NYCC 2013: Scott Snyder details ‘Batman: Zero Year,’ ‘Eternal’

Oct. 11, 2013 | 10:47 p.m.
bm wk cv1 color reduced NYCC 2013: Scott Snyder details Batman: Zero Year, Eternal

"Batman: Eternal" is a yearlong, weekly series launching April 9. (Jason Fabok / DC Entertainment)

bm cv25 NYCC 2013: Scott Snyder details Batman: Zero Year, Eternal

"Batman" No. 25, by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, is set for a Nov. 13 release. Cover art by Capullo. (DC Comics)

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Art for "Batman" No. 25, Page 3 shows a city on fire, which Scott Snyder said will happen. Artist Greg Capullo said he loves getting to do pages like this -- "I didn't have to draw anything for the middle of that page." (DC Comics)

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"Detective Comics" No. 24, which came out earlier this month, is by writer John Layman and artist Jason Fabok, with cover art by Fabok. (DC Comics)

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"Catwoman" No. 24, by writer Ann Nocenti and artists Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarrogona, will be released Oct. 23. Cover art by Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson. (DC Comics)

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"Red Hood and the Outlaws" No. 24, by writer James Tynion IV and artists Julius Gopez and Ray McCarthy. Cover art by Stephen Segovia. (DC Comics)

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"Talon" No. 12, by writer James Tynion IV and artist Emanuel Simioni, will be released Oct. 23. Cover art by Ken Hunt. (DC Comics)

When it comes to revealing “Batman” details at convention panels, the title’s bestselling, Eisner Award-winning writer Scott Snyder can’t help himself.

And he had plenty to share at DC’s Bat-family books panel Friday at New York Comic Con. The panel also covered the just-announced “Batman: Eternal” 2014 weekly series — for which Snyder is “show runner” — that marks the Dark Knight’s 75th anniversary year.

“Listen, I’ve been on panels with this guy where he’s reading the dialogue from the script,” Greg Capullo, his artist-partner on the chart-topper, said to crowd laughter. “I go, ‘What is he doing?’ … Stay away from Scott Snyder unless you’ve already purchased the book.”

The writer, who’s also working on “Superman Unchained” and co-created “American Vampire,” was unveiling some goings-on from next month’s “Batman” No. 25, part of the earnest, enthusiastic team’s “Zero Year” event that details the Caped Crusader’s origin in the reality of the New 52.

So if you don’t want to know anything about what happens in next month’s No. 25, skip ahead to where it says SPOILERS FOR “BATMAN” NO. 25 OVER in bold.

“Batman” No. 25: Page 1 art | Page 3 art | Pages 4-5 art

And if you do want to know, here goes:

The Riddler, as readers saw in No. 24, has blacked out Gotham City, and there are efforts to repair the grid. Against the backdrop, the young Batman is trying to solve a case involving “a very, very old villain that we’ve reinvented in a way that I’m really, excited about,” Snyder said. Jim Gordon is also on the case, and the story is about the development of the relationship between the vigilante and the cop.

“They have this animosity,” Snyder said, “that should be really surprising, except that I’m spoiling it…. Essentially, Bruce is like, ‘You know why I hate you, Gordon.’ He’s like, ‘You’re the most corrupt, crooked villain in Gotham…. Because of what you did on the night my parents died, I’ll never forgive you, I’ll never work with you as Bruce Wayne, ever, ever. You are my mortal enemy.’… There’s a big mystery about what happened on the night his parents were killed in Crime Alley, and Gordon is really at the center of it.”

Art for "Batman" No. 25, Page 1. (DC Comics)

Art for “Batman” No. 25, Page 1. (DC Comics)

But, clarifying that they’d never do anything to upset the core of the characters, he added, “Don’t worry, Gordon didn’t shoot his parents. That’s not what I’m talking about. But what I am talking about is their relationship has a new and different foundation that I feel makes a stronger bond. Because what Bruce needs to learn is there’s something he doesn’t know about the night his parents were killed that really sheds light on who Gordon is in a different way.”

“Zero Year” is divided into three sections – “Secret City,” the present “Dark City” and the upcoming “Wild City,” Snyder said, with “Dark” being about “bones broken and reset, it’s about the city dying to be reborn in the third section … where you got a glimpse of it in 21, where you saw the city overgrown – maybe Poison Ivy has something to do with that … you’ll see her in 25, spoiler.”

Additional details: The issue opens with a line in the sand and a military convoy searching for someone and finding a door in the desert floor. Wayne lends the police blimps (in a nod to “Batman: The Animated Series”) to search for Batman. The new first Batmobile shows up (no image was displayed, but Capullo did make the sound the car would generate).

SPOILERS FOR “BATMAN” NO. 25 OVER, BUT WAIT – A ‘BATMAN: ETERNAL’ SPOILER

So, one little “Batman: Eternal” surprise: Stephanie Brown (in pre-New 52 times, known first as Spoiler, then a Robin, then a Batgirl) will be back “in a big way,” Snyder said, turning up in No. 3, in a manner thought up by “Eternal” collaborator James Tynion IV.

SPOILERS OVER

“Batman: Eternal,” written by a team including Snyder, Tynion (“Red Hood and the Outlaws,” “Talon”), Eisner winner John Layman (“Detective Comics,” “Chew”), Tim Seeley (“Revival”) and Ray Fawkes (“Constantine,” “Justice League Dark”). Tynion said they “cracked the world [of Gotham] open” to see what all they could explore. And Snyder promised “the nuttiest, craziest, biggest, game-changing-est stuff for the status quo because you guys deserve that, we feel, for the 75th anniversary, in a way that honors everything that came before but gives you stuff that’s shocking and new.”

The panel covered many Bat-books, with plenty of talents on hand.

Next up in “Batman and …” (Robin, the second part of the title, having died), it’s “Batman and Two-Face” in No. 24, coming out Wednesday. Writer Peter Tomasi and artist Pat Gleason are handling that classic foe’s New 52 origin, and will start with the moment Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face, and then jump back. The issue will introduce a new character named Erin McKillen, and Tomasi said the five-issue arc will explore the dualities of multiple characters – Batman, Alfred, Dent, McKillen. On the first page, “We see everybody in very subtle ways … covered in a half-shadow.” In his New 52 past, Dent was first a defense lawyer before joining the district attorney’s office as “a cool way to explore Harvey’s duality,” Tomasi said.

"Detective Comics" No. 24, which came out earlier this month, is by writer John Layman and artist Jason Fabok, with cover art by Fabok. (DC Comics)

“Detective Comics” No. 24, which came out earlier this month, is by writer John Layman and artist Jason Fabok, with cover art by Fabok. (DC Comics)

Layman said he wanted his and artist Jason Fabok’s “Detective Comics” No. 24 to be “Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, but not terrible,” to laughs. Though the team’s run on the title has often focused on Batman’s analytical side, in this one the team “just wanted to blow things up,” he said. Then, in No. 25, a “Zero Year” tie-in, there’s a Gordon-centric “good, tough cop story” with him trying to solve a mystery.

“Batwoman” is now in the hands of writer Marc Andreyko, who has a “Zero Year” tie-in showing Kate returning to Gotham from West Point because of a family tragedy in a story that has “the seeds of the woman who become Batwoman,” he said. Then, a new arc starting in No. 26 will reintroduce a classic villain.

The just-released “Nightwing” No. 24 is the culmination of Dick Grayson’s first big adventure in Chicago, where he recently moved from Gotham. It involves the New 52 version of the Prankster, who writer Kyle Higgins described as a cross between Jigsaw from the “Saw” movies and a hacker, and reveals his motives and parallels with Nightwing’s story. An annual coming this month will have Dick visiting Gotham to get the last of his stuff and goes out on the town with Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) one last time. A “Zero Year” tie-in will be “like a modern urban fantasy fairy tale … the dark alleys of Gotham are kind of like the equivalent of a haunted forest,” with the younger version of the character heading out to the movies and having trouble getting home.

Out Oct. 23, “Catwoman” No. 24 has Selina battling the Joker’s Daughter in the Gotham Underground. Writer Ann Nocenti said the way artist Rafa Sandoval drew the world below that city makes this his finest work and credited the book’s whole team for a collaborative effort on creating the city’s subterranean level. She also got to realize a personal desire: “I really wanted to give Catwoman a cat … so that was a thrilling thing for me, figuring out what kind of cat she would have.”

“Catwoman” No. 24: Cover | Page 1 art | Page 2 art | Page 3 art

Tynion said “Red Hood and the Outlaws” No. 24, with Jason Todd now in charge of the League of Assassins, reveals “who’s been behind the curtain the whole time pulling the strings” and how and why Jason lost his memory. “Then you have Lady Shiva riding ninja man-bats with spears down and killing people, so that’s pretty cool too.”

“Red Hood and the Outlaws” No. 24: Cover | Page 3 art | Page 6 art | Page 7 art | Page 14 art

And in “Talon” No. 12, with new artist Emanuel Simeoni, Calvin Rose returns to Gotham and works with Batman.

“Talon” No. 12:  Cover | Pages 2-3 art | Pages 4-5 art

But it’s “not a friendly team-up,” Tynion said.

New York Comic Con, with an expected crowd of 130,000, is the East Coast’s largest pop-culture expo. The four-day event continues at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan through Sunday.

– Blake Hennon | @BlakeHennon | @LATHeroComplex

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"Batgirl" No. 24, out Wednesday, is Part 2 of the "Batgirl: Wanted" arc. It is written by Gail Simone, with interior art by Fernando Pasarin and Jonathan Glapion. The cover art is by Alex Garner. (DC Comics)

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