1. Batman is an Action Horror Superhero Comic.
This is going to be the guiding principle for the story we’re telling, on every page of the book. This should feel like a scary book. The villains are Action Horror villains, and when Batman arrives on the page, he should feel scarier than all of them. I’m going to try and push every scene from a horror angle, and I hope you do the same. If any beat seems too ordinary, come at it from a scarier angle.
2. Gotham is under construction. It is becoming something new.
Gotham City is the Nightmare of New York City. I want to get back to that a bit. Part of how to do that, I think is with a bunch of cranes and half-built buildings jutting up into the sky… There’s a looming strangeness to all of that. Big spotlights. Big strange machinery looming, larger than life. Strange dusty fog in the air from 24/hour construction. Every time we see the city, we should see it under construction. Derelict buildings boarded up with signs saying that new developments are coming. But even the people should feel a bit under construction, to carry that forward thematically. They have broken arms, casts. Bandages. They wrap their faces to avoid the industrial smog. They have bruises and scars. Thematically, everyone is hurt, and healing, but the healing might make them different than they were before. With only one exception (the new Wayne Enterprises HQ), nothing is sleek and finished. Everything is in a transitional state, and we should FEEL that.
3. Bruce Wayne is pushing himself to his absolute limits.
Alfred was Bruce’s safety brakes. He made sure he ate. Slept. Socialized a little… Those brakes are now gone. Bruce is operating at 100MPH in every aspect of his life. Out of costume, we should see the deep shadows under his eyes. His intensity has dialed up by a factor of ten. He’s fighting angrier. Still deliberate and methodical, he’s not QUITE unhinged, but he’s fast approaching unhinged. There should be the sense both in costume and out of it that Bruce is pushing himself too far.
4. Gadgets Gadgets Gadgets
This is the culmination of the first three points, and something you’ll be seeing a lot over these issues. Batman’s costume hasn’t changed, but all of his tools have been redesigned and upgraded. These should be an extension of the action horror angle and Bruce pushing himself to his limits. Bruce’s mind is a frightening place right now and it is creating frightening things. Everything from a Batarang up to new Bat-Vehicles need to look nightmarish, and part of the action horror nightmare city that is Gotham in 2020.