The summer of 2018 is turning into the season for superhero weddings. And there’s none bigger than the union between Batman and Catwoman, which will take place in Batman #50. Fans will have to wait until Wednesday, July 4, to see if writer Tom King and an all-star lineup of artists will go through with the Batrimony without any last minute twists. But this month, King’s former collaborator, Tim Seeley, is exploring the reactions of Batman’s family and friends in a series of one-shots. Each week, Seeley and five different artists are teaming up for Batman: Prelude to the Wedding, which features some very surprising clashes between the Bat family and their infamous villains.
SYFY WIRE recently caught up with Seeley, who cited his experience co-writing Grayson with King as the primary reason he was chosen to create the stories that might otherwise have gone untold.
“I worked with Tom on Grayson,” said Seeley. “He and I have had a pretty good relationship since then. It's one of those things where we kind of needed someone who could anticipate what Tom was thinking, and I was probably the only guy for the job that can anticipate that guy's mind. So Jamie [S. Rich] called me and asked how we [could] line these up so that we give good character moments that we don't have time for in the main Batman book as we deal with the wedding stuff.
Seeley added that the heroes and villains for each one-shot were picked largely by their respective reactions to the wedding and how the news would affect them.
“We just went through the line and decided which characters represented these [reactions] the best. Starting with the hero, and then picking a villain that's a perfect reflection of that... Obviously, we've seen some degree of Joker's story. For everyone else, it becomes: What's the reason that would impact them the most? For Ra's al Ghul, it's a question about legacy and family, and that fits in really well with Damian [Wayne]... We got Brad Walker on the Robin story because it's very action [oriented].”
In the Nightwing vs. Hush one-shot, Seeley forced both of the title characters to question their place in Batman’s life now that he’s getting hitched.
“For Nightwing, there's a question of who's going to be the best man? And ‘is that a responsibility for me because I'm the closest?’ And that also fits in really well with Hush.”
The third one-shot, Batgirl vs. Riddler, brought together a heroine and a villain who have rarely faced each other before.
“I'd never seen [Batgirl vs. Riddler],” admitted Seeley. “I thought I did, and I looked through as many back issues as I could. And I've never actually seen them encounter each other except in the Batman '66 TV show. But it totally makes sense. They're both puzzle solving, really intelligent people who we've never really seen have a successful relationship. For them, it's a question about the way they ask so many questions and always turn everything into a riddle. Have they been doing that with their own lives with their romantic relationships? That's how we play them off each other.
“Minkyu Jung drew the Batgirl story, which is a straight forward action comic and detective puzzles thing, which he's really good at,” added Seeley. “To me, Riddler only cares about the puzzle. He's not necessarily the crazy guy like Joker, or the evil guy. But we do play up [his aggression]. This is a Riddler who is irredeemable, and that's something he has to deal with because he's done things that are pretty [extreme].”
The next pairing, Red Hood vs. Anarchy, was somewhat unexpected. But Seeley saw some parallels between the two that he wanted to explore in this series.
“[Red Hood and Anarchy] are actually similar guys, so we made the story about that,” said Seeley. “We've got Javier Fernandez doing the Red Hood one, and he can do a darker, grittier style that fits that story.
“It's the Rebirth stuff, so I can play with stories from the past,” added Seeley. “To me, what made that interesting is that Red Hood is the bad seed of the family, to some degree. And I can play that against Anarchy, who in some ways, could be a fallen member of the Bat family. The way that James [Tynion] played Anarky in Detective Comics is he shared a lot of the same goals and motivations with the [Gotham Knights] team, but he's also a guy who has a tendency to run afoul of Batman's beliefs.”
Finally, Seeley is closing out his Batman wedding prelude with a rematch between the Joker and Harley Quinn.
“That one is probably my favorite out of all of them because it doesn't seem immediately like this Harley has a relationship to the Bat-family that makes sense. But it totally plays out pretty well with the Joker/Harley relationship because to her, she represents everything that can go wrong in a relationship. The manipulation, the abuse, all of the bad stuff. To her, Catwoman is finally finding something ideal and kind of perfect. To Harley, it's a fairy tale. So she does not want the Joker to mess this up the way he messed up her life. Then we get to play it like a revenge movie. It's very dark and twisted, but I think plays out nicely with the themes of the story.
“Sammy Bazire is the artist on the Harley one,” added Seeley. “Sammy does really, really great figure acting. Harley's the star of that book, and he gets [across] all of the emotional stuff she goes through in that story.”
Given Seeley’s experience with Grayson and his subsequent run on Nightwing, he may be an ideal choice to take over the main Batman book when King finishes his run. And while Seeley seemed game for the challenge when asked about it, he also pointed out why Batman is such a difficult comic to write.
“Batman is the cadillac of superhero comics, but it's also the hardest book to write because all eyes are on you,” noted Seeley. “I love what Tom's doing on it. I like to read it as a reader. Even though I know Tom's stuff so well, I can disconnect myself and read it just as a fan, which is great. But who would turn down Batman, ever? When it comes up, I always heed the call and write some Bat stuff.”
The first four Batman: Prelude to the Wedding one-shots are in stores now. The finale, Batman: Prelude to the Wedding - Harley Quinn vs. the Joker #1 will be released on Wednesday, June 27.