If you thought Gotham City was a lousy place to live now, you don’t even want to imagine what sort of supervillain-filled cesspool it turns into in five years. Yet that is exactly the premise behind DC Comics’ Detective Comics: Future’s End #1, which hits store shelves today. The brand new title, written by Brian Buccellato with art by Scott Hepburn, Cliff Richards and Fabrizio Fiorentino, sends us five years into the future where Calendar Man has seized control of Arkham Asylum and is threatening to recreate the catastrophic events of The Riddler’s Zero Year Blackout, which plunged Gotham into darkness and chaos. The problem is that the only man who can penetrate Arkham’s defenses happens to be the homicidal maniac who programmed them — Edward Nygma, The Riddler himself. So, now the Dark Knight finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to team up with The Riddler to put a stop to Calendar Man’s reign of terror before he can wreak havoc on Gotham.
In order to take you deeper into the futuristic fun of Detective Comics: Future’s End #1, I caught up with writer Brian Buccellato over e-mail. Plus, we have a special preview of the issue and a look at the 3D Motion Cover too!
Nerdist: What sort of narrative freedom comes along with skipping five years into the future?
Brian Buccellatto: I’m not sure that there is any additional freedom with skipping five years ahead, when the rest of the DC universe is skipping with you. The status quo changes, but needing to weave your story within the new continuity doesn’t. It’s fun to extrapolate what has happened in those five years and build off of that, but I wouldn’t say it means more freedom.
N: From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Batman will be teaming up with The Riddler. What is that dynamic like?
BB: Batman is not Riddler’s friend and doesn’t want to work with him AT ALL. Riddler is allegedly reformed in the future, but Bats remembers every single one of Riddler’s transgressions and wouldn’t be working with him if he didn’t have to. That said, Riddler still tries to be playful and enjoy the team-up.
N: How do the events of “Zero Year” and Detective Comics Annual tee up what’s going to go down in Detective Comics: Future’s End? What can readers expect?
BB: Both storylines play directly into what is happening… The annual tee’d up the main villain of this story with the origin of Calendar Man, who is threatening to recreate Zero Year if he doesn’t get what he wants. You don’t need to have read those to understand and enjoy this story, but it will certainly add value if you have.
N: Is the Riddler more challenging than others to write because of the nature of his character? Were you like, “Damn it, now I need to come up with all these riddles?”
BB: One hundred percent. Coming up with riddles is HARD… especially on the heels of Scott Snyder’s amazing Zero Year run which set the bar for a modern Riddler story. You won’t find any earth shattering, mind-bending riddles in this story… BUT there is a cool twist at the end that comes in the form of a riddle.
N: Writing a one-shot, to me, seems almost more challenging than writing a narrative arc because it has to be so self-contained. Do you find one to be more challenging than the other?
BB: Absolutely. It’s much greater challenge to tell a complete story in 20-22 pages than it is when you have the luxury of multiple issues. Personally, I think the storytelling IS creative problem solving, so I always welcome these challenges. It’s REALLY satisfying when you solve those problems and are happy with the results. Some of the favorite stories that I have written were self-contained one issue stories (Flash #0, Flash Annual #2, Detective Comics Annual #3).
N: You’re working with Scott Hepburn on this book. As a colorist and artist yourself, do you find that makes it easier to work with other artists or do you prefer to be in control of every aspect?
BB: I’m not really sure if it’s easier or harder. When it comes to art, I’m not in the same league as the artists I have had the great fortune to work with (shout outs to Francis and Scott). It’s always a team effort and I understand my place in each partnership. Perhaps my art background allows me a more visual perspective than someone who doesn’t have my skillset, but i don’t put myself above the artists who know their craft a heck of a lot better than I.
N: Since Hepburn was working on the Annual, did that make for an easier working relationship for crafting the one-shot?
BB: I’ve worked with Scott on multiple projects and feel extremely fortunate and comfortable that he applies his talents to my scripts. I guess what is easier about it is that I don’t have to worry AT ALL about what the pages are going to look like. He’s great at translating my words into art.
N: Quick: it’s five years in the future. Who do you team up with to save the day?
BB: Easy. My son, Paris. Five years from now he’ll be 19 and ready to kick the world in the…
And now, here’s a preview as for what’s in store for Batman and the Riddler in Detective Comics: Future’s End #1
DC Comics’ Detective Comics: Future’s End #1 is available now