When Bleeding Cool first broke the news that James Tynion IV would be the writer of DC Comics regular Batman comic book with Batman #86, we stated that it was a temporary gig. That Tynion would write the series up to issue 100, when Batman would be relaunched as part of DC Comics' 5G plan to relaunch the DC Universe, with a new DC Timeline that would see all the principle characters aged up and a new generation taking on the lead roles of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, the Green Lantern of Earth, Cyborg and more. This would have all happened this month.
We were completely wrong of course. This did not happen. But once upon a time, it was the DC plan.
Then a) DC publisher Dan DiDio was fired and b) the shutdown and pandemic occurred which put a damper on all these plans. A pre-prepared two-month break for titles before the launch of 5G, was postponed until January and February, now known as Future State. The ending of Death Metal was rewritten. And James Tynion IV, who had found incredible success on Batman was no longer off Batman with #100. Instead, the planned new Batman series starring the son of Lucius Fox as the new Batman, by John Ridley, was reworked as a mini-series alongside other 5G titles, to be published as an Ultimate-style mini-universe of books.
Naturally, people don't want to talk publicly about 5G plans. Tom King talked about how the death of Alfred was intended to set it up, and Jim Lee made a number of disingenuous statements, but that was about it. Today in his Empire Of The Tiny Onion newsletter, however, Tynion did confirm one aspect of the story. That he was never meant to stay on after issue 100 – out this week.
I'm just going to confirm something that is basically common knowledge at this point. There's another universe where Batman #100 was going to be my last issue on Batman. Ask me in another 5-10 years and I'll tell you what my original plans were, and the key moments through the year when I basically needed to throw out my roadmap because very major top-down story priorities shifted.
Weirdly, the shifting priorities helped me find the spirit of the book. There were entire issues I was writing, out of order because of the necessities of double-ship, not knowing the ending of the story I was telling. I had to throw out my bag of tricks, and focus on making every single individual issue an absolute BLAST to read. Focus on delivering a series of big cool moments, and exciting character combos, to make sure that there was something in each issue that made that issue worth reading. I knew there were big elements that I couldn't control, so I latched onto what I COULD control.
The upside of that meant that when something worked, I could pivot into it faster than I've ever been able to before. PUNCHLINE's success showed me the hunger for key new characters in the Gotham mythos, and the fact that Joker War's ending was up in the air meant that I could rework some of the key elements to fast-track the introduction of CLOWNHUNTER. And when the book became a sales Juggernaut and I was given the official news that I would be staying on the title indefinitely, I was able to reshape Joker War into the engine through which I could create a new, exciting status quo for Batman for 2021 and beyond…
He also dropped a few other teasers for the years ahead. While Batgirl has been cancelled, Barbara Gordon taking on an Oracle role in Batman #100, and Cassandra Cain seemed to be looking more like Batgirl in Joker War Zone, Tynion confirmed;
One key element in that is that I can say that Barbara Gordon is going to be an absolutely central character for the rest of this year, and next year. If you've been missing Oracle in the Bat-verse like I have, I think you're going to be very excited where things go from here…
Toldja. He also talks about Punchline, of course;
The Punchline coda of 100 sets up one of the key elements I've just been dying to get to with the character of Punchline. She is about to go on trial, and that trial is going to let her manipulate the whole city into loving her, while she builds a dangerous plan that will run through the back-burner of 2021.
And, for Batman #100, how it has transformed for him.
It is not the ending, but the beginning.
No more news for Poison Ivy though… Batman #100 is published by DC Comics tomorrow.
BATMAN #100 JOKER WAR
(W) James TynionIV (A) Danny Miki, Carlo Pagulayan, Jorge Jimenez, Guillem March (CA) Tony S. Daniel
"The Joker War" comes to a city-shattering conclusion as Batman battles The Joker in a brutal, no-holds-barred duel! This is a fight 80 years in the making, and its outcome won't just change Batman's life-it will change Gotham City for years to come! Plus, catch the first glimpse of the new villain known as Ghost-Maker! And after the senses-shattering conclusion of "The Joker War" come a pair of short stories that will chart what's to come in Gotham City and Batman. Don't miss the first showdown between Batman and Clownhunter!In Shops: Oct 07, 2020