In the last few issues of Batman Beyond, readers have gotten a slew of surprises – the disappearance of Tim Drake, the return of both Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne, and Dana discovering Terry’s secret identity.
But at the end of Batman Beyond #5, readers found out that one of the small, side characters in the storyline was actually the Joker.
And according to Batman Beyond writer Dan Jurgens, there are plenty more surprises coming, as the book begins a new storyline in March 22’s Batman Beyond #6 that features the villain Ra’s Al Ghul. Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about his plans for the Joker in the future, how recent developments will change the book, and how else “Rebirth” might tie into Batman Beyond.
Newsarama: Wow, Dan, you certainly sprung a surprise on readers at the end of last week’s issue. Was the return of Joker a “resurrection” you’ve been planning for awhile?
Dan Jurgens: Bringing the Joker back was definitely one of the things I had in mind for a while.
One of the things that made Rebirth work for Batman Beyond was the idea of returning Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne to their proper places. However, I wanted to build another surprise into the Bruce Wayne story and that was bringing back the Joker as well.
Given the characters, it seems fitting. Especially since the Jokerz, a group of Jokeresque acolytes, have always been a part of the story. What better way to give them importance than by giving them their idol back?
Nrama: Will we find out where the Joker has been all this time?
Jurgens: Eventually, perhaps. I think the Joker is a somewhat better character when he’s shrouded in mystery and we don’t know every aspect of his life.
Nrama: The end of the issue said “The beginning…”; is the next “chapter” of Joker’s story in the future already planned by you?
Jurgens: There are a couple of things I have in mind, but our next story takes us in a different direction. There are many facets of Terry, Bruce, and their future world that I want to explore.
Nrama: Now that Bruce is back, how does that change the dynamic of the book?
Jurgens: Terry was very isolated when he came back to put on the Batman suit. Bringing Bruce back allows us to not only continue to concentrate on Terry, but to explore a different aspect of his personality through his relationship with Bruce.
Terry McGinnis is most certainly not Bruce Wayne, yet both have been identified as Batman. So the question becomes, how well can Terry do the job when he’s not as driven as Bruce?
And as part of that, how does Bruce treat him?
Nrama: Will Max and Matt even be part of Terry’s team anymore?
Jurgens: Max and Matt will absolutely be part of the team going forward. That’s actually one of the things that Bruce has to adjust to, and it isn’t necessarily easy for him.
Nrama: Those aren’t the only big changes in the book -Dana is aware of his life as Batman. How does that affect the story that’s coming up?
Jurgens: Terry’s relationship with Dana touches on one of the things I talked about earlier, which is the way that his life is different than Bruce Wayne’s. I don’t see Terry being as driven as Bruce, and that makes him a substantially different Batman.
Again – the whole idea is to explore these characters through the ways they interact with each other.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the next big story, that teases Ra’s Al Ghul?
Jurgens: The world 40-some years from now is a very different kind of place – one that offers tremendous opportunity for Ra’s.
And I think we all know that when Ra’s has an opening, he’s the kind of guy who seizes on it.