This week's issue of Batman Beyond managed the challenge of being essentially one long fight scene...but without feeling abbreviated, fleeting or unimportant. Against the apocalyptic action was a story of Tim Drake feeling responsible for all that's gone wrong around him, and a frantic scramble on the part of himself and Barbara Gordon to figure out a way to turn the tide.
Oh...and a pretty kick-ass final-page twist.
Jurgens joined ComicBook.com to discuss the issue.
Remember that this is a spoiler-heavy interview. If you haven't yet read Batman Beyond #4, go buy a copy and read along with us.
OK, first thing -- there's a big twist at the end of this issue, which is kind of blown if you look carefully at the cover. Is there ever a thinking that youd' rather not do that or did you just kind of figure that the logo text would (and mostly did) protect the story beat there?
Oh, it was very, very intentional. We absolutely knew quite awhile ago how we were going to end the issue and wanted to preserve the surprise as much as we possibly could.
So the cover was engineered to connect to the end of the story without giving away the end of the story. Dan Panosian did a great job with the cover and really hit the nail on the head.
As a writer, your use of cinematic shots like the ones seen in pages 1-3 is well-documented in The Death of Superman. I've noticed it (although less obviously) in some of your other work as well. What do you think is so effective about that kind of pacing, on either a small (page) or large (story) scale?
In this case, it was a conscious effort because we were getting in Tim's head right away. That's why I opened up very tight on his eyes and then began to pull back. We start with Batman — Tim Drake — and the result of pulling back is that we're transitioning from his thoughts to the overall situation, which we see on pages 2 & 3. Bernard Chang did his typically fantastic job, giving me exactly the feeling I wanted the book to have.
This might be a question more for Bernard, but he's using the disparate art styles (the lack of coloring, more sketchy/Vertigo-influenced panels) very effectively here. It hasn't been this noticeable, I doin't think, since #1. How much of that is scripted, versus Bernard, versus Maiolo, whose work clearly plays a big role in crafting the look of this book?
You're right, that would be more of a question for Bernard. I wouldn't use the word "sketchy" though. It's really more of a conscious effort to convey the feel of what Gotham is at that moment: A city under assault with the chaos, rubble and wreckage to go along with it.
As you noted, Bernard and Marcelo Maiolo work very closely together in sculpting an appropriate and totally unified look for the book.
Tim hadn't, in my mind, really had to "prove himself" a lot in the early going. He was so obviously well-suited that he kind of got dumped into the deep end. Being Batman, though, is a different animal. Did you look back at some of the early Chuck Dixon stuff in crafting this?
I didn't look back at it but I certainly remember the way Chuck approached a young Tim. It was great stuff. And I think that's a core part of who he is.
So, yeah… I think Tim, who had already walked away from being a hero in order to basically tend bar, has something to prove. Mostly to himself, of course.
It isn't just about being Robin. It's about being BATMAN.
The people he's having to prove himself to are obviously twofold: whenever he makes a mistake, he's compared to Terry...which is something that the readers are likely doing as well in some cases. Was that an intentional parallel to draw?
100%. I'm having the character address the main concerns of some of the readers. It's a very natural way to do it and is consistent with who Tim is.
Is that "Let it Burrrrn" a The Dark Knight reference?
It wasn't! Wow…total coincidence!
Micron says "I've wondered if..." does that suggest he has a theory about some of the Leaguers we haven't yet seen?
Not necessarily. We'll explore Micron and what happened in issue #8.
This issue is making winks and nods to the current-day Bat titles everywhere, between Burnside getting a name-drop and...that other thing. How much collaboration do you do with that group to amke sure you can do a version of the future that jives with what they're creating?
We actually went to them with the "other thing" quite a bit a go because it was such a perfectly natural connection. But as part of the overall discussion and way of portraying Barbara Gordon, they actually suggested the Burnside idea. That's what a good, collaborative approach is all about.
Both Deanna and Inque show up this issue in potentially game-changing roles. Was it intentional to keep them cooling their heels a little bit last month, to give their appearances here a little more gravity?
In part, yes. We were just trying to get all the chess pieces on the proper squares in order to move forward at a faster pace, which we're really doing here.
Do you think that trying to live up to being Batman is helping Tim to contextualize why Bruce was such a jerk?
I wouldn't phrase it quite that way.
Tim understands that Bruce is the way he was because of his background.
His background is not at all the same. He was never as driven as Bruce was because he never was pulled into that deep, dark pit of loss.
To a certain extent, Tim Drake chose this lifestyle while the lifestyle, through tragedy, chose Bruce.
Is that a new take on the Batwing entering stage left?
No! That's THE Batmobile, almost exactly as portrayed in the Batman Beyond show. That was a very, very conscious decision on our part.0comments
It's fair to say that Tim has SEEN the 1.0 before, right? I mean, he was around during the DC You era becuase he didn't get propelled into the future until five years from now or whatever.
Absolutely. More on that next issue!