As a preview for the full interview that will be posted today on Newsarama (the mothership connection, y’all), here’s Matt Brady talking to Dan Didio about the aftermath of Batman R.I.P. Recall, if you will that R.I.P. actually rolled right into Last Rites (which segues into Final Crisis). Have a look . . .
Let’s talk about Batman. Something that came up in a lot of the commentary and criticism of “Batman R.I.P.” is that the storyline was built and built and built – Grant himself made pronouncements about it at the New York Comic Con as being one of the most definition stories for Batman. And then at the end of R.I.P., we get a “death” scene that we have seen before – no body, and a question mark as to what even happened. To me, this seems like it was a case where the hype, or people’s expectations overtook the story’s ability to deliver…
DD: Here’s the conundrum on this one. And this is reflective of the world that we live in now – the world of collected editions. The R.I.P. story was always meant to play through to the end of Final Crisis – always. The thing is, we had to come up with a very complete story in “Batman R.I.P.” as it existed in its title. The reality is that the “Batman R.I.P.” story does not conclude until Final Crisis #6. There are also issues #682 and #683 of Batman that feed directly into Final Crisis #6, and we’ll have a big finale to the Batman storyline. That’s how it plays out.
But as I said, because we live in the world of collected editions, we needed a conclusion in the Batman series, so that we could collect it properly within Batman, without having to bring in segments of Final Crisis to complete the story.
NRAMA: So – fundamentally, “Batman R.I.P” did not end in Batman #681?
DD: Correct. We have the two parts that we’re in the middle of now, and they lead us into Final Crisis #6 which gives us a definite conclusion to the Batman story. That’s how Grant designed the story from the start, and that’s how the story plays out. So, the people who are looking for the big finale, the stuff that Grant was talking about – he knows how big an ending he has, because he wrote it in Final Crisis #6. That story has been so planned out that it reflects events from the pages of Final Crisis #1 in order to pull it all together.
So the Batman story has been hinted at in Final Crisis #1 – we couldn’t allude to it, because we didn’t want to play our hand too early with that. The fascinating thing about what Grant has done is that he’s telling a major story in the life of Batman while he’s telling a major event across the DC Universe with Final Crisis. And the two are linked.
NRAMA: So Final Crisis #6 is like when you’re driving on, say, I-40 and it merges with another for a while, and you get the road signs telling you that you’re on two highways at the same time…and you follow another highway out other than the one you went in on.
DD: Exactly. And Batman #682 and #683 are reflective of things that took place earlier in Final Crisis as well.
NRAMA: That said, it took you a few minutes there to explain where the story “really” went and ended, and yet, there’s the clear perception, at least until this word gets out, that R.I.P ended with Batman #681. What can you do, or can you do anything when you see fans reading along, and coming to a point where collectively, they say, “What the hell?” In the meantime, you know where the story goes from where they think it ended, and you know that the story has a more satisfying conclusion than the one they are looking for, but it’s somewhere else. Do just bite the bullet and wait for the tide to turn in regards to fan sentiment?
DD: Honestly, I enjoyed the ending of R.I.P. in Batman, so I felt satisfied at the conclusion. I look at everyone following along, and have the same reaction that anyone in my position has when the readers get a controversial issue – that they don’t say, “Oh, yeah – #681. Didn’t like it, so I’m going to drop Batman and never read another issue.” I’m hoping that’s not the case because, as those who stuck around realized, issue #682 really gets you back into what the story is really about, and that comes across even stronger in #683. Again, we’re trying to create long-term fiction with Batman. In doing so, we want to make sure these things are as compelling as they can be from stage to stage, point to point, and that people ride along all the way with us.