This week in Batman Lost, readers will discover the nature of the Dark Multiverse in a story Scott Snyder calls "the sun at the center of the solar system of Dark Nights: Metal."
The issue, which is co-written by Snyder with James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, is "hugely important" to the Metal event, Snyder explained to Newsarama. It comes this this week between Metal #3, which was just released in October, and Metal #4, which comes out in December.
As Snyder explains it, the issue shows Batman "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."
Batman Lost features art by Doug Mahnke, Yanick Paquette, and Jorge Jimenez. Newsarama talked to Snyder, Tynion, and Williamson to find out more about how the three collaborated, what purpose this issue serves in the overall story of Metal and what Bruce's thoughts in the issue represent to Snyder.
Newsarama: Scott, Josh and James, how did the three of you end up working on this one issue together? And how did you divide that up?
Joshua Williamson: We've been talking about this book for so long. And at one point, we started talking about doing something with Bruce in the Dark Multiverse. So we had all these conversations about what we wanted to do with it.
Then after all these conversations the three of us have been having, we started talking about this issue. And we knew we all wanted to write it.
I think there was a part of us that each of us really wanted to write, so it because this thing were we thought, well, why don't we just do it together?
James Tynion IV: It was also that, while we were plotting it, we started seeing that there were three threads through the story, each expressing a different part of Bruce's journey through the Dark Multiverse.
And the nice thing about it was that each of us was kind of drawn to one of the threads. We each wanted to go at it.
So one week, when we needed to start putting words down on the paper, we were just like, "OK, Josh you go tackle this bit, James you go tackle that," and then Scott tackled one of the major framing pieces.
Ultimately, that ended up with a full, comprehensive plot that we started passing back and forth.
It was a really seamless process. For an issue that handles so much of Batman's history and the cosmos and the history of the DC Universe in general, it was a very smooth process to write.
Nrama: Scott, we've talked before about how this fits into Dark Nights: Metal. You told me this issue is "hugely important." Can you describe why? What does this issue do for the overall event?
Snyder: This issue's the heart of the event in a lot of ways. It shows what the Dark Multiverse is. It shows Bruce's torment there. It shows what the whole story is about.
It's deeply, deeply personal. It's about those moments you wake up and all you see are the terrible versions of yourself. And there's a voice in your head that essentially says, "There's no way out. Everything just leads back to darkness."
This issue really expresses that, through Bruce's history, his future, and his present.
Nrama: And it shows what Bruce has been experiencing within the Dark Multiverse since he disappeared at the end of Dark Nights: Metal #2, right?
Snyder: It shows what he's been suffering. He's been down there for years and years almost in his own timeline.
Nrama: So is this a little bit different from the rest of Metal? It seems like it'd still be pretty mind-blowing, like the rest of the series.
Snyder: I guess what I'd say is Metal is huge fun and it's over-the-top and bombastic. But I guess I'd say Batman Lost is kind of the dark, beating heart of the whole thing. And it's meant to be collected with Metal.
Nrama: There are a lot of connections established in this issue as well - to the past.
Snyder: Yeah, Batman Lost connects the story to DC history. It connects it to Grant's run. It connects it to the run that I did with Greg Capullo. It connects it to Geoff Johns' work with Hawkman. It connects it to previous Crises.
Nrama: To what Josh and James said before, you had some help with this one - it sounds like a very collaborative effort.
Snyder: Yeah, Metal is my first event - the first time I've done something of this scope. It was always me and Greg Capullo working together on Batman or me and Jim Lee on Superman Unchained, or Yanick Paquette on Swamp Thing.
I've never done something this expansive. And these two guys have been my brothers in arms from the moment it began. I've had the privilege to work with so many people on this project - everybody from Tom King and Robert Venditti to Sam Humphries and all the great artists down the line.
But these two guys, from conception two years ago to now have been invaluable to me. It taught me how important it is to delegate and to trust people to be able to do the parts of the event that are important to them, and that they're passionate about.
And so Josh really took the lead on "Bats Out of Hell" and James really took the lead on the "Dark Knight" one-shots.
And when it came to this issue, which is almost like the sun at the center of the solar system of Metal, it was important to me that they played a part. And the issue is so much better for their ideas and their writing being in it.
It's a very special issue. It reveals what Metal is about. It reveals the darker and more personal part of the event. And yet it's still cosmic and crazy. And we get to play with some of the nuttiest aspects and most far-flung aspects of DC continuity and of Bruce's history.
The artists on the book have been amazing too. What Doug Mahnke was able to do, what Yanick was able to do, and what Jorge Jimenez, who I think is a real rising star, was able to do - we could just stay out of their way half the time and let them do the story visually.
This one, I couldn't be prouder of and prouder of the work that everybody involved did. And I'm very honored to just be a part of this one.