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Snyder Talks the Court of Owls

Scott Snyder is on top of the world writing his dream job and doing it so well that his first issue of Batman has propelled him to the number one position in Diamond's Top Comics of September. Comic Book Resources caught up with Snyder to talk to him about a bunch of upcoming story elements in Batman. They also showed off the cover to Batman #5, which can be seen below.


Batman #5CBR: What can you tell us about the Court of Owls?


Scott Snyder: I'll tell you this, what I want to do is I want it to be an enemy for Bruce where I wanted to create something that really scares him in a big way. For me that takes a slow build; it's not just somebody who pops up and is frightening, because Bruce has faced the scariest guys face to face and taken them down time and time again. This is something that is a bit more of a creeping horror and something that's been there in the background. We've actually tried to tease the symbol of the Court of Owls at different times in "Detective" and in "Batman" #1 and in different places as well. So it's an idea that's been in the atmosphere for me and Greg and some of the others guys I was talking to about it when we were doing "Detective" for a while. Not just one person or an organization made of characters that are visible the way something like the Black Glove was, but it's much more insidious in that the way owls nest wherever they want; this sense of their presence being in places that Bruce never would have expected, really close to home and in places he considers safe. And that their instruments of power and the way that they've manipulated things historically in Gotham are going to be sort of shockingly brutal and frightening to Bruce. He is really up against a very scary enemy in its meaning and its nature with the Court of Owls, and then in its actual physical manifestation and the things they send to kill him.


I just want to say one other thing about this idea of owls, that in some ways if Gotham is at a crossroads with this symbol, this organization that's decided to come out of the woodwork to finally turn this big eye towards Bruce and say, "You know what? We're sick of Batman, let's crush him and his whole world," there is this sense of the Bat being the only Bat but there's a lot of sense of bird imagery that we've tried to use in "Detective" and in "Batman." So, is Gotham really a city of the Bird or a city of the Bat? In that way a lot of the characters who have been Robins and such and a lot of the characters in Bruce's Bat family will be pitted against him. To me, at the end of the day, one of the great storylines in Batman is the sense of Dick Grayson eventually having to bring Bruce in; I think you see parts of that in "Batman Beyond" and "Dark Knight Returns." He's the son who is meant to take down the father if he's ever gone too far, and that's a story we're really playing with too and a theme and a note we're trying to hit and play up because I think it's one of the saddest, most fascinating and heroic kind of storylines in Batman.


CBR: Since you've planted the idea of the Court of Owls so early in "Detective," has this always been an aspect of Gotham you've wanted to bring out?


Scott Snyder: Very much. It's a story I've been thinking about for a really long time. It's the story where if I only ever get one chance to tell a Bruce Wayne story this would really be it! I'm hoping I get to tell more than one, but if I didn't I'd be happy leaving this one as the one I get to tell. For me it really goes after the thing that I think is one of Bruce's Achilles heels, which is his competency. Which he deserves because Bruce is somebody that eschews all his other stuff, he doesn't have a social life. To me Superman is Clark Kent, he's not Superman, he's Clark Kent in a costume and that's the core of Superman, and the reason his relationship to Batman is so interesting is that Batman is Batman and Bruce Wayne is more of a façade than Batman is. They are sort of inverted that way. He doesn't have a social life, he's not married the way Clark was to Lois, he doesn't have the same social circle. He has a family and he cares for them as best he can, but Bruce at the end of the day, whenever you see a future version of him whether it's "Dark Knight Returns" or "Batman Beyond" or anything, he's always alone. He takes people in but it's him, alone, having pushed away all the people that he cared about. In that I think he's a very obsessive person. What he has is Batman. He's the best and that's it. He doesn't have a wife, he has Damian but he doesn't have a nuclear family he takes care of and all the normal things most people have. This is his life.


So what if you undermine that by saying all the time you spent, all the resources you put behind Batman, all of the effort you put into the creation of this hero who you think is larger than life and bigger than the city, what if the whole world of Batman is just a small speck in the scope of the history of Gotham and that Gotham itself has an enemy that is much bigger than you and has been here longer? To me that's something that shakes my idea of Bruce to the core, because his whole foundation is that sense of competence — that he can go out at night in Gotham and feel like he is the best superhero in the DCU because he sacrificed all these other things to do it. Whereas with Superman I don't think it would be as frightening because he has other things he takes pride in, in ways I don't think Bruce quite knows how to do. As much as he loves and cares for the Bat family, Batman is his core.


For the entire interview, including talk about the effect of the Black Mirror, head over to Comic Book Resources. Batman #2 hits stores in less than two weeks.


Posted by Dustin Fritschel

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