's a way of taking all of it, and then trying to use it to blast off into new territory and create this new realm - the Dark Multiverse - and new villains - the Batman who Laughs and the Dark Knights - and sort of take you someplace that's personal as well.
In that way, Metal #2 is just… it opens with the Justice League hunting for Batman because he's stolen the most dangerous weapon in the entire universe, hypothetically, to defend himself or to sort of go and stop this plan that Kendra told him about in issue #1, about Barbatos coming here, with all of his worst nightmares from the Dark Multiverse.
And the Dark Nights – these nightmare Batmen from the Dark Multiverse - they make their first real appearance in Metal #2. These are characters we've worked on a long time. And I'm really, really excited for people to see them.