Late last week we sat down and spoke to BATMAN AND ROBIN writer Peter Tomasi about everything from what it's like writing Batman, to whether there really will be a death in 'Death of the Family.' And although Tomasi was a pretty tough interview, he did give us a little bit of insight into his current series as well as the present story arc taking up the Batman universe. Check out the full interview below as well as some pages from the upcoming BATMAN AND ROBIN #15, due to hit comic store shelves on December 12th, 2012.
Comic Vine: Do you have to get into a different frame of mind in order to write Batman the "Dad" in BATMAN AND ROBIN?
Peter Tomasi: No, not really. Actually being a father and the father of a 9-year old son, it's a 24/7 job so I'm always in that "father-mode," so it's very for me. If I'm writing GREEN LANTERN CORPS and then I go to BATMAN AND ROBIN it's very easy to switch into "Father-mode."== TEASER ==
CV: In the past you've written Robin and you've written Nightwing, how is writing Damian different for you?
PT: Well, Damian is just a completely different character. He is just cut from a whole different cloth. Damian is obviously the son of Talia and with Bruce being his father in blood, there's just a whole different dynamic in regards to his personality, his perspective on life and the way he was brought up -- it was just all so distinct and different from Dick, Tim and Jason. It's just night and day to be able to look at it and say, Damian as a child, as a young kid was put through so many rigorous and intense scenarios to be this "Warrior King" was the way his Mother was looking at it when she was raising him early on that it just…there's just a different DNA in the character [in comparison to other Robins]. He's a blast to write. Him just being that type of character has just been really interesting to write. I love the drama playing off of Bruce and what Bruce's morals and beliefs are.
CV: Now, Batman has been second-guessing his decision to have Damian be his Robin a lot lately, particularly in issue #14 of BATMAN AND ROBIN as well as in BATMAN, INC. Is this mostly because Damian is his biological son, or is it because of Jason's past, or the bounty…?
PT: It's really a combination of everything you said. Knowing Talia has the bounty on his head, the history of the jokes that Joker has played on Robins in the past, he just doesn't want to put his own flesh and blood in the path of an oncoming Joker-train, so to speak. He knows that it's tempting fate to allow Damian to get in Joker's sights. He does everything he can as a father to prevent his son from getting in harms way. Obviously they go out every night on patrol, and there's an element of putting Robin or Damian in harms way every knight during their crime-fighting, but Joker is just a whole other "ball of wax. " There's even that recent moment in Grant's run where Joker and Robin had a little "meeting of the minds." So he knows there's just so much history between Joker and Robin, and he can't put his son in that kind of danger so he does what he can to just lessen the odds.
CV: …But he still justifies having him as his Robin…?
PT: Yeah no, it's one of those catch-22's. You know, you got to give that up. I mean, why even let a 10-year old run around with him? But Damian is obviously a super trained soldier, really. He's got all these skills not even older Robins even had. If anything, this Robin has a better skill-set and approach than prior Robins. Not that it justifies putting a kid in danger, but, it's a comic book and it's called BATMAN AND ROBIN, so you've got to have them jumping around the rooftops.
CV: In the preview for BATMAN AND ROBIN #15, Damian, against Bruce's wishes, goes off and investigates Alfred's abduction and what we see in that last image is Damian at the Gotham Zoo and a bunch of hyenas eating something and then he says, "Oh Alfred!" So, we have to ask, is Alfred being eaten by a bunch of hyenas?
PT: Well, I can try to answer, but that would ruin page six! (Laughs) No, but Alfred is obviously in the hands of the Joker and anything can happen as we've seen with all of Scott's stuff. So it's kind of like walking on the edge of a thin razor. One of the things we're trying to do is take away people's preconceptions and let people know that sometimes what you expect to happen isn't going to happen. We're going to maybe throw you for a loop, not to just throw you for a loop, but to really take you down some different paths that we want to go down. So it's a pretty horrific moment when Damian is out looking for Alfred, and we're hoping that of course whoever is in that cage is not Alfred…but I guess we will find out in few days, right? (Laughs)
CV: You guys have been hinting that Alfred might be the "Death" in the Death of the Family story-arc, but with the five-hundred million dollar bounty on his head, is it possible Damian might be the death?
PT: Anything can happen in the world of Batman, so it's anybody's guess at this point especially with the word "death" in the title.
CV: So will there be a death in the family?
PT: I think a lot of people are getting too literal also, they should look at what the title says too. There are different ways we are approaching it.
CV: So it could be a metaphorical "death of the family"?
PT: It could be, and it could not be, and it could be both! (Laughs)
CV: What can you tell us about Joker's connection to The Saturn Club?
PT: I actually address that in issue #15. Robin will specifically say "what the hell was the point of the Saturn Club," and Joker will have a particularly nasty answer for him.
CV: So this is the last we've seen of the Saturn Club?
PT: For the moment, yes. That whole big action-packed finale was the end of the Saturn Club, for now.
CV: Well thanks for your time, Mr. Tomasi!
PT: No problem and feel free to tout the artistic talents of Pat Gleason and Mick Gray because their work is nothing short of amazing and I'm privileged to have them working with me on a book like this.