Batman #10 is in stores today, and although some may have read the issue, a fair warning will start this article. Spoilers are revealed in this article and if you haven't read Batman #10 all the way through, events will be revealed. That being said there was a twist that quite possibly no one saw coming in the pages of Batman with the Court of Owls. Comic Book Resources talked with Scott Snyder about his reveal and what is coming up for Batman.
CBR: Scott, I hate to start this interview with a bird-themed pun, but I wanted to ask what was the chicken and what was the egg in terms of the Court of Owls? Did you start this story looking to work Thomas Wayne, Jr. or even Owlman into the modern DCU, or did you start with a shadowy organization attacking Batman and find your way there?
Scott Snyder: For me, it was absolutely without a doubt the idea of Gotham itself and its history. That all came before the owls. I was working on "Detective" and had started to work on "Gates of Gotham," and even though Bruce was dead at the time, I started to fall in love with the idea of the city bringing its history to bear against Bruce. He's this character with so much knowledge of the history of the city, yet the past itself is both a somewhat knowable but also vastly unknowable thing. All the time, those secrets are right beneath our feet. So I started to come up with this idea for a secret society that would have been laced throughout different layers of Gotham history and had assassins that worked from nests in various buildings. That was where it all came from, and when I asked myself, "What could be the name of this group?" it hit me immediately. I've always loved the mythology of the owl, and I wanted it to be a rival symbol to Batman.
From there, I felt that while I wanted this to be a faceless organization, at the same time I wanted it to have someone step out from behind it eventually. It needed to be someone looking for some kind of retribution unless you're going to have a story where Batman makes almost no progress at the end and winds up having the Court remain faceless. So it became a question of who would rise up and betray them, and historically Owlman is a character that's worn the mantle of the owl, and in versions of him that I've loved, he's always been a scary reverse Bruce. So all those pieces just clicked into place. The Thomas beat — or Lincoln claiming to be Thomas, because I should mention to the readers that the story isn't done. There's more in #11, so you'll have to wait and see if he's telling the truth. But even a character claiming to be Thomas gave me that final emotional beat.
At the end of the day, the way I constructed the story for myself was that I wanted Gotham to reveal itself to Bruce by saying , "You've become too complacent. You think that you can take on the rogue's in issue #1 and narrate over it talking up a newspaper column. You think that in issue #2 you can jump a motorcycle over a helicopter and still be home for dinner in five minutes. If you think you know me that well, I'm going to show you how little you know me." So the Owls aren't the force behind it all so much as it is Gotham saying, "I'm always going to be a stranger to people. That's what makes me special." The story became about the Court revealing this idea to Bruce in a way that would become concentrically closer to him — almost like a reverse ripple effect. First he realizes the Court is real in history, then he realizes they're after him, then he realizes there's a maze beneath his feet, then he realizes there's a connection to the Bat-Family through Dick Grayson supposed to having been a Talon…and now there's the final revelation: someone claiming to be a part of his family themself. We wanted Gotham to say "There are mysteries about my past you don't know, and ever time you try to deny them, they get closer and closer until they're right beneath your feet and in your own blood."
CBR: You mention that "I'm from the other side of the mirror" line which struck me as the possibility of that alternate reality idea. But you're saying definitively that that additional twist isn't coming?
Scott Snyder: Well, until you read #11 I don't want to take things off the table, but I'll at least say that no alternate universe is coming. This is a villain who can be an Owlman in our continuity. I adore the Crime Syndicate, and I love the notion of alternate universes or Elseworlds characters. I loved doing "Iron Man: Noir," and I'd love to do a Rockabilly Batman story at some point. No one loves things like "Red Rain" and "Gotham By Gaslight" and "Red Son" more than me. That said, I thought for "Batman" #1, what thing would be scary and totally different from anything you've seen before? What's a symbol we could build up to rival the bat? For me, that was the owl. So this really is about trying to construct from the bedrock of Gotham where the labyrinth is up to the tallest towers the notion that someone runs the city that Batman doesn't know. And ultimately, someone has to step out and say, "This all happened because you only look at what's in front of your nose. You only look at the present and never the past. If you'd look at the past for one moment, you'd see me. I come from all you don't know, and I wear the owl on my chest."
So really, we wanted to create a villain that took the pieces of villains from the past or owl mythology from the past to make something new and scary and permanent. I have a story in mind for Lincoln should he survive issue #11 for a year from now or so. I'd like to bring him back and show what a formidable foe for Batman beyond his origin story here. We're all really proud of the story itself, and I can't tell you how proud I am of Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion and James Tynion and Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig and everyone who's worked on the story. They've poured everything they have into this. And I know that people will be shocked at the idea that Bruce may have a brother. But know that we would never do something like this if we didn't think it was the best story we could tell out of passion and love for the characters and the stories that have come before while still telling something new that can carry forward.
For the entire interview, including some hints about what is coming up in Batman past the Court of Owls, head over to Comic Book Resources. Batman #10 is in stores now.
Posted by Dustin Fritschel