What does Bruce Wayne do when he’s outgrown Gotham City? That’s the dilemma that opens Batman: The Detective #1, the debut issue of the highly anticipated new Bat-title from the star creative team of DCeased writer Tom Taylor and prolific artist Andy Kubert. In this six-issue series, an aged, hardened Batman—“the pain doesn’t fade like it used to,” he says in the book’s narration—realizes that there’s nothing keeping him in Wayne Manor.
So where to next? First stop is the United Kingdom, but it’s no vacation, as Batman arrives to investigate a tragic plane crash and soon encounters the Gentleman Ghost and a new version of across-the-pond allies Knight and Squire. The adventure only escalates from there as a vexing mystery unfolds across Europe and Batman hunts for a new villain known as Equilibrium.
DC Nation spoke with both Taylor and Kubert about how their partnership developed, the origins of Batman: The Detective, what makes this Bruce Wayne different from what fans see in the current pages of Batman and Detective Comics, and how Kubert sees this series as distinct from the many memorable Batman stories in his career.
How did you come together to tell this story?
Andy Kubert: When (Batman group editor) Ben Abernathy and I discussed making this Batman larger than life, we knew we had to have a writer that could deliver that type of story. Tom Taylor has proven, especially with DCeased and Suicide Squad, that he was it.
What Tom has crafted here will be a story for the ages, with an aged and hardened Batman. The years and battles have caught up with him. As he walks, you can hear him creak like an old, rusted gate that needs to be oiled. And Tom writes it all so perfectly.
Tom Taylor: I will leap at any chance to tell a Batman story at any time. But teaming up with a legend like Andy Kubert for a Batman tale is a dream and an honor. I have Andy's Dark Knight statue sitting on my desk, so I can see exactly how his Batman is larger than life. Andy's Batman never skipped leg day. His legs are like tree trunks. He's a bit older, he's a little slower, but he's efficient. He's muscle and bulk and power and he moves like a battering ram.
He interacts a little like a battering ram too. He's singularly focused. He has a mission, and he won't be pushed off track by hordes of attackers or even Andy's terrifying Gentleman Ghost. While this is about an older-feeling Batman, we also had an opportunity to flashback to his past, to see a younger Bruce Wayne in training in a way never expanded on before.
Andy, how does this compare to your past Batman work?
Kubert: This series is a different take on the character than I had done before. Every story that I have done with Batman has been different in tone and the art takes on a life of its own as the story dictates. “Batman and Son,” “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” and Dark Knight III: The Master Race along with Flashpoint Batman each had their own look and feel for that particular story. Batman: The Detective is no different.
Tom, what appealed to you about writing an older Bruce Wayne?
Taylor: When Ben and Andy came to me with an idea for a world-weary Batman leaving Gotham for Europe, I immediately thought of the great stories I'd read of an older, cynical Batman. But the challenge was finding the call to adventure for a Batman who's a little more jaded.
Fortunately, I already had something up my sleeve. I actually pitched a Batman idea to Ben Abernathy all the way back in 2012 and, nine years later, we were able to find a place for this in Batman: The Detective. The idea was about taking something away from Batman that no one's ever tried to take before. And from that, a new, unique Batman villain was born. It's all about Equilibrium.
Batman: The Detective #1 by Tom Taylor, Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson is now available in print and as a digital comic book.