Last week, Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang brought the first story arc in their Batman Beyond to a close, with Tim Drake taking Jim Gordon's decades-old Bat-armor and going head to head against a walking, talking personification of Brother Eye that looked suspiciously like one of the OMACs from Infinite Crisis.
As ever, Jurgens joined us to talk about the issue, and what's next for the new, different Batman Beyond.
Remember that these "commentary track"-style interviews are spoiler-heavy and that if you haven't yet read Batman Beyond #6, you should pick it up at your local comic shop first or buy a copy digitally and read along with us.
So you've obviously dealt with intelligences like Brother Eye before, most notably with Henshaw. What differentiates Brother Eye from other threats with similar power sets, once he has a punchable face?
Brother Eye is the first one that actually succeeded.
True enough, Batman takes him down in this issue. But if you look at what Brother Eye actually accomplished, he certainly won for awhile. Earth has been changed— drastically— because of his action.
When you're writing a story in the future, where Batman is off the board, do you have an idea of what kind of failsafes Bruce has in place, or is it something where when the story demands one, you can take it case by case and see if something makes sense?
It’s a little bit of both.
I decided quite early that we’d want the Batcave to survive, for example. In addition to that, it would only stand to reason that he’d have put other failsafes into play as well, particularly in Gotham.
In a way, that’s what Tim and the other Robins always were, even if Bruce might not have realized it himself— a type of failsafe to carry on his mission.
Will we see Inque again? Obviously she was left in a kind of hopeless situation there, but her power set makes her pretty durable.
Time will tell! Yeah, she has great power.
But does anyone really come back from that?
Again -- you've made creative use of the JLA Transporters in the past, too. Doomsday was trapped in one for a while! What is it about such a basic tool of the kind of superhero armory that makes you want to turn it on its ear a bit?
I think it’s the general idea that the existence of these transporters makes everything so easy.
Wouldn’t there be other uses far beyond the idea of getting from point A to point B?
I mean, in a society that generally loathes the rich because they have something the rest of us don’t, wouldn’t people hate the JLA for having transporters and keeping it for themselves?
And, like many types of technology that started out with peaceful uses, couldn’t transporters be used as strategic weapons? That was my thought with Doomsday, way back when, and why I fend them to be fertile ground for stories today.
Is it just me, or when a bad guy brags about being worse than Darkseid, do you just KNOW he's not going to survive the issue?
One way or another, Darkseid wins!
Did you have to talk to the current Bat-teams to figure out just what the suit can and can't do?
Yes, we did. They’re a great bunch to work with and we wanted to do everything we could to be true to the parameters they established.
7) I'm interested in the fact that Tim just can't seem to make friends anywhere. Deanna gives him the same guilt trip that Matt did at the start of this arc. Is living up to expectations going to continue to be one of his big challenges?
First of all, that’s a bit of a theme with Tim as a person. I think we’ve established that he has a hard time living up to his own expectations of what he should be.
I’ve always thought that’s an under explored aspect of being a hero. We frequently see that it’s almost impossible for politicians, leaders, sports stars and others to live up to expectations. Should superheroes be any different? Are they really devoid of self doubt?
In many ways, BATMAN BEYOND as a title reflects Tim’s quest to become Batman. Is that vaunted name beyond his capability and grasp or not?
8) What can you tease about the upcoming arc? Obviously as we head out of this storyline, it seems like Brother Eye is off the table for a bit, so what kind of threats will Team Batman be facing?
In our next arc we’ll start exploring other aspects of Neo-Gotham as it rebuilds and its relationship with the rest of the world. Because it’s relatively intact, Gotham is something of a shining beacon.
We’ll also explore the relationship between Matt and Tim. With Terry gone, does Tim step in as a big brother figure? Or will Matt continue to hold a grudge against Tim for wearing his brother’s suit?
And, of course, we have bad guys, including a very interesting bunch that will be found in Metropolis, a city that’s vastly different than the golden city it once was.