From IGN Comics
A Shift for Batman and Robin
Fans will have to wait a bit longer for Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleason.
October 25, 2010
by Richard George
Our focus on DC’s extensive relaunch of the Batman franchise continues, but today we have something very interesting for you. There’s a change coming to Batman and Robin, one that might upset some fans looking forward to Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s run on the series. But as with any change, there is always a silver lining. What do we mean? Keep reading…
Batman and Robin #17, due to hit stores on November 24, will not feature Tomasi and Gleason’s “Dark Knight, White Knight” story. Instead, Paul Cornell will be teaming with Scott McDaniel (Nightwing, Green Arrow) for a three-part arc that will mark Cornell’s first step into the vastness that is Gotham City.
Of course, that change no doubt prompts many questions. We spoke with Batman franchise editor Mike Marts about the selection of Cornell and delay of Tomasi and Gleason.
“Both Peter and Patrick were pulling double duty on Brightest Day and Batman and Robin – no easy task, even for dedicated and hard-working creators like these guys,” Marts told us via e-mail. “So rather than have them running ragged on both titles we decided to make their lives a little easier by delaying the start of the run on Batman and Robin. This way, they can give priority to the important storylines they’re taking care of now in Brightest Day, then recharge and refocus for their debut on B&R.
And worry not, Bat-fans (and retailers), all content – as solicited – will be present when Tomasi and Gleason do debut this February in Batman and Robin #20.
Naturally that then begs the question… why Paul Cornell? No doubt many familiar with Cornell’s stellar run on Action Comics will be pleased, but what convinced Marts of this selection? “Paul was a very easy choice. In the relatively short time he’s been working with DC, Paul has proven to be a huge asset – he writes fantastic stories and he always makes his deadlines,” Marts told us. “Plus, he is a big fan of everything that’s been going on in the Batbooks over the past several years, so e didn’t even have to educate him on anything. We made the offer late one week and a full plot in early the next week!”
What will Cornell’s storyline entail? Funny you should ask – we decided to go straight to the source and find out. And be sure to check out the new cover (above) to Batman and Robin #17, by Guillem March!
IGN Comics: Let’s get a sense of your arc on Batman and Robin – what concepts will you be tackling? Will you be using existing villains or new ones?
Cornell: I’ve created a new villain, one of the aims of the title being to provide some new Bat foes. I’m very proud of him, and hope he joins the pantheon, but to say much more about him would be to give the game away.
This is the story of the corpse of one of Bruce Wayne’s former girlfriends being stolen from her grave, and Dick and Damian trying to deal with a matter that’s very personal to Bruce, to kind of shield him from the fallout of it, while Bruce is away in Japan. This is a very dark story, in the Grant Morrison tradition, with some evil stuff going on under the surface and some mad bubbles on top.
IGN Comics: How much of Bruce Wayne will we see in this arc?
Cornell: We glimpse him on the end of a phone call. He’s really not in it, this is about Dick and Damian struggling to clear up one of his messes.
IGN Comics: I wanted to get your thoughts on the Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson/Damian Wayne dynamic as a whole. In your mind, how does Bruce’s arrival change the relationship between Dick and Damian, and how have those two evolved as they have worked together as Batman and Robin?
Cornell: I think Bruce coming back lets Dick become even more his own sort of Batman, which disturbs Damian a little, because he likes things kept orderly. He was just getting used to the last status quo. He’d started to respect how Dick did things, but now things are changing again. Like the rest of the comics community, I really like Damian.
I like the good kid that Bruce sees under all that arrogance and bluster. I love how much he and Alfred have formed an unspoken bond, all the while with Damian calling Alfred by his surname.
IGN Comics: Obviously readers are already aware of the creative team coming after you… a two part question regarding this – First, are you framing your arc to pave the way for Pete Tomasi in any way or will your story really operate on its own?
Cornell: It operates on its own, but continues the characterisation and keeps the pulse of the title ticking over. The danger with just writing three issues is that one might feel one is obliged to write a pretty meaningless ‘mini-series’, but in the case of this I felt the best way to serve the title was to write three issues like this was my book, with my best try at the introduction of a major villain, some glimpses of new character dynamics and a big arc story. B&R is a big book, and I see no reason to turn the volume down just because I’m only here for three issues.
IGN Comics: The second part – Is it challenging to step in to write an arc in this way, with a team on the way that already has established plans? Did you have to consult with Pete and editor Mike Marts extensively to figure out where and how your story could operate?
Cornell: Mike’s been the driving force behind this, having given me the opportunity in the first place, and I couldn’t be happier. For one thing, this gives me a chance to write something dark and mad and bloody, the polar opposite of Knight and Squire. (Lex is somewhere in the middle.)
IGN Comics: Your stay on Batman and Robin is brief, but is this something you’d like to make a regular occurrence? Are you interested in writing Batman comics in the future – is this something fans should start writing petitions for?
Cornell: Well, I wouldn’t say that, because I’d be going ‘yes, that’s lovely, but could you stop pissing off my editors, please?’ But I’d love to get a long run on a Batman title.
IGN Comics: Is there anything else you’d like to add regarding your arc on Batman and Robin?
Cornell: I hope the villain will mean something to people, and will resonate. He’s kind of important to me. I think all the best Batman villains say something about the world, and I hope he does.