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Interview: James Tynion IV talks BATMAN ETERNAL, Characters Returing in the New 52, and Stephanie Brown

Get some juicy details about what's going on and what's coming up in the weekly Batman title.

BATMAN ETERNAL is the new weekly Batman series written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, and Tim Seeley. With the first two issues out, we’re seeing some big shake ups in Gotham City. As one of Batman’s closest allies faces a dark path, the call is put out to the rest of the Bat Family.

Along with the characters we all know, we are seeing new characters introduced into the New 52 continuity and we’ll see the debut of Stephanie Brown in issue #3.

We had the chance to ask James Tynion IV some questions and he revealed some juicy details. There will be some spoilers if you haven’t read issues 1 and 2 yet.

COMIC VINE: Let’s start with issue #1, that first page! Are we to assume that happens in issue #52 or is it a wait and see?

JAMES TYNION IV: That is a moment right at the end of the story. It is the sort of climax to everything that comes together. Whether or not that’s issue #52, that is a wait and see. It’s going to be somewhere around there. It’s definitely going to be right as the story reaches its final moments and Batman is in his moment of desperation.

CV: We got to see some cool scenes with the GCPD. Is this something we’ll be seeing more of?

JT: Absolutely. One of our big goals, in this series, is to make sure it’s a story that went beyond. It’s a story that plays into all the corners of Gotham. Obviously the police department is a key part of the storyline. With everything that we’re doing, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them. Particularly, through the eyes of Jason Bard, who came in right at the beginning of the first issue. He’s one of our major characters over the course of the year. There’s a lot more to come in terms of your favorite GCPD members.

CV: Speaking of Jason Bard, any hints on how he’ll compare to the pre-New 52 version?

JT: I think people who are familiar with the character know that he’s always sort of been on Team Batman, from the very beginning. There was even that time he was working as Batman’s own private investigator, solving the cases and doing the legwork during the day, that Batman would follow up on at night. I always loved that angle for the character. He also has a history as a member of the GCPD. We wanted a character that could really anchor Gotham City in this storyline with a fresh set of eyes. We wanted a character who could be our access point for all of Gotham. We decided very early on that Bard would be the perfect figure to reintroduce to serve that role. Whether we’re going to build towards elements of continuity, you’re going to have to wait and see. Most importantly, we’re really building him from the ground up for this series but staying true to the core of the characters.

CV: Will you be focusing on Jim Gordon’s story in the first arc or will we see a mix of everything along the way?

JT: The first issue is really the inciting incident. It’s the moment that launches all the pieces on the table, sending them all off. Issue #2 is where we see a lot of the secondary characters in the Bat Universe react to what happens. It’s also the introduction of a major threat that’s returning to Gotham. It’s that threat’s first appearance in the New 52. That’s a character I could not be more excited about reintroducing to the Gotham mythos because we haven’t really ever seen him this kind of story.

The first three issues that Scott and I are co-writing together, they sort of serve as the pilot for the full year of BATMAN ETERNAL. The first issue sets up the story with a flash to the end and also has this crazy inciting incident sends Jim Gordon away. It tilts the aspect of Gotham that helps Batman the most. Jim Gordon, his partnership with Batman goes back to the very beginning of Batman’s tenure in Gotham City. As we’re seeing play out in Zero Year. By taking him off the table, all of Gotham is going to become a very different place for Batman. We’re going to see how that starts to happen in issues 2 and 3, which set up the scale of the story to come. It’ll introduce more of the central cast to the storyline.

CV: As far as this character introduced in issue #2, can we assume the rest of this person’s family will be involved?

~Spoilers~

JT: Yeah, we’re introducing Carmine Falcone back into the DCU. We’ve never really seen a story with him. He’s always been a key figure in Batman’s past. In previous continuity, he died in the past, as we saw play out in THE LONG HALLOWEEN and stories like that. He was never a figure in the present day. The idea of taking someone whose control of Gotham, the crime family, it was part of what made Gotham such a dangerous place when Batman came on the scene. The idea that in new continuity, we could bring him back and basically have him make a real attempt to take back Gotham and make it what it was before Batman, that was something we were very interested in doing right at the start.

In terms of his larger family, I think the focus is going to be very much on Carmine and also the figures in Gotham’s criminal hierarchy who decide to ally with him, instead of the Penguin. We’re building Penguin up as Carmine’s major rival. The way we see it is, Penguin is the guy who ran Carmine out of town, just as much as Jim Gordon, Harvey Dent, and Batman did during the time directly after Zero Year. That was how the Penguin came to power, by picking up the pieces of Carmine’s empire and taking control of them because he understood what Batman was. But now Carmine’s coming back and he understands. He knows what’s happening. He’s going to have an incredible amount of power at his back. It’s really going to shake up what the whole power structure of Gotham is in just as major of a way as taking Jim Gordon off the table.

CV: I’m assuming we can believe the scars on his face are from Selina?

JT: Oh yeah. He definitely has a past with Selina Kyle. It might not be the same past from the original continuity. We wanted to really make our own mark on the whole Selina/Carmine storyline. I think people should expect a very strong connection between those two characters.

CV: Are you guys still each writing different parts/characters that will appear combined in each issue? I believe you said you were writing Tim Drake? How does the structure work?

JT: We are all working on complete issues. We decided early on we wanted to approach this like a television series with basically three-issue arcs serving as episodes of the TV show. The one exception is issues 4, 5, 6, and 7. They’re one-shots by each of the core writers of the series that will set up a bunch of the subplots of the story. In each of our “episodes” or arcs, different subplots come to the head and other ones drop back to the background. Things rotate in and out. The main storyline, the Batman storyline, continues straight through from issue 1 to the end.

When we were talking before about the stories, that each of us have taken the lead on, yeah, I’m going to be very much looking over the storyline with Tim Drake and Harper Row, which starts in issue 5. Other people will write parts of that storyline but the major beats of that storyline will be during my arc, just as much as the major beats or storyline in Ray’s arc and the main beats of Jason Todd, Batgirl’s storyline, those are going to be in Tim’s arc. That’s sort of how we broke it down. But it’s not something where everyone is writing a few pages an issue. We’re writing complete issues and arcs. We planned it all out back in September. It’s been working really well for us so far. It’s been an incredible experience. I’ve just been sitting down today, reading through everything we have in and there’s some incredible storytelling coming in over the coarse of the year that each of these writers brought to the table. I’m just excited for everyone to see them.

CV: The solicits are already out for issues up to #12. How structured do you guys have each issue laid out? We know solicits change at times out of necessity but are you guys sticking close to what’s been released?

JT: 100%. Occasionally there might be a tweak here and there but we have it plotted out, rather extensively. Everything’s coming out just the way we planned it and just the way we started writing it back in the Fall. It’s been a shockingly easy process. I joked back in the Fall how this was the project that was going to kill me over the course of the year but it’s actually proved to be one of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had. What you see in the solicits does reflect what you’re going to see in the book.

CV: What can you tease about Stephanie Brown in issue #3?

JT: It’s the beginning of her story. Even though she’s appeared in BATMAN #28, that happens much later on in the story, in terms of continuity. People should treat this as the first appearance of Stephanie Brown. It’s the first encounter with the Bat mythos, but not necessarily Batman himself. This is how she stumbles into a lot of trouble that’s going to be following her over the course of the year and set her off onto the path of becoming Spoiler. This is the first moment in the long journey of Stephanie Brown.

Make sure you join in on the fun. BATMAN ETERNAL is available weekly. Issues 1 and 2 are now on sale. Issue #3, Stephanie Brown’s “first” appearance is on sale April 23.

63 Comments
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Posted by lifeofvibe

im losing interest dont know why i just am

Posted by G-Man

@lifeofvibe: After two issues? Tons of people killed, the re-introduction of characters never seen in the New 52? Okay.

Staff
Posted by PapiNacho

The real question I wish had been asked, given the recent announcement is whether Dick Grayson would be participating in Eternal and if so written by who.

Posted by G-Man

@papinacho: You know there's no way they could answer that. We don't even know how exactly FOREVER EVIL is ending. Plus, we do know everyone thinks he's dead. He doesn't have a place here since he'll be elsewhere being a spy. He's not on the cover for the first issue. Last week's BATGIRL showed Barbara pretty much believing he was gone.

Staff
Posted by mak13131313

I'm loving this series! I'm so glad it's a weekly because I wouldn't be able to wait a whole month to see what happens next.

Edited by PapiNacho
@g_man said:

@papinacho: You know there's no way they could answer that. We don't even know how exactly FOREVER EVIL is ending.

We know he survives and is relatively undamaged (given the cover), I don't think there is any point in hiding his involvement.

Plus, we do know everyone thinks he's dead. He doesn't have a place here since he'll be elsewhere being a spy. He's not on the cover for the first issue. Last week's BATGIRL showed Barbara pretty much believing he was gone.

This is actually the reason it is even a question whether he would appear in Eternal, because otherwise of course he would. Plus his series is written by Tim Seeley so it isn't out of the realm of possibility that he might engage in missions for Batman who presumably knows he is alive. Especially given the globe reaching setting of Eternal (going to Hong Kong etc.).

Not saying the interview is bad it's just that this is the question I most want answered.

Posted by G-Man

@papinacho: Everyone has to think he's dead. Just like everyone thought Kathy Kane was dead. I mentioned it in the article. I would be willing to guarantee he will not play a role in ETERNAL. He's going to be in his own corner. And the series doesn't even start until July.

Staff
Posted by megatronsoutofenergon

all I know is by this time next year my longbox for the batfamily is gonna be stuffed

Posted by PapiNacho

@g_man: Everyone except Batman given how he is in the same room that he will be revived in. Unless Lex Luthor actually fails to revive him and they leave him for dead only for Spyral to later succeed. This would certainly be a twist.

Posted by kilowog52

Awesome series so far! Also, I wonder if Stephanie's father, the Cluemaster, is still a big part of her origin.

Posted by fallbrigade

Totally sweeeeet. So glad this is a weekly series too, makes waiting a lot less of a struggle. I wonder how they're switching up Carmine and Selina's past relationship? And as unlikely as it is, I really hope they reintroduce Cassandra Cain throughout the course of this story, in some fashion... even the smallest, littlest hint or foreshadowing.

Posted by HushoftheWind

Steph is looking so fine in that chair all tied up

*looks around for Tim, then runs*

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I am Loving Batman eternal so far but I wish they would do a series like this for Metropolis. Gotham has had tons development and depth put into it over the years whereas Metropolis not so much.

I would love to see how the Daily Planet and it's social media affects Metropolis in the same way as the GCPD does for Gotham. I want to see Perry White, Lois and Jimmy get more development.

I'd like to see more development into big businesses like Lex Corps and Steelworks and how they shape city and what the relationship between Steel and Lex is like.

I would like to see the Guardian and Suicide Slum and how the area of the city came to be like that and how Superman and co try and help it.

I would like to see Metropolis return to a semi-retro futuristic "smart city". A truly modern interpretation of the City of Tomorrow.

And I would like to see the reformation of the Science Police and how they handle the crazy supervillains that appear in the city and how they go about clearing up the aftermath of Superman's big battles and how they imprison the big bads in the M.A.W.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by lifeofvibe

@g_man: no after this interview

Posted by lifeofvibe

@g_man: the idea of jason being anywhere near the bat family again irks me more then you would think

Posted by dkmark96

@jonny_anonymous: This needs to happen. I would like to see a criminal organization like the Falcones start working in Metropolis. It would be interesting to see Superman fighting something different than metahumans. I imagine Supes would beat them fast and put them in jail. But then the leader keeps controling the bussines from his cell and corrupts the Metropolis Police Department. It´s funny that in Gotham 50% of cops are corrupt, but in Metropolis all of them are Captain America.

Edited by 2cool4fun

@lifeofvibe: I don't really know why? I mean I know that he is supposed to be away doing his own thing ( kind of like Tim ), but as someone who loves the character ( and I'm guessing you do too? ) I love the fact that he will have some part in this. Plus I mean the new 52 from the start was about him getting rid of all that hate, and what better way to finally not be mad at batman then to come and help the whole family in this mess ( not saying they should be buddies, just saying it would be nice if they had some interactions after what happened in Batman & Red Hood ).

Posted by MannEffest

God… I wish my wallet was bigger, I feel like a horrible human being for missing this. I wish I could afford this!

… Trade waiting it is :/

Posted by timelord

I'm really loving that it's weekly and the fact Bruce seems to be taking a back seat is great. We also get to see all the Batfamily interact without the need for another cross over so the other books can grow on there own.

Edited by Transformers1024

Will someone please get Tynion the hell away from Jason Todd?! He almost butchered him in his run on Red Hood on the Outlaws. In only one arc he managed to put Jason and Bruce against each other (again) right after they patched everything up. Wiped his memory for a near pointless reason. Then he wrote off Isabel, who was the only love interest Jason has had in years and would have progressed his character development. But nooooo he went and screwed it all up.

And right when he leaves RHatO, he says he's going to be working with him on Eternal...

Edited by AmazingWebHead

Hmmm...villain who was never in this kind of story, only Steph knows how to stop it...

...Aw crap, please tell me it's not Cluemaster!

Posted by COBRAMORPH

Hmmm...villain who was never in this kind of story, only Steph knows how to stop it...

...Aw crap, please tell me it's not Cluemaster!

Either him or Black Mask. In fact, maybe she's evil in the new52 & is Black Mask's girlfriend. Or his "Harley". Afterall Spoiler does wear a black mask.

Posted by ZbvmX

In for the 1st arc, but might just convert into a dirty trade-waiter after. Need more funds for more event comics :P

Posted by obsidian_raindrop1

@lifeofvibe: why does jason being in this bother you?

Edited by obsidian_raindrop1
Posted by NightHawk89

I've hated nearly everything about Batman (the whole Bat-family, really) since the New 52, but I'm actually quite enjoying this so far. The art's good, the story has me intrigued, and now we finally get a villain who isn't one of the big "super criminals". Been waiting anxiously for the mob families to make an appearance.

Edited by JakeN7

@papinacho: @g-man: Newsarama decided to ask, Tony was correct:

"Nrama: Interesting. OK, we've heard a couple of things this week about what's coming up in the Bat-books announcements since the last time you and I talked. I don't know how much they tie into Batman Eternal, so let's just clarify that now. As you know, Nightwing is now going to be in a series called Grayson, but the Bat-family are going to be clueless about his survival. So are we right in assuming that Dick Grayson doesn't play a role in Eternal?"

"Tynion: That's correct. We really wanted to give Grayson the room to breathe and be something totally new and unexpected for that character. The effect of the family thinking Nightwing's dead and not knowing where he is? We'll see that. The absence of Dick will definitely play a role in Eternal. But himself — he as a character will be off on his own adventures."

http://www.newsarama.com/20875-batman-eternal-writer-on-issue-2-dick-robin-s-roles-in-series-nightwing-30-creative-change.html

Posted by ScarletBatman

Will someone please get Tynion the hell away from Jason Todd?! He almost butchered him in his run on Red Hood on the Outlaws. In only one arc he managed to put Jason and Bruce against each other (again) right after they patched everything up. Wiped his memory for a near pointless reason. Then he wrote off Isabel, who was the only love interest Jason has had in years and would have progressed his character development. But nooooo he went and screwed it all up.

And right when he leaves RHatO, he says he's going to be working with him on Eternal...

Bruce and Jason's falling out was Tomasi's doing (during the Requiem arc), not Tynion's. Tynion is low man on the totem pole at DC, he has to follow what other writers do and what editorial told him to do. I'm sure writing Isabel off was to unshackle the next writer who had different plans/directions for the character.

Posted by JakeN7
Posted by obsidian_raindrop1

@scarletbatman: She was kind of written off in death of the family, I love this book but even I forgot she was even alive until she came on screen.

Edited by Transformers1024

@scarletbatman: Sorry if this comes off as being a jerk, but you're wrong. The falling out between Jason and Bruce was all Tynion's idea. And Tynion that he was going to have a lengthy run on RHATO and had a "solid plan" until he was kicked off by the time he submitted issue 28 (the issue Isabel was written off) so by then it was too late to go back and change it. I'll try to find the links to the sources for that info later when I'm not so tired.

Plus with him acting as a protégée to Scott Snyder, he must have a decent sized voice at DC since he's becoming a pretty big part of the Batman books like Synder. (That's what I'm assuming at least. Could be wrong though.)

Posted by Transformers1024

@obsidian_raindrop1: I'm not too familiar with Ray Fawkes work. How is his writing? Does he have the writing/creative ability to give us some solid Jason Todd stories?

Posted by ScarletBatman
@jaken7 said:

@scarletbatman: That's incorrect.

The end of Lobdell's run of RHatO was #18. At the end of that comic, Bruce and Jason come to terms with their anger/resentment and embrace one another. Issue #19 of RHatO was Tynion's first issue. The very first panel of that comic has an addendum that reads, "Find out why Jason left Bruce in Ethiopia in Batman and Red Hood #20." The falling out between Bruce and Jason happened in Batman and Red Hood #20 because Bruce manipulated Jason and couldn't see the hell he was hoisting upon his surrogate son.

Posted by obsidian_raindrop1
Posted by EscGamer

I'm happy to see Tim return to his roots and I am hoping he is written as the detective that he rightfully is. That being said I am so glad this is weekly because the anticipation of wanting to read the next issue after reading an issue is killing me >.<

Posted by Lvenger

@jonny_anonymous: Oh I couldn't agree more Jonny boy :P One of the reasons why Batman comics work so well is because Gotham itself is fleshed out so much as a city and what its citizens feel as well. Metropolis hasn't had that same level of development, at least not as of late. The examples you picked are solid choices of where a weekly Superman series could delve into the inner workings of Metropolis and the background stuff behind the main Superman adventures. Whilst I understand why DC have chosen the weekly series they have, I don't see why a Superman weekly couldn't be put into play given that he is their secondary source of revenue.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@dkmark96: Well there is Intergang.

@lvenger said:

@jonny_anonymous: Oh I couldn't agree more Jonny boy :P One of the reasons why Batman comics work so well is because Gotham itself is fleshed out so much as a city and what its citizens feel as well. Metropolis hasn't had that same level of development, at least not as of late. The examples you picked are solid choices of where a weekly Superman series could delve into the inner workings of Metropolis and the background stuff behind the main Superman adventures. Whilst I understand why DC have chosen the weekly series they have, I don't see why a Superman weekly couldn't be put into play given that he is their secondary source of revenue.

Yea I think Metropolis is full of great characters and your could even touch on some contemporary ideas like them trying to build the worlds first true Smart City and how social media affects it. They should probably wait till Lobdel is gone before they get there writers roster together tho lol

Posted by iaconpoint

I much prefer a weekly book to 15 different books a month. Very excited about this and we only have to wait 7 days for the next installment.

Posted by kilowog52

@transformers1024: I really liked what Tynion did on RHatO. The mindwiping part did sort of deserve a "WTF" response, but in the climactic issue when its purpose was revealed, I thought it was much less of an issue. And I think he did have a lengthy run and where he stopped was the perfect spot for a change in creative teams. And I also believe the Isabelle thing was the logical move. Sort of tying up loose ends.

Posted by AmazingWebHead

@cobramorph said:

@amazingwebhead said:

Hmmm...villain who was never in this kind of story, only Steph knows how to stop it...

...Aw crap, please tell me it's not Cluemaster!

Either him or Black Mask. In fact, maybe she's evil in the new52 & is Black Mask's girlfriend. Or his "Harley". Afterall Spoiler does wear a black mask.

I can't tell if you're being serious or not, (remember Thundercats?) but if that does happen I just hope she doesn't stay evil.

Posted by entropy_aegis

Was a bit bummed with the Falcone reveal.Batman stories have always been about escalation,Falcone is a relic of the past,there are far more dangerous villains running around.

Will someone please get Tynion the hell away from Jason Todd?! He almost butchered him in his run on Red Hood on the Outlaws. In only one arc he managed to put Jason and Bruce against each other (again) right after they patched everything up. Wiped his memory for a near pointless reason. Then he wrote off Isabel, who was the only love interest Jason has had in years and would have progressed his character development. But nooooo he went and screwed it all up.

And right when he leaves RHatO, he says he's going to be working with him on Eternal...

His Zero Year backups and Talon series were great though.

Posted by MannEffest
Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I wasn't going to get it because I didn't know if I could commit to a weekly but I wanted a good Batman story so I changed my mind. I got bored with the main Batman story so I needed to be able to read one about him. I like it so far, I wasn't expecting Carmine, I was thinking Black Mask, but that was just a loose guess. I hope it continues to be good...

@g_man when you said spoilers, I was thinking for Batman Eternal, not the Long Halloween! That's next on my list and now it's ruined! Kind of like the butthole on eBay spoiled Invincible 110 for me before I got to read it!

Posted by G-Man

@g_money_christmas: Yeah, LONG HALLOWEEN was out in 96. I wouldn't consider that a spoiler. It was about Carmine being here.

Staff
Posted by ScarletBatman

@g_man said:

@g_money_christmas: Yeah, LONG HALLOWEEN was out in 96. I wouldn't consider that a spoiler. It was about Carmine being here.

Indeed. There's an expiration date on Spoiler Warnings and gosh darn it, 1996 is definitely well past due. :)

Posted by Ladyonora

I love this series and I am so glad it's weekly because I would not stand waiting month to month for these issues to come out.

I think it's fantastic that the Falcones are being reintroduced into the continuity. As much as I love the big villains, it's nice to see stories that involve real world criminals, and how Batman deals with them. The Long Halloween is my favorite book I've read so far for this reason.

In addition, as someone who has only been seriously involved in comics for only a few years, many of the characters that are being introduced are only names to me. At first it seemed overwhelming to add this book to my pull list; I honestly didn't think id be able to keep up with so much story. However, the first two issues as well as this interview really show that this is going to be a massive story that will be very well written. I can't wait to see how the writers introduce each character and play out the story as whole.

Posted by Dstick88

I am beyond excited to continue reading this.

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