After this week’s exciting and monumental finale to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s second Joker story “Batman: Endgame” in the pages of Batman #40, the writer and artist gave interviews to both Comic Book Resources and Newsarama discussing the ending to the story arc as well as answering some questions about the shocking twists in issue #40.
(Warning: Spoilers beyond this point)
After a brutal hand-to-hand battle between the two characters, Batman and Joker were lying next to each other when an underground chamber collapsed on them. They’re assumed dead as Batman #40 concluded the six-issue “Endgame” storyline — a Joker vs. Batman tale by Snyder and Capullo that involved all of Gotham City, most of the Batman characters and even the Justice League.
The apparent death of Bruce Wayne now gives the Batman creative team the chance to replace the character — something that’s been done before, but never in quite the way Snyder and Capullo are planning for June. Instead of a new character taking up the usual Bat-cape and cowl, someone is policing the streets in a mech suit, as the title stars what DC is calling an “all-new Batman.”
Yet the biggest questions today are, are Bruce and Joker really dead and do Snyder and Capullo plan to bring either of them back? The team answers these questions in more in these interviews. See excerpts from them below and follow the links to read the entire interviews.
First, the Newsarama interview:
Newsarama: Scott and Greg, Batman called Joker his “friend” at the end of this, and I know he’s being sarcastic through much of that scene, but is there a deeper meaning to him saying “my friend” at the end and effectively dying next to Joker? They both died, and Batman called him a friend? Is this related to the idea that they’re kind of bound to each other?
Scott Snyder: I think he means “friend” in a way that’s cruel. He’s turning everything that Joker has done on its head. But I do think, in some ways, he understood, deep down, that they were bound together. You know? The Joker, to me, is the opposite of Batman more than anybody could be. I mean, the Riddler is so much fun to use because he’s basically about testing Batman’s greatest strengths, his detection skills and figuring out mysteries. But the Joker is what he’s about, for me. Joker says, “The tragedy that happened to you when you were a little boy? That happens to all of us, and it could happen at any moment. Life means nothing. It’s just randomness. So I would stand in the alley and just laugh, if you thought you were going to become a hero and prevent this from happening to other people. Because who cares? It will happen anyway. There’s no stopping it. There’s no stopping the violence. There’s no stopping the chaos.”
So that’s the great joke that the Joker says he’s been laughing at for hundreds of years. Even though he’s proven not to be who he said he was, in terms of the immortality, that’s what he’s always stood for. And to me, the reason Batman is inspiring isn’t only because he terrifies criminals, but because he empowers us to go out and overcome our own fears, and to overcome the worry that what we do doesn’t mean anything, and that we can’t make a difference, we can’t change our situation. Batman is the ultimate example of how you overcome tragedy, or you take chaos and random violence and turn it into something meaningful.
Greg Capullo: Are you trying to say that they’re kind of like married, kind of like the yin and yang?
Snyder: Exactly. And I think Bruce knows that in some way. The Joker represents everything he fights against all the time. And yeah, they are. They’re bound together, just like Greg says. You know what I noticed too, looking at it? Like, when they’re lying in the blood, it almost looks like a heart.
Nrama: Scott, I suspect the answer to this question is going to be similar to your answer when I asked about Joker’s immortality a couple months ago and you left it very open-ended, but are Bruce and the Joker really dead?
Snyder: I’m sure that people will be mad and say, “How could you kill them?” To me, it’s not a question of, “Are they going to get out of this one?” With superhero comics, it’s never about, “Are they dead forever?” or “Are they going to come back?” It’s more how. So I would say, what matters is that Bruce and Joker understood what was happening here. And to me, this is the end of that relationship in terms of how I write Batman with Greg. I don’t ever intend to go back to write Joker and Batman fighting again. That, to me, was their final battle. So they are. I mean, they’re dead. Yes. They went down together.
But if you’re asking if we have a way that we would bring them back? You always go into all these stories with other stories in mind, or ways out, or trap doors. That’s the whole fun of superhero comics. There are plenty of people — internally [at DC] and fan-wise — who would love to have us lop the Joker’s head off and see it on panel and try to chop him up and make sure he’s dead. But my feeling is, this is the way that he died. He goes down this way. Will he ever come back? Of course he’ll come back sometime. And do we have a way to do it in our own way? You’ll have to wait and see. If there is any anger out there, and you’re saying, “I hate those bastards! They just killed Bruce and Joker!” I mean, you’d have to really hate the characters and the fans to kill them with no sense of how to ever make another story out of this.
Nrama: A lot of people have seen spoilers for this weekend’s Free Comic Book Day issue Divergence, where you’ve got a story introducing the “All-New Batman.” Scott, I know you said that you don’t like addressing spoilers, but we at least know this Batman looks a lot different. Greg, what was the idea behind the design of this mech-looking Batman? And has it been a big switch for you, Greg, not getting to draw the cape and cowl?
Capullo: Scott pointed me in the direction that he wanted to go, which was sort of the Appleseed stuff, which I was familiar with, and that sort of thing. If you’ve seen some of the shots, I’ve got some grooves that go up his back and stuff. So what I envision is that those actually can become batwings. That thing would go up, sort of like his spine, and he’d have some kind of device or magnetic thing that would allow him to have his hands free but hold onto the top part of the wings. So he still will have a cape, of sorts. I just sort of drew that in an action scene recently. So yeah, it’s a lot different. And there’s a learning curve to it — you know, how to get it to look cool. And knowing what it looks like from all the different angles. So right now it’s sort of challenge mode, to make it look natural. But listen, it’s like I’m getting to draw Iron Man while drawing Batman.
Nrama: OK, Scott, so everybody just saw Batman and Joker die, and Batman’s “HA” note has been read. It appears to be over for these two characters. And of course, we already know someone else puts on a Batman suit — a very different one. You and I have talked a bit about this in the past, but now that we understand Batman is gone, what did you want fans to know about what’s coming up in June’s Batman #41? Batman’s gone, but his world continues? In a different way?
Snyder: Yeah. And you know, it’s funny because, behind the scenes, a lot of us are friends, even across the aisle. And when I was planning this story, one of the people I talked to was Dan Slott, because I was such a huge fan of Superior Spider-Man. And even though this story is very, very different from that story, it still has the element of, you know, you’re killing off your hero. And I remember talking to him, and I was like, “Should I tease about future plans for Bruce?” And he was like, “No. He’s dead. That’s it.” He said that’s how he handled Peter; let them be angry; he’s dead. For me, when I had the idea for Greg and I to do one more big story [starting in June], I knew it would have to be something that was personal. And the feeling of this story — without giving away too much — it’s like, what if you’re not good enough to be Batman? What if you don’t have it in you? But the city needs you to do this. To me, it’s exploring the mythology of Batman in a way that basically gives me new angles on characters that you guys love, that you’d never get otherwise. They’re characters I don’t want to name, because I feel like it gives too much away.
But you can imagine, in the aftermath of this story, you’re going to get change with your favorite characters that you’d never get to otherwise. This gives you a lens to look at all of it through, that’s so bright and different. It feels like a new lease on the book, honestly. It really feels like this is a new #1 and we’re starting a brand new Batman series. That, to me, is the challenge. We’ve tried every arc to do something very different than the arc before, and to make each one feel new. And especially with the line the way it is now, with so many good books taking so many risks, it’s imperative to be on the book in a way that was daring and fun and bold. So when I thought of this one, I told Greg, it was just sort of like, “Yep, let’s do it.” I really am thrilled about it. I really am. And I know Greg said it’s challenge mode, but, like, it doesn’t show. I have to say, even the thing you sent this morning, it looks gorgeous.
And now the CBR interview:
CBR News: Let’s start with the big elephant in the room. Or I guess in this case, a T. rex. Are Batman and Joker really dead?
Greg Capullo: When Scott gave me the script, one of the things that he said was that the fans have always said this is what they want. This showdown. Let’s give it to them so they go, “Well, Ithought I wanted this.” [Laughs] And all of sudden, they’re backing out of the room. “I didn’t want it like this!” So be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
Scott Snyder: Exactly. I couldn’t agree more. It was really intimidating doing it but for us, it really had to feel like the last time these two iconic characters would ever meet. I wanted it to feel like the flipside of “Death of the Family” and I actually came up with this story while I was writing that arc. It really became about doing something that represented Joker’s hope that there would be a comedic ending but this story shows that there can only be a tragic ending for Batman and his relationship with the Joker.
But in the best way, he almost gives Batman a gift. Batman knows that he is going to go down fighting. And that’s the way that Batman will always end. He’s not going to retire, at least our version of him. He’s not going to ride off into the sunset. He’s going to go down fighting for the city whether old or young. Giving him the chance to fight his greatest enemy, who represents everything that he stands against is the perfect ending for him. The Joker represents meaningless and the idea that everyone is laughing at him and you. Joker doesn’t think that your life means anything whereas Batman says, “Stand up and make your life matter.” Who wouldn’t want to go down in a blaze of glory? If you’re going to go down some way, what better way than saving the city and making sure that this monster never gets out of the box on your watch. It’s almost a happy ending for Batman.
Now back to my original question, is Batman really dead?
Capullo: Of course not. Like Scott has said before, you don’t do a story like this without the backdoor to bring him back. And you have to do a story like this to tell a better story. And we are doing a better story. But come on, of course I don’t want Bruce Wayne to never return. [Laughs] No fan would ever want to see that and Scott and I are two of the biggest Batman fans on the planet. Would we want to crush, kill destroy Bruce Wayne so that he’s gone forever? Absolutely not because he’s as entrenched in our hearts as is he is for every fan that loves him.
Snyder: Exactly. I don’t want to give spoilers about how Bruce figures in or doesn’t figure into the next arc but my favorite stories are the ones that do this kind of thing like “Superior Spider-Man” or Bucky and Cap. They are largely about what makes that first person special. “Superior Spider-Man” is a love letter to Peter Parker and, in a lot of ways, this next arc is very much about why Bruce has to come back and be Batman. But, while we’re at it, let’s have a lot of fun.
And the eternal question must be answered. Can you have Batman without the Joker?
Snyder: [Laughs] You’ll have to wait and see. I’ve already told you too many spoilers so you’ll have to wait and see.
Bruce leaves a note for Alfred, which has but a single word: “HA.” Going back to what you said earlier about being about to laugh at your own mistakes and shortcomings, Batman truly gets the last laugh of “Endgame,” doesn’t he?
Snyder: Yeah, for me, Batman said, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to laugh.” It says, “Look into the face of terror, face your own fears and laugh at them.” Go out there and be a crazy thing like me. Go out there and inspire other people. Go out there and don’t be afraid.
Batman #40 is in stores now. The Free Comic Book Day issue from DC Comics features a look at what is to come from Snyder and Capullo in the pages of Batman available this Saturday.