Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I knew writing this issue would be a departure from what most of the Unhinged stories were. As well as a great risk to keeping the audience's attention.

We'd had plenty of villain centered stories as well as Batman in action. But this one would be mostly the opposite. Very little Batman, and relying heavily on some minor characters and flashbacks to before the game. Still I felt it necessary as the series continued, to try to find ways to bring in some of the lesser used side characters and try to breathe some life into them.
This one also took a little more legwork than normal. I remember when Azrael debuted in comics decades back, but I never kept track or followed the character since that time, as it became a different user under the mask. And it would be that different iteration of the character in the game itself. He had such a small role as just a side mission in the game, and sort of vaguely cryptic in his appearances, that I wasn't sure if there would be a chance to use him in any Unhinged story. But I remember early on that it was a character that readers and fans of the game were interested in seeing more of, so it was something in the back of my mind as I was trying to develop a story for him. It just conveniently worked out that his origin could tie in with another minor character in the game, when they both were cops in Gotham.

I liked the idea of the church being this fortified safe haven in the game. That various people that Batman saved or those seeking shelter, would hole up inside the church. And even on these hallowed grounds, it would turn into a last stand against the outside forces trying to assault the compound. In the game, you'd see all these characters that you might talk to briefly (Vicky Vale, Mayor Sharp, the cops) and here we'd get to see what might play out in the game with all of them there and Batman not around to help.

Part of the fun of writing these stories is some of the confrontations and battles that never showed up in the game. Almost like you're building your own fight card of heroes verses villains. It's how we had Bane fight Grundy in an earlier issue, and once again we'd have Bane now fight Azrael here. Sadly, Bane became very one-note in the game itself, which I ended up carrying over to these stories as well. I wanted to remain as true to the game version as I could, even if I didn't really like that version displayed. He was less of a smart and powerful strategist, and more of a drug obsessed roided out thug. But you sometimes just have to work with what you're given.

In the end, this story might've been my least favorite of my run. Usually I think writers rarely voice that opinion or if they do, they might feel that way if they're forced to write a certain story by their editors. But that wasn't the case here, since I brought this one to them. Now that time has passed since its completion and I can look back in hindsight, I'm not entirely sure if I was able to accurately convey what my original intent was. The newer Azrael has a convoluted back history that I was unsure I could properly cover in what little space I had or if I should. But like most of the Unhinged stories, they would be 30-page, 1-and-done issues. So even if the results weren't as expected, there would always be another story for the next issue.

Our artist, Jheremy Raapack, did a fantastic job in this issue. He found a way to humanize the backstory, while also individualizing the cops and medical workers, as well as an army of inmate gang members as they tried to break into the church. His gritty detailed style really worked well for this type of story, and fans are now getting to see him continue with that style over in the digital Injustice: Gods Among Us stories.

Funny side note…for some reason, during the early stages of drawing pencil layouts for the story, Jheremy ended up mistaking Killer Croc for Bane. While Croc had the briefest of flashback cameos in our story, I think he must've just continued with him in mind for whatever reason. But then it was quickly pointed out by the editor that it was Bane in the script. He then drew the correct villain for the story. These are the crazy inner-workings the audience doesn't see happen as these stories are created. But thought it would be fun to show what some of those original Croc rough layouts looked like. Would've made for a fun story in itself, but Bane had more purpose for why he was in the story than Croc.


  1. This is where I started reading Unhinged on a regular basis, so although this is your least favorite it holds a bit of a soft spot in my mind. I first got on board with your work with Justice League Beyond and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to explore more of your writing and on CBR you were kind enough to offer suggestions for further reading.
    It's been a fun journey so far and it's one I look forward to continuing each week.

    1. Much thanks as always for checking out the work.

  2. Man, after being all warm and squishy yesterday I'm really bumbed out today. I just read on IGN that you and Dustin were being replaced on JL Beyond. I hope that means its onwards and upwards and you guys have some really great projects lined up.

    1. Dustin's been gone after the first "Konstriction" story arc, to move onto Li'l Gotham. So that was awhile back. He did do an origin story that will run later, but he wasn't continuing on the book after "Konstriction".

      There's still a few more stories still to see print before the new crew comes onboard. I'll probably have more to say after my run is over.

  3. Ah, I had noticed his departure and figured it was due to the larger commitment to Li'l Gotham but I think I had hoped he'd be back sooner or later.

    At any rate, I'm enjoying the current story line a lot and I look forward to what ever else you put out in the future.