From the Hall of Justice to the pirates of distant water-worlds to the horrors of multiversal Dark Knights, Scott Snyder is one of the leading architects of the DC Universe. Ahead of his work on the Justice League event “Drowned Earth” as well as his upcoming Batman Who Laughs miniseries with artist Jock, Snyder spoke with Newsarama at New York Comic Con to discuss what’s coming for the best and brightest heroes of the DCU.
“The whole point of Justice League is to be both inclusive and additive and build something really special over the course of 50 issues,” Snyder said. “The seven forces that the Legion of Doom are unlocking, the figure that secretly inside the Totality - who may or may not be the mother of celestial beings such as the Anti-Monitor - and so on, everything is part of one meta-story that we started building on Metal, and what I really want people to feel going forward is rewarded for their support.”
Among the toys Snyder plans on adding to the DC Universe include Batman’s full body cast armed to the teeth with “amazing Bat-weapons,” as well as a surviving fragment of the slain Starro kept in a container and named “Jarro.”
Snyder added that the two forces he unleashed in the series’ first arc - the Still Force and the Ultraviolet Lanterns - will come back to haunt the League. “That's going to come back in a big way in our Sixth Dimension arc, which is with Jorge [Jimenez],” he said. “Mxyzptlyk essentially is trapped by them because they realized that imagination and Hypertime are falling apart because of what's happening with the Source Wall and the Totality, and their last hope is to find the Sixth Dimension.”
When asked which Leaguers readers should keep their eyes on, Snyder responded that while the Martian Manhunter is “sort of the keystone of the League for me,” he said that fans should also watch out for Hawkgirl. “For me, what you discover is about our origins from mythology, her relationship to Carter, to Shayera, to Katar, all of that stuff plays a huge part in the whole kind of meta-story that we're trying to do between now and summer next year.”
Meanwhile, with Aquaman getting his own film this December, Snyder also discussed the upcoming Justice League event “Drowned Earth,” which brings the sea gods of space to invade Earth after years of imprisonment in the Graveyard of the Gods, drenching our world with alien liquid that turns all it touches into “fish monster zombies.”
Describing the event as an story with Aquaman and Wonder Woman front and center, “it's a space pirate epic. There are space krakens in it. There are flying pirate ships with laser guns and jet engines,” Snyder said. “Aquaman essentially goes to the Great Blood Reef at the edge of space and learns the nature of his own powers, comes back sailing on a ship with a robotic parrot. It is an out-of-control space aquatic epic... I love it.”
Snyder also teased his upcoming miniseries with Jock, revisiting the Batman Who Laughs, describing it as a spiritual successor to their Detective Comics story “The Black Mirror,” but taken to its logical - or illogical - extremes.
“The Batman Who Laughs comes to Gotham, wants to show Batman sort of the things he's learned about him, because he's like, ‘I've seen you on multiple worlds and I know you better than you know you, and what really makes you happy, and I'm going to show you - and he's going to burn all of Gotham with it.’” Snyder said. “I have a giant plan. It goes back to the history, the origin point of Gotham, a secret plan the original five families had.”
Snyder also said that the series would reveal a new Dark Knight that would wreak havoc alongside his Jokerized counterpart.
“It's Batman's second-worst fear, which is what would happen to him if he started using lethal force. So it's not a Dark Knight to be celebrated, it's a Dark Knight to be like terrified of,” Snyder said.
Describing this new Dark Knight as his “Punisher Batman,” Snyder said that unlike Frank Castle, Bruce Wayne also brought limitless resources and ruthless ingenuity to his bloody war on crime. “Batman is a billionaire, so he has stuff in your phone and your car and you're building, so you might be driving on a bridge and if he wants to off you, you just go off the road. So, you know, he's terrifying in that way. He's like Iron Man, but you know, if he was a villain and lethal.”
When asked about the tone of the greater DCU with the brightness of the Justice League contrasting with the casualties of Heroes in Crisis, the devastating injuries inflicted on Nightwing, or the ruthlessness of the Batman Who Laughs, Snyder said that while DC oftentimes comes together tonally with events such as the "New 52" or "Rebirth," he considered DC’s output to be a “mosaic” that pushes the boundaries of tone and content.
“I think that's important for something as personal and as intimate as I think Heroes In Crisis is to Tom, to be able to be that dark. And I think on the other hand, it's important to me right now to have Justice League be as bright and fun and big, even if those things are tonally sort of cacophonous because this book is about that sense of these characters being in it with us,” Snyder said. “We will come back together to make a statement at certain points - it's important for us to be sort of cohesive at certain moments, and then really I think scattered at other moments, to explore different corners of the kind of emotional landscape.”