EXCLUSIVE - D.I.C.E. 2013 Report - Snyder & Capullo reveal plans for Batman in Zero Year
by Paul (ral)

Team Batman - Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Becky Cloonan - visited Ireland this past weekend for the Dublin International Comic Expo (D.I.C.E). 

During the Batman panel discussion, Scott Snyder revealed:

  • Court of Owls are to return in another "Bat-book" this year
  • Lincoln March will return this year in "a big way"
  • Elements from "Gates of Gotham" will show up in Zero Year soon
  • Why they feel issue 24 is their best work yet!

The organisers of D.I.C.E (The Big Bang comic store) will be posting videos of the convention and panels soon (including lots of chat from Capullo and Cloonan) but we have some transcribed highlights here, including some revelations about the on-going "Zero Year" story arc. 

Image property of Loren De Guzman

Scott has been writing Batman stories for almost 3 years now - from Detective Comics' "The Black Mirror" storyline, to "Gates of Gotham" with Kyle Higgins and now the entire New 52 Batman series with Greg and Becky providing the amazing art.

As expected, there was huge fan demand for them over the 2 day event - with their planned "Batman panel" talk having to be held twice!


Zero Year started in Batman #21. The first chapter entitled "Secret City" gave us a Bruce tackling the Red Hood gang in his pre-Batman phase. About plans for the rest of "Zero Year" Scott said:

"The next section is called Dark City where The Riddler has done something to the city to really transform it into this kind of nightmarish black place. There's a villain in it that's a reinterpretation of a classic villain that I'm really excited to show you. There's blimps over the city like the animated series. There are a lot of homages in it. It is really about his relationship with Commissioner Gordon. Gordon has a whole new history. I'm really proud of it. It's not something that’s radically different, but its something that you've never seen. Who's Gordon in Chicago? Does anyone know? No, we've never seen it. Where was Gordon if he was in Gotham on the night that Bruce's parents were shot in Crime Alley? All of that stuff is in this section. I'm really proud of it. It's the beating heart of Zero Year.

The third section which you got a glimpse of in issue 21 is the city transformed again into this almost "I am Legend" prehistoric post-apocalyptic crazy place where Batman is this bad-ass survivalist - which you've never seen before...Batman literally climbing vines into buildings. I wanted this to be his first year - the Legend forms in the dark. The second section is the bones of the city being broken and re-grown in new ways. This third section is about the wild primal city being reborn with all these blossoms and stuff bursting through as Batman comes to be who you expect him to be...in a new way.

So Zero Year is a lot of fun. It's 3 big chapters. Each one is kind of fast paced."

On Batman #24 (due out in just over a week) Scott divulged:

"The slowest and most contemplative stuff just happened (Secret City). Once he becomes Batman in issue 24, which is probably my favourite issue that we've done. To me it's the summation of Zero Year. He's got a new costume, new Batmobile, a new look as Bruce which is incredibly badass. Everything about it to me is young and modern - as if he formed today. When I was growing up Year One perfectly crystallized the things I was afraid of then - gangs, urban decay, I couldn't go to Times Square, I wasn't allowed to go to Central Park or ride the subways. What we're trying to do with Zero Year is bring Batman into the modern age and show him forming in a city that's representative of the kind of fears we have now.

I'm more proud of this story than anything we've done on Batman. It's an honour to get to touch the origin and bedrock of the mythology and I want to say thanks to you too for trusting us with it because we're pouring everything we have into it.

What Bruce needs to learn in the first arc is that he has earn back his parents death. “Their death may be meaningless but their lives were full of meaning and I am the result of that and I'm here to tell you that you're nothing but a common criminal and instead everyone in Gotham should look to me, this crazy mad knight.” He's an insane version of the pinnacle of human achievement, which is almost impossible...the guy who's the best detective, best at karate, best inventor. And he stands up there and says if I can become this twisted amazing pathological strange thing - you can be what you want to be and don't listen to them."

When asked how this origin differs from others explored - when Batman has been in some way responsible for the villains that plague Gotham - Scott explained:

"Riddler sees Batman, as the does the Red Hood leader, and says in some way "You've evolved: we can evolve with you to become things more than ourselves". But he [Batman] doesn't really bring the freaks to Gotham. The idea is he's standing up and saying "no matter what happens in Gotham you can be what you need to be and I can show you that by defeating these crazy people in some way.”

He has to become a bigger symbol of 'meaning' than they are of 'meaninglessness'."

Scott on Alfred's new role as a mentor to Bruce:

"Alfred is a big part of the whole story [Zero Year] where it is all about Alfred telling Bruce "You disrespect the legacy of your parents". And I think this is where our Batman differs from Miller's. To me, Bruce Wayne being a cad and champagne drinking playboy dishonours the legacy of his parents. His parents were altruists and civically minded. They set up schools and his dad got his hands dirty every night being a doctor in a city hospital. To then go out and be a playboy is then disrespectful so I see Bruce differently. Alfred is the one that needs to teach him that in the first arc."

When asked if Damian's death had any influence on the resolution of Death of the Family Scott responded:

"We knew from the moment we stepped onto Batman that he [Grant Morrison] was going to kill Damian. It was in his original outline for his whole run. It wasn't a question of "he's going to do that, we shouldn't do what we're going to do". We knew that from before we went into Death of the Family. I did think his [Grant] issue was going to happen a month of two later. It was an odd coincidence and not his fault at all that they came closer together. In that way I didn't want people to think we weren't killing someone because Damian died the next month, but that said those were plans that were confluent from the beginning and there's nobody that's been nicer to me - or more supportive - internally on Batman than Grant."

The Court of Owl's were a massive kick off to Batman in the New 52 and Scott promised they will return very soon in a big way:

"They're going to be mentioned in issue 24, and you're going to see a little bit about the Owls but there's actually going to be a really big storyline coming up with the Owls in another Bat-book, that's not Talon, this year! You're going to see a lot of things coming this year actually. Pay attention to the announcement at this years New York Comic-Con. They're going to announce a lot of big Bat-things for the anniversary next year and you'll see a lot of your favourite villains take center stage."

Will we see more of Lincoln March (who claimed to be Bruce's younger brother in Batman #11)? According to Scott:

"That character is coming back this year in a big way. Part of the joy is getting to bring him back in a fun way."

Is the character of Harper Row going to be the next Robin? Scott isn't saying, but he did say:

"There isn't some crazy plan to say "She is" or "Damian is coming back". They are still up in the air about what you guys want, so what I would say is if you guys want someone to be Robin - be vocal about it! I love Harper. She means a tremendous amount to me and we have plans for her before any of that might even happen. But they [DC] listen to you. So if you want someone to be Robin...you say."

One of my favoourite Batman stories in recent years has been "Gates of Gotham" which Scott co-wrote with Kyle Higgins (writer on Nightwing). When asked if we will see a visit back to that storyline or characters Scott said:

"I wanted to build on it [Gates of Gotham] a lot before the New 52. One of the things I'm interested in is the history of Gotham because it changes to be what it needs to be. There is Gotham history coming up in Zero Year where you learn things about the past in Gotham that end up terrorizing Bruce in the next section. There will be references to the Gates Brothers and references to the stuff in that story. [Gotham] can be what you need it to be - and not because you don't want to create a firm continuity, but because it needs to be fluid. That was the whole point of the Court of Owls. Batman prides himself on knowing Gotham better than anybody. You can never know all the lives that were lived there and the city is always haunted by that. That idea is in a lot of what we're doing in Zero Year too - which began in Gates of Gotham."


Masses of thanks have to go to The Big Bang store in Dundrum, Ireland (visit their website - http://thebigbang.ie) for putting on the event and giving us fans a unique opportunity to meet writers and artists in such an open way. 

I really can't find the words to express enough gratutide to the artists and writers for the effort they put into meeting the fans and giving each and everyone such gracious and focused attention. True gentlemen and women. Meeting Scott and Greg was really something special.

Among the many other artists to appear was the incredible Sean Gordon Murphy, who is currently working with Snyder on Vertigo's "The Wake" (excellent btw).

Murphy also recently provided art for the new run of Batman: Black and White (issue 1). I asked Sean how that came about:

"I was working on other stuff at DC and Mark [Chiarello] the editor approached me about working on Black and White."

Mark Chiarello is the Art Director at DC Comics, so I asked if it was different working for an editor who was also the Art Director: "Oh yeah. Mark let's you do your thing".

Sean also told me that he will be providing a back-up in Batman soon...so look out for that!

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