Today Newsarama got to talk to Scott Snyder about the Death of the Family story , and what’s coming up for Batman and his allies during the Joker’s rampage .
Newsarama: Scott, there have been quite a few developments since last time we talked. But probably the most revealing thing we’ve learned about the plot you’ve crafted for this story is that you’ll be revisiting important places from past encounters between Batman and The Joker. How does this tie into your exploration of The Joker as a character, and what does it provide to the story overall?
Scott Snyder: Yeah, I really love framing the story this way because, on the one hand, it is like The Joker is sort of running through his “greatest hits” with Batman and being able to say, you know, “Look at all the great times we’ve had together.”
And you’re going to see a lot more references coming up: everything from Joker-Fish to Five-Way Revenge to Death in the Family. Joker will reference those in incredibly creepy ways.
As much as we wanted it to be there as something fans that know those stories can see and enjoy, we also wanted to have them presented, if we did reenact them through Joker, in a way that would make the fresh, you know? And also make them accessible to new fans.
It was a really fun line to walk for us. We wanted it to be something that would pay tribute to all the great Joker stories in the past and keep them in continuity, and then at the same time, to not depend on readers knowing those stories to enjoy our bigger story.
So it was definitely both fun and very tricky.
Nrama: In issue #14, he seemed to be way ahead of Batman, because he knew what was going to happen and just finished that part of the story on his own, wanting something more. But he seems to be delighted in the Batman. He loves him in his own twisted way, doesn’t he? And feels he’s going through this plan to help him?
Snyder: He really believes in his heart that he’s doing Batman the favor that Batman can’t admit he wants done, which is, he thinks that Batman regrets having accumulated this family because he knows that it makes him slow and weak and all of this stuff, and worried about the world all the time, the way a father would.
And again, like we talked about last time, with me being a father of young kids, that’s where this story came from. It’s that sense of constant worry about your kids and wishing once in awhile you could just turn it off or put it on pause, you know? But not being able to. And that’s part of being a family.
And that’s the perfect point for someone to come up and whisper in your ear: “I heard that. I heard you think you would love to have just a minute of pause or a minute of refuge from worrying about these people you love. So let me make that easy for you and kill them all, and then you won’t have to worry, because deep down, I know that’s what you want.”
So that’s what Joker believes about Batman, and he’s going to be sort of making his case throughout this story, as to why Batman loves him more than the family, and he loves Batman more than the family loves Batman.
Nrama: The back-up was interesting too, because not only did The Joker bring other villains into it — which we know was coming from solicitations — but you added to the layers of Joker’s relationship with Batman by talking about this “religion of crime” in Gotham and how they’re really all just worshipping Batman.
Snyder: Yeah, I love that art too, the way that Jock has them with their hands tied, dead, in prayer position.
Nrama: Wasn’t that in the script?
Snyder: Yeah, yeah. That was in the direction. I just now love seeing it visually. It was so creepy the way he presented that.
Nrama: This issue also established that The Joker knows the secret identities of the Bat-family. Or at least he says he knows them, right?
Snyder: For us, that’s part of the driving horror and mystery of the story. They were afraid that this is the claim that the Joker is going to make, and now he made it. He’s saying, “I know everything about you. I’ve been in your house. I’ve been under your bed. I’ve been in your closet. There’s nothing that I can’t kill in your life or hurt to break you.” And it’s sort of your worst nightmare.
If that’s true, and what he says is true that Bruce essentially is at fault for that somehow, that’s going to drive the conflict. The question of whether or not what he’s saying is true all around is part of the driving conflict, or is the driving conflict of the story, when it comes to the family and Bruce.
So Joker is playing a game with them, where he’s saying, “I know it, and wait until you see how much I know.” He’s saying, “Wait until you see. I’m going to prove it to you. But I’m not just going to come out and say your names, because that would be too easy. I’m going to show you little by little that I have irrefutable evidence that I know exactly who you are.
And as that evidence mounts, the tension really ratchets up between the family and Bruce. What Joker said in #14 is that it’s Batman’s fault, because he wants this to be the way it is. He wants me to come after you deep down.
For more on the story head over to the source .
– Adam Prince