Batman has officially changed hands. Following "Batman: Rebirth," "The Vision" scribe Tom King has taken the reins of the "Batman" solo title from longtime writer Scott Snyder ("All-Star Batman") -- and this isn't the only major shakeup for DC Comics' Bat-titled. Julie and Shawna Benson have launched an all-new "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" book, while James Tynion IV helms "Detective Comics." Together, these Bat-writers took the stage at Comic-Con Internation in San Diego to offer fans an exclusive first look at the Dark Knight's future. "Batman" group editor Mark Doyle introduced the writers as they took the stage.
"I was working on 'Batman' with Greg [Capullo] -- he says hi -- and... he wanted to sort of try something different for a bit before he comes back to do stuff with me... So I came up with this idea where I investigate all the villains I never got to use," Snyder said of "All-Star Batman." "There are some superstars like John Romita, Jock... and some newcomers, like Afua Richardson."
"I was left to do something that was more like off-roading with Batman in the Batmobile," he continued. "Our version of Two-Face... looks at you with this sort of blood red eye." He explained that Two-Face will be a secret-keeper of Gotham.
"I read a lot of scripts... and 'All-Star Batman' #1 is the best script I've ever read," King shared. "Honestly."
"This is a series where every weird villain [shows up]," Snyder added. "A big villain in this is KGBeast."
"We had this argument over whether Batman is funny or not. I think he's just mean!" he said as he explained his first issue of "All-Star Batman." "I just got to shout out John Romita on this book... We're having such a good time. Dean White -- the colors are out of control."
"Another part of the book is the backups about Duke Thomas. It's like the secret life of Robin," he revealed, praising Jordie Bellaire's work on it.
Doyle then handed the microphone over to King. "Mikel [Janin] is my brother -- we did 'Grayson' together... so when I think comics, I think Mikel in my mind. We're doing something unique with 'Batman' with the double-ship... and when we stepped up to the double-ship, we committed to... giving you the quality without missing one deadline," King promised. "David Finch is doing five issues, and Mikel is doing five issues [for the next story arc]. At the end of the year, you will have three complete trades with three complete stories."
He also revealed that Cyborg and Flash will show up in "Batman," though he offered no details about what they would be doing in the issue.
"The idea behind Batman that I wanted to do -- I grew up with the animated series -- so David and I got on the phone," King said, explaining that they both wanted to do a classic Batmobile based on "Batman: The Animated Series."
"So Scott and I were at a con drinking scotch from a bottle, and we literally played like a game show because we're crazy nerds. And we were like, 'What hasn't been done with Batman?'" King recalled. "It was a challenge. The thing with mine is that... when a writer gets Batman, they introduce a villain." He went on to explain that he wanted to take the opposite route and introduce a hero instead, and thus Gotham and Gotham Girl were born.
As to "Detective Comics," Tynion praised the return to the series' original number as a way to honor the title's legacy. "It means the world, especially because it's a tremendous honor to take part in that legacy and also because it's a challenge... you have to try to do something new and different and exciting," he shared.
"The biggest thing I wanted when I was a kid was a Batman team book," he said. "There are a lot of incredible 'Detective' stories that have always been the 'other' 'Batman' title... I wanted to do something about how he relates to each other characters in the Batman family."
He went on to describe why Batwoman was so central to the series, referencing her relation to Bruce Wayne and why they function of the nucleus of the title.
This book is my dream book. This is what I've wanted to do with Gotham city since I was a teenager," he shared. "I'm just so excited -- and just look at this art! [Eddie Barrows] is doing the work of his career... I'm just so honored to be a part of this team... it's passion on every page."
King praised Tnyion's work, comparing it to the "soap opera feel" of the original "Uncanny X-Men" series.
"Clayface is one of the most fascinating villains to me. He serves so many purposes... you want a character who's striking on a cover next to everyone," Tynion shared, adding that Clayface can perform "Black Ops"-esque missions due to this shapeshifting abilities. "The heart of the character is a man who went down the wrong path."
"Clayface will be one of your favorite Batman characters for the rest of your lives when you're finished reading this series," he concluded.
"Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" came up next. "Who is Oracle? Well, Oracle is a big part of Barbara's background... We wanted to get her focused on a mission that would be personal," said Benson. "Having that being the focus felt organic to what already happened in the past. It's so cool to go back to the original three [Batgirl, Huntress and Black Canary]... It's been really, really fun... [Batman] may or may not show up."
"Claire Roe is so rock-and-roll," she said of the artwork. "She's just killing it... It really is a good marriage between the art and what we're trying to do."
"All three of these characters are coming from their own individual books... so getting to bring all those women together into one book is a lot of fun," Benson shared. "We kind of just took the ball that was going and just running with it."
Steve Orlando, who had been sitting in the audience, then joined the stage to discuss "Batman: Night of the Monster Men."
"The first scene with Hugo [Strange] is he's completely naked," Orlando said. "Hugo is like Batman without the tragedy. He want to perfect his body and mind; he thinks he's the only sane person in Gotham... They perfectly contrast each other."
"It's always amazing reading Steve's script... like what I could accomplish in three issues, he gets in one," Tynion said. "We wanted to go with the biggest, funnest, craziest things we could give you guys, and I think we got it."
Asked if Batman will meet Midnighter, Orlando said, "I would do all those things in a second... As you saw 'Midnighter and Apollo,' there's a plan for these characters. If you raise your voice enough, anything is possible. Keep letting us know you want this."
"If you are a Tim Drake fan, you are going to be very excited," Tynion teased.
As to whether Spoiler and Orphan will join "Birds of Prey," Benson said, "We would love to add more characters to the Bird of Prey... If we can steal them from James!"
"These woman just happen to do a lot of punching," Benson said of "Birds of Prey." "It's important to make these woman sexy without being sexualized, to make sure they don't fall into things like cat-fighting... that's not who they are."
"They respect each other," Benson added. "I think that's how women usually react. We might disagree, but we totally respect that opinion."
"What I love about DC is that they're totally behind this. The opportunity to give them a voice is unreal... I think people are ready for this."