Batman's future will be terrifying, as the horrific elements from the Dark Multiverse invade DC Comics in the upcoming months with the new book Batman: Metal. However, it's not just a singular story. This event will spin out multiple one-shot issues and create a whole banner called "Dark Matter." During San Diego Comic-Con, writers from the upcoming event and banner discussed the finer points of this shocking new event.
Speaking to GameSpot, Scott Snyder, the writer behind the main August series--Batman: Metal--explained the story, saying it will feature the DC Universe facing their greatest fears: "The Justice League discovers there's a dark multiverse, and they're coming here to invade, and the only way to stop it is Nth metal, which is one of the rarest substances in the DC universe. So they have to go find the remnants of it before it's too late.
"In doing so, the first wave of attack comes here, and it's these nightmare Batmen. Dark multiverse is like all of our fears are material down there--all the things we're worried about," continued Snyder. "When that doorway opens, the first thing that comes through are these versions of Batman that are his worst fears about himself. Those things come here, and it's a knockdown, drag-out fight. We wanted it to feel fun, out of control. It feels like Mortal Kombat, Injustice. In fact, I wanted [to call the book] Dark Kombat, with a 'K,' and they were like 'It's copywrited, you can't.'
Traditionally, DC Comics focuses on their 52 different universes, which is called the Multiverse. The Dark Universe is something entirely different, as it's more of a sentient being that is affected by the thoughts of the people on Earth. "Dark Multiverse feeds the world worry in a different way," explained Snyder. "If this is a sentient, conscious, set multiverse, that's almost the subconscious rolling ocean of our hopes and fears where worlds are created and might materialize or concretize strongly enough to make it up through into the multiverse or might not. So that realm is hellish and scary and fluid and reactive and all of it. It's not planet with histories.
"It's more like… You have a fear when you hear the alarm and [an announcement over the PA] talking about testing the alarm at Comic-Con that there's gonna be a stampede," Snyder continued. "That world bubbles up for a moment, and if enough people fear it or hope for it--whatever it is--it could solidify in a different way." Snyder is working again with artist Greg Capullo. Together, the team had a critically acclaimed run on Batman
Increasing the Mortal Kombat atmosphere is adding the element of horror to Metal, which has been done in the past at DC, so this is nothing new. However, the minds behind this story, including Snyder, are accomplished writers within that genre. One of the other big names in both superhero books and horror is writer Joshua Williamson. He'll be writing a one-shot issue about a new character named Red Death, which you can see above. Obviously, he's the red one.
Williamson was passionate about working with Snyder and company on this new story, in which he'll be rejoined by artist Carmine Di Giandomenico, whom he worked with early on during his run on The Flash. The Red Death story focuses on the relationship between Batman and Flash, something DC has been building on since Rebirth: "These two guys are friends, so we get to show that relationship again but from a very different perspective," said Williamson. "It's a lot of energy and in the spirit of Metal, which is devil horns and rock 'n roll."
He had been working closely with Snyder on the book, and he wants to make it big and fun, akin to a summer blockbuster, with elements of horror. However, creating the feeling of horror within the reader can be a tough task. "There's a certain type of dynamic that goes into writing horror," explained Williamson. "How do you mess with a reader and make it genuinely scary? How do we build it up?" In the past, Williamson has had no problem creating a horror atmosphere with his Image books Ghosted and Nailbiter.
While the main story--Batman: Metal--delivers all of the main action, and the one-shots, including Williamson and Di Giandomenico's Batman: The Red Death, delve into a group of horrific Batmen from the Dark Multiverse, DC also announced a group of new books under the "Dark Matter" banner. The aftershock of the story will have a greater reach into the DC Universe, as a new line of books that team up iconic artists with some DC-favorite writers will hit shelves in the fall.
One of those books is Damage, written by Robert Venditti and drawn by Tony Daniel. Venditti explained that the Dark Matter initiative is artist driven, while adding to the mythos of the DC Universe by creating new characters: "You don't really get opportunities, too many times, to introduce new characters into this kind of mythology," explained Venditti. "You can have a new Green Lantern you've created, but [these are] entirely new concepts and entirely new superheroes that are going to come right out of the gate and be the title characters of a book that occupying space in the DC Universe alongside Batman, Superman, and everyone else. It's really cool to be a part of that kind of initiative."
This large-scale story kicks off with Batman: Metal #1 on August 16. Williamson's book--Batman: The Red Death--will release on September 20. The Dark Matter banner, featuring Venditti's Damage, will hit stores in October, just in time for the Halloween season.