Writer extraordinaire Scott Snyder has come a long way since his days working as a custodian at Disney World. Perhaps best known for an acclaimed and definitive run on Batman starting with Detective Comics that eventually led to him penning the main Batman book as part of the New 52 relaunch, Snyder has become a key player in shaping the current DC Universe.
Last year, Snyder and artist Greg Capullo launched Dark Nights: Metal, DC’s big summer event miniseries and possibly Snyder’s most ambitious project in recent years. Having proven his mettle, Snyder is now helming DC’s premiere superhero team Justice League, which hit shelves with a new first issue just last month. It’s safe to assume that Snyder is a busy guy, yet a few weeks ago he took the time to appear at a signing at Barnes & Noble Union Square following a discussion moderated by New York Times journalist George Gustines. Snyder was more than willing to spoil future plot points from his future DC universe stories and The Beat was there to relay some of the interesting tidbits that he shared.
Above all else, Snyder stressed that intent of Metal was to craft an escapist tale that hearkened back to the morality tales of the comic events that he enjoyed in his youth. Rather than simple popcorn entertainment, Snyder wanted to incorporate a personal message regarding these troubled times, chiefly that in order to escape his nightmares, Batman requires the lunacy of comics. Metal then becomes a meta narrative on the escapist nature of comics to help people work through the current growing problems of the world.
Looking to the future, Snyder is ready to close his tenure on Batman with the upcoming Batman: Last Knight on Earth OGN from DC’s recently announced Black Label imprint. Some may recall that artist Sean Gordon Murphy was slated to draw Snyder’s final Batman storyline as a continuation of the All-Star Batman book in the new prestige format. However, it was only fitting that Snyder’s last go (for now!) with the Caped Crusader come full circle with Greg Capullo as he elaborated on Twitter.
This book is a project I've been planning for several years, something that'd need a new different format. @Sean_G_murphy and I had talked about doing it together, but the truth is, we both felt any last Batman story should be done w brother @gregcapullo. And the fact is 1/3
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) March 8, 2018
Beyond the previously released info such as a Batman journeying across a futuristic landscape accompanied by Joker’s living head in a jar, Snyder revealed that the highly-anticipated story opens with Batman waking up in Arkham Asylum 20 years after killing his parents. If that doesn’t pique your interest I don’t know what else will! Snyder divulged advice he received from former Batman writer Grant Morrison who told Snyder that he needed to come up with a “birth” and “death” for the Dark Knight. With Snyder’s “Zero Year” storyline redefining Batman’s origin and serving as a “birth,” it was only logical that Last Knight act as “death” for Snyder’s Batman run.
Although Snyder is giving up the reigns of Batman, he’s not saying goodbye completely to the character who still plays a major role in his current Justice League book. If you thought Metal was larger than life, Snyder promises to go bigger with JL which continues the seeds of stories already planted that will culminate in 2019 thanks to the 40+ issues DC contracted him to write and the double monthly shipping schedule. Among the book’s team roster is Martian Manhunter, a fan-favorite due for a comeback, whom Snyder describes as the most empathetic and compassionate member of the League. Manhunter ties in nicely with the larger theme of Snyder’s JL book wherein thanks to the events of Metal, the DC heroes realize the world is a scarier place than they suspected, again like Metal is meant to reflect the real world. The belief that since darkness and consuming others is the universe’s true nature we should embrace it instead of denying it, is epitomized in Snyder’s portrayal of Lex Luthor and the latest incarnation of the Legion of Doom. Standing in opposition to that is the Justice League, particularly the aforementioned Martian Manhunter, who seek to create a new and better system and ideal to inspire others.
An important facet of Snyder’s JL book is the new Hall of Justice headquarters, which may appear at first glance to be a mere nostalgia throwback but is Snyder’s attempt to reconnect the League closer with mankind. In Snyder’s opinion, the JL is the heart and soul of the DCU and their headquarters have mirrored their purpose throughout their comics history. For instance, the League during Morrison’s run was meant to be a larger than life pantheon of heroes, so the team’s Watchtower base was on the moon. Thus, Snyder’s desire to reposition the Justice League as “Your Heroes” ties in perfectly with the new Hall of Justice Headquarters.
During the discussion, Snyder teased things to come in his JL run including a budding friendship between Batman and the villainous Starro. The alien starfish made a brief appearance in Metal and was killed off in Justice League: No Justice #3. Of course, this being comics no character ever truly stays dead and when next we see Starro, he’ll be fun sized and contained in a jar by Batman. Between this and Joker head in Last Knight, one can’t help but notice a reoccurring motif.
In issue #6 readers can look forward to Batman in a full body cast fighting and defeating the Legion of Doom single-handedly. Because of his serious demeanor, Snyder finds that Batman is pure comedy gold when played as the straight man of the League. I can’t help but be reminded of how the late/great Dwayne McDuffie wrote Batman in his own Justice League stories, especially his final DC Animated movie Justice League: Doom, an underrated classic which gave us this golden moment.