Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo delivered arguably the greatest villain DC Comics has seen in the last ten years with the creation of the utterly terrifying monstrosity that is The Batman Who Laughs. All of Batman’s abilities and none of his morals, The Batman Who Laughs single-handedly took down every super hero on his earth and then did the same on ours. The entire multiverse nearly fell before his horrifying laughter.
That was just a few years ago in the events of Dark Nights: Metal and now Snyder and Capullo are doing it again, but even worse this time, in the follow-up sequel, Dark Nights: Death Metal. It wasn’t enough for Snyder that The Batman Who Laughs has conquered earth and killed or imprisoned all of DC’s best and brightest heroes. No, he had to take it a step further by corrupting one of the most beloved members of the Bat-family, Robin.
You may have already heard rumblings about The Batman Who Laugh’s newest disciple, well now it’s time to meet him — The Robin King. Today during day two of the DC @ Home panel, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo discussed the fearsome Robin King with DC Comics Executive Editor Marie Javins.
*Warning: This article has quotes from a panel with Scott Snyder, so naturally, he let some spoilers slip (it was Greg’s fault too) for Dark Nights: Death Metal*
Marie: [laughs] So #3 is going to come out in just a week or two and how are we going to turn it up to eleven?
Scott: I mean every issue, I want this to be the one where we leave it all on the stage. For us, we have a lot of things that we want to do out in the world as a team, and coming back to do a sequel for Metal, even though it was always in the plan, is kind of the big finale of our kind of over the top DC event. It’s ten times bigger, honestly, than Metal. You’re going to have an army of Lobo’s, and a whole evil multiverse and all kinds of stuff popping out that you never expected to see.
So #3 itself, you meet the Robin King, that’s a really big one. He was kind of born in issue #2, but you see him for the first time in issue #3 really interact with the heroes.
Marie: Looks like we’re going to see him right now. (As Capullo holds up a sketch of the Robin King)
Scott: That’s actually from issue #4, so that’s a big spoiler. And he’s holding somebody’s severed head, without giving anything away.
Greg: Oh here it comes, here it comes! Oh! THAT’S NASTY! That’s the embodiment of 2020 right there! Right there! Ehee-hee hee-hee!
Scott: But I love him because I’m writing him right now and the thing that’s great about him is his whole history–you’ll learn: who he is, what his secret is, all that stuff. I’ve seen a lot of speculation. But I love him because he’s cheery and he pops out, the JSA sees him, Flash, Doctor Fate and everyone, and they say “Wow who are you supposed to be kid?” And Flash is like “Wow that belt is a choice,” and the Robin King is like “Yeah thank you so much! Good morning! You know I worked really hard on the belt. It actually contains a way of killing every one of your friends and I worked on it for years!” So he’s like, “You, you Barry, I actually dug up in my world your dead mom and I stuffed her into one of your little god damn Flash rings. Here you want to see her body?”
And then he turns to Alan Scott the other Green Lantern and says “And you, on my world I hunted down both of your children, I cremated them, and I made this composite out of their ashes and I powered it with a black power ring. So it cancels out your powers and I can beat you to death with it!”
So he’s like this ten year old kid and he’s very evil and definitely one of our darkest creations. But I love him because I feel as though what I want the heroes to go up against is something that says everything you believe us to be, people, we aren’t. You want representations of that, like The Batman Who Laughs and with the Robin King. The eviler and the darker the villain, the more the heroes are challenged by what they see in human nature, so it becomes harder and harder to be hopeful.
So he’s not just evil to make him incredibly dark and evil, and I mean, he is though things, but it is also meant to be something that hits you in a way that’s poignant. And he says to them “all of your hopes, all of your aspirations for us and for you, they’re just nothing and I’ll show you why.” So he’s a very spooky kid.