Now that the Batman Who Laughs limited series is heading into the second issue, readers will finally see the psychological and emotional confrontation between the title character and this world’s Batman.
It’s a moment writer Scott Snyder has been waiting for since before he introduced the Batman Who Laughs in his blockbuster event series Dark Nights: Metal. But because a one-on-one battle didn’t fit into that series, it waiting until this special limited series that unites Snyder with his frequent collaborator, Jock.
The six-issue Batman Who Laughs will also feature James Gordon Jr., a character that was the focus of Jock and Snyder’s “The Black Mirror” story all the way back in the post-Crisis DCU of 2011.
With the second issue out this week, Newsarama talked to Snyder about what readers can expect next from the series.
Newsarama: Scott, one of the characters you introduced for this mini-series is the Grim Knight. I get the feeling he’s going to stick around…
Scott Snyder: Yeah, the Grim Knight, I don’t want to spoil too much about whether he sticks around, but there are some big moments coming up.
Nrama: And he gets a one-shot.
Snyder: Yeah, with Eduardo Risso, which I’m really thrilled about. That comes out after issue #3 and tells his story, but it also shows some of the scheme that he’s up to and what he’s been doing here ever since Metal.
He’s a pretty integral part of the series. He’s sort of the mini-boss to the Batman Who Laughs. He’s also another means by which can really explore some of Bruce’s deepest fears about himself and what he’s capable of.
Nrama: One of his fears came true, as the last issue ended with the Joker’s death causing the Jokerization of Batman. That’s what happened at the end of #1, right? The death of Joker caused the toxin to be released?
Snyder: Yes, except the toxin that’s in his heart is supposed to be this sort of super-final-toxin. It’s supposed to make whoever finally kills him into the next Joker. It’s the actual stuff from Acme Chemical made in a sort of virulent form.
The idea is that Joker has always had this booby trap in him that says, if you kill me, you will become the next Joker. It’s stronger and more potent than anything he’s seen before.
Nrama: So he’s not only dealing with the Batman Who Laughs, but now Batman is infected.
Snyder: Yeah, he’s slowly turning into the Batman Who Laughs of this world himself. So he begins to see the world, as you will see in this issue, the way the Batman Who Laughs does. It will start to affect him.
Nrama: Do we get to see James Jr. in soon?
Snyder: Yes. And he’s a character who’s really important to the mythology in Gotham that I worked on with Greg and with Jock. So you’ll find out how he fits into this story. You’ll find out how, when he was a really dark little kid, he studied something that comes into play in this story with the plans of the Batman Who Laughs.
Nrama: Now that we’re heading into #2, what’s next?
Snyder: Issue #2 escalates everything. It’s the first time that the Batman Who Laughs and Batman meet alone. They have their first big confrontation.
The things the Batman Who Laughs says and does, to me, are the things that I’ve been waiting to have him do since I conceived of him, since before Metal.
So this issue is the one where everything that I’ve wanted to do between the characters, as a first encounter, happens.
Metal was a huge, fun event, but it really was the Batman Who Laughs versus the DCU and the Justice League in particular. There wasn’t really a chance to have him face off in a one-on-one way with Batman beyond a physical fight.
This is a psychological, emotional, and physical battle, and I think fans will be happy with how it turns out.
Nrama: So this is the confrontation you wanted all along between these characters?
Snyder: Exactly. I’ve been just waiting and waiting and waiting to get to this issue.
You’ll also find out, in this issue, what the Batman Who Laughs’ plan is. You come to understand why he’s here and what he’s trying to do and why it’s a bigger, darker scheme than anything Batman’s faced before.