The next Batman 'event' is coming and, surprisingly, we don't know a whole lot about it. Batman: Zero Year is said to be an origin of sorts for Batman. While we do know about that one defining moment in Crime Alley and have seen a few random moments in Bruce Wayne's life before we became a crimefighter, we don't exactly know what happened right before he actually put on a costume. DC has decided to give us that story and put Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on the job.
We had spoken to Snyder back in March and he kept a lot under wraps. We had the chance to speak with Snyder and Capullo this time in order to try to find out more.
Comic Vine: We'll see how much you guys will be able to answer.
Greg Capullo: Nothing! This interview has concluded!
Comic Vine: Okay, thanks a lot.
CV: How does Zero Year start? Will the first page immediately begin in the past or will it be a giant flashback?
Scott Snyder: Well it starts in a way that we want you to open it up and say, "What am I looking at? This is crazy." We don't want it to be something where you open it up and it's Bruce returning to Gotham and the pearls or the street lamp or anything like that. We want it to announce that it's a different take on that story that we're doing for you guys. Hopefully it's something that's really fun and out there. I don't want to give away how it starts specifically but that's the idea of the opening.
GC: It's just going to break all preconceptions of what this is about.
CV: I'm intrigued. Will we finally find out about Philip Kane and any other members of the Kane family?
SS: Yes, you will. I'll give that away. You'll learn about Philip and the history of the Kane family and its relationship to the Wayne family in the first part of the story.
CV: Are we going to see a noticeable difference in the Gotham from six years ago compared to today?
GC: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And more yes. The landscapes that I'm drawing, the settings, everything is so vastly different from what I've bee drawing up until this point. It's almost like starting over again for me back in September 2011 with the New 52 relaunch. It's like everything was getting fluid and I was just banging it all out and it's all reset. So we're back to square one but it's all exciting stuff. It's going to be a thrill ride. It's very very different.
SS: Yeah! There's a big reason you'll see in the first issue. They argue about it, him and Alfred. It's mean to be sort of about why he's decided to do that and set up shop in Crime Alley and fight his war from there. Also why he sort of refused to go back to the manor and all that stuff.
CV: BATMAN #0 also showed Bruce had already built up an arsenal, will we find out how he managed that?
SS: Yup! Definitely. That's part of the back up in the second issue.
CV: Will we see other supporting characters like Jim Gordon?
SS: Yes. Jim Gordon has a big role.
CV: Greg, Is there some freedom in drawing the characters and Gotham six years ago or are you restricted because of where things have to eventually end up?
GC: It's fun stuff. It's a bit of a challenge to make Bruce look only a few years younger. It's not like we're turning him back into a teenager, which is easy, right? It's a fun challenge in doing that. And you have to modify your personality. You're not the same guy you were five years ago or ten years ago. You're constantly changing. Some of your core mannerism may be in tact but there's a different flavor on it. Bruce is far less controlled and calculated. He's kind of like an angry puppy with big feet so he trips over them once in a while. It's all fun to explore an earlier version of that character. I wouldn't say it's limiting at all.
CV: Issues 19 & 20 sort of had a different feel since so much of the action took place during the daytime. Are we going to see more action during the day?
GC: As an artist, it's a bitch, right? You can't put any shadows around. Everything has to be drawn cleanly.
SS: I'll make it really gray in the next issue.
GC: Yeah, because Scott and I always go to eleven. We're like Spinal Tap, baby.
SS: I don't know why or what kind of strange symbolic value that number has.
CV: Will this story answer some of the questions fans have had about the Batman timeline in the New 52?
SS: Some but I just want to make it clear that's not the purpose of the project. The purpose is really that DC approached us and said, "Batman doesn't have an origin in the New 52. He's one of the few characters that we haven't done that with." Wonder Woman and Superman with ACTION COMICS and Aquaman and all of these characters have had their origins sort of re-done. Martian Manhunter and Cyborg. Batman is really the only one we've stayed away from when you look at the actual math of it, the way James Jr. would be six-years-old, Selina Kyle is no longer who she was in YEAR ONE. Jim Gordon has a different origin. The Falcones have a different origin. All that stuff means that YEAR ONE couldn't have happened the way that we read it. When DC came and said, "We need an origin for him" and we had this big idea, this different story you haven't seen with a really different tone. The idea is, if we're going to do it, we might as well do something that's going to be fun and our own. If we're going to be writing this story that's essentially so sacred and do it in a way you haven't seen before the matters to us, it has to inform you about the Batman you've been watching in our series.
As far was what you asked, you are going to learn some stuff about the time line but the project isn't about making sure you understand why Damian is the age that he was and how different Robins came about and that stuff. That's not the goal of it. The goal of it is to try to give you something that's big, fun and your own and big and modern because there wasn't anything there, in terms of the origin for Batman in the New 52.
CV: I know you probably can't give specifics but will Batman's first look be different from what we've seen in the New 52? Will it be less armored?
SS: I would say…yes, it's going to be different. You're going to see new Bat-suits designed by Greg which are awesome. There's a new Batmobile, new tech, new gear…all of it.
CV: Is the entire story going to take place in the Gotham area or will we see other locations set six years ago?
SS: We like Gotham. We're pretty local.
CV: I'm just trying to get whatever I can out of you guys.
SS: I know.
GC: We're both dying to say more. We want to spill it all, but obviously we can't.
CV: Anything else you want to add?
GC: I want to say this, my brother Scott is quite nervous about this project that he's undertaken. [laughter] He's very nervous that all of you out there…some of you out there may not be so accepting. So I just want to tell you, keep an open mind. Scott has poured so much love and passion into this story. We're all resistant to change but what Scott has laid out is just so much fun. If you just keep an open mind and don't compare it to… this other thing. Let go of that and judge it on its own merits. I guarantee you're gonna love it. That's it.
SS: Thanks Greg. Yeah, I am really nervous about it. It's definitely caused a lot of sleepless nights. But at the end of the day, when you know that there isn't something there for Batman's origin and you have an idea that sort of approaches all the things you've been doing in your own work and address why he is the way he is and this is what he means to us and you don't do it, I feel like you're doing a bigger disservice to the fans and the readers. You have to try it. I hope everybody out there understands this wasn't a project where we decided we were going to take down the origin that exists but instead we were asked to do an origin because one wasn't in place that could exist in the 52. It became about telling the best story that we could the would be the most fun. It's something that we really care deeply about. I think it's the best thing we've done so far. In that way, I want you guys to understand it was never a project saying, oh let's take apart the origin that exists and do something different. It was about Batman's really the last character in the 52, or one of the few characters that hasn't had his origin explained.
Zero Year begins in BATMAN #21, on sale June 12, 2013.