NYCC Panel Recap: Batman: The Bat-Universe

Written By Anthony Toto

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This is quite the era to be a Batman fan; there has never been such a diverse amount of content related to Gotham’s “Dark Knight” in his 76-year history. Look no further than DC’s “Batman: The Bat-Universe” panel at New York Comic Con. This panel featured the highly talented Batman creative team of Greg Capullo, Amy Chu, Tom King, Khary Randolph, Tim Seeley, Scott Snyder, Peter Tomasi, and James Tynion IV.

While “Batman: The Bat-Universe” might sound somewhat nostalgic; this was very much an exclusive look into the “New Adventures of Batman” (pardon my reference). It almost sounds impossible in theory but how many characters could still evolve after 76 years? Believe it or not, Batman comics continue to explore drastically new territory. Saturday’s panel was not a celebration of the past; it was a celebration of the future.

One step further, I’d say “Batman: The Bat-Universe” featured plenty of insightful Batman news but the focus shined on the former Boy Wonder: Dick Grayson. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Robin and there are big plans ahead for the Robin character. However, let’s focus on the upcoming Batman issues and miniseries.

Batman #45

According to Scott Snyder, everything from a continuity perspective goes straight to hell in issue 45 and the Jim Gordon storyline will ramp up. It might seem bombastic to see Gordon fight monsters and robots, however, Snyder said, “The fact that you guys have been supportive, and sales are what they are on the book, means the world.” Snyder’s new villain “Mr. Bloom” will make his first appearance and Batman will supposedly fight someone using sharks like nun chucks.

Batman #46

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A bearded Bruce Wayne is on the cover with Commissioner Gordon. Unfortunately, Snyder couldn’t spoil the storyline. Fans will supposedly get everything they want yet Bruce Wayne still won’t reprise his role as Batman. According to Greg Capullo, “You’re going to see how much he’s been needed (in Gotham), and how much he’s been missed.”

Batman & Robin Eternal #2

According to the moderator John Cunningham, “DC Comics scheduled their entire New York Comic Con around this year’s Batman & Robin Eternal.” This will be a 26-issue weekly series and James Tynion IV certainly enticed the crowd. He said, “Imagine if there was a mystery in Batman’s early years, he faced someone so terrifying that he never told anyone in the Bat Family. He thought that person was off the radar and that person suddenly emerges but Batman can’t tell them what to expect.” And don’t forget, Bruce’s memory is gone. Tynion IV added, “It’s going to be a bit more focused and tighter. It’s a paranoid mystery. We brought Cassandra Cain back in to the mix. That might not be the only character we’re bringing back in the story.”

Detective Comics #45/#46

Everything is upside down in the world of Gotham City. The Justice League doesn’t know how to deal with Jim Gordon’s Batman since Bruce Wayne is out of commission. Writer Peter Tomasi said, “He’s the Batman of Gotham now so they’re opening the door for him. They want to see what he’s made of. At the same time, they want to utilize his detective skills.”

Poision Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death is a brand new miniseries set for release next year. Amy Chu delivered some captivating insight into the world of Poison Ivy, especially when she mentioned that no individual storylines have truly focused on her personal life.

Chu wants to explore her origins and mythos. She said, “Poison Ivy is smart and sexy. She is just as smart as Lex Luthor and she will kill you too. She’s not a psychopath. She has the capability of loving people. I’m going to talk about that in the series, too.” Unlike other incarnations, Cycle of Life and Death is truly about Pamela Ivory.

ROBIN WARS

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BREAKING NEWS ALERT: Robin Wars will arrive in December. According to Tom King, “This is a huge summer event in December.” This story focuses on those youngsters in Gotham inspired by Batman and Robin. King said, “You have kids running around trying to be like Batman. But not everyone can be Batman.” This scenario eventually causes Gotham City to burn, which forces Dick Grayson to return and save the day. King added, “We will have all the Robins: Tim, Jason, Damian, and Dick.”

Grayson #12

Tom King is extremely proud of last month’s Grayson issue. There was a huge goal in mind when King approached this series, “We want Grayson to be the fourth tier in the DCU along with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.” Dick Grayson is currently involved with 12 different series, so DC is certainly pushing this iconic character to the forefront after he received some questionable treatment.

Grayson #13

Dick will fight against Spyral in issues 13, 14, and 15. This time around, Dick will be an agent on his own terms, especially since he’s back in the Bat Family. John Cunningham shared his appreciation for the series, “The creative team found a cool way to show readers about Dick’s history with all of the members in the Batman family in a style that I haven’t seen done before. I think it’s one of all the hallmarks of DC.” It’s been three years since Dick returned to Wayne Manor. The Batman family thought he was dead and Dick thought Damian was dead so this was a crucial moment in reestablishing their relationship.

During the Q&A, one attendee asked Tom King “Will Dick Grayson ever return as Nightwing?” King responded, “Nightwing is my favorite character. To me, Grayson never stopped being Nightwing, he’s Nightwing undercover as a spy. He wears different colors but the morals and crime fighting skills are still there.” He also joked, “Dick Grayson has a pretty face so its okay if doesn’t wear the Nightwing outfit.”

Tim Seeley added, “We could do a superhero book but we get so many miles out of the spy genre.” Both writers repeatedly mentioned that Grayson would appear in 12 ongoing series, including the Robin Wars and his own title. According to Seeley, “You’ll get a lot of Dick for your buck!”photo 5

Another fan asked the Grayson writers, “What specific attributes make Dick Grayson special?” They spoke about Grayson’s passion for being a hero. It’s his life’s calling to fight crime. Grayson wants to be the best at his craft and he wants to prove it to the world. Dick never suffered from the same mental anguish as Bruce. Instead, Bruce played a father-like role and gave him hope that his parent’s death would not be in vein.

One attendee asked Scott Snyder, “Will there possibly be a Robin storyline in Batman since it’s Robin’s 75th anniversary?” Snyder mentioned that ideas are in place that will explore Bruce and Damian’s relationship. He plans to incorporate Robin into the main storyline.

Another attendee asked Snyder about his connection to Gotham City? Snyder made an excellent point about how people come to cities like Manhattan or Gotham to reach their full potential. In the Batman storyline, Gotham City is the antagonist. Batman can’t always be the hero that he wants to be. However, if he could overcome the worst adversity, he knows that it could influence others to overcome their own struggles. Despite the city’s dark side, Gotham is a hero generator.