- Oct 19, 2009
- Reaction score
As just announced at FanExpo Canada, DC Comics is launching a brand new version of the Justice League of America in 2013! Written by Justice League's Geoff Johns, and pencilled by Batman: The Dark Knight's David Finch, the title brings together a disparate group of heroes under the leadership of Steve Trevor to fight the Secret Society of Super Villains. We had a chance to sit down and talk with Geoff Johns and David Finch about the title - which will be running side by side with Justice League - in advance of the reveal, and found out more about the line-up (hey, there's Vibe and Stargirl!), how they come together, and why this might be the start of something even bigger:
MTV Geek: Geoff, David, thanks for chatting... Other than David doing covers, this is the first time you two have worked together, right?
Geoff Johns: Yeah, Im super excited about that!
David Finch: Ive been wanting to work with him for a long time.
GJ: I think I met you at Toronto, it must of been seven years ago or something.
DF: I remember, we were walking back from the convention.
GJ: We were talking about working on something together someday, and lucky seven years later, were doing it!
Geek: So then how did this end up being the right project? Why Justice League of America?
GJ: I think they knew we wanted to work together on something, we were talking about the book, and I think David, they approached you about doing a book like this?
DF: I really wanted to work with you, so that was really the only criteria. [Laughs] When I heard about the book, I was very excited, and Ive loved everything Ive seen so far. Its just so cool.
Geek: Im pretty excited about the roster for the team, but before we get to that, whats the idea of the book? Why do they get together?
GJ: The idea of why the JLA forms, and what it is, and what its in reaction to... It kind of spins out of Justice League #12; what happens in that, and then subsequent issues, because JLA comes out next year some time. But the book itself is a group of heroes that arent necessarily coming together because they want to be together... Theyve been selected specifically. They all want, or need something that Steve Trevor, and the other person behind the scenes thats in charge of this team can provide.
The first arc is going to deal with something they learn is called The Secret Society of Super-Villains.
Geek: Im curious, how specific is the Of America part of the title?
GJ: Its specific because its run by A.R.G.U.S. They have a team they feel they can now control. Whether or not that ends up being the case is up for debate.
Geek: From your side of things, how did this team come together?
GJ: We talked about characters that were League members, like Green Arrow and Hawkman that felt like they belonged... Characters that were unexpected, like Vibe and Catwoman. Obviously, Martian Manhunter is a big piece of it, and we hinted about this team back in Justice League #8, both with Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, and Steve Trevor. And Katana was a new character. Stargirl is coming back, obviously a character that I have a huge affinity for. And then the new Green Lantern.
DF: For me, it was much more important to know who the characters were in their head, and be able to talk to Geoff about where the characters are coming from, and what theyre about. I know from my one experience drawing this kind of book that it makes all the difference for me when I can believe in the characters as people.
Geek: Is there anything different for you about drawing a team book like this, versus a solo book like Dark Knight?
DF: Any solo book Ive ever done has been a Batman-ish kind of book. I feel Im not so much going from multiple characters from a single character, so much as something thats a little more real world, and brighter, and broad, to something thats dark, angry... Already in the first couple of pictures Ive done for this one, I feel like Im enjoying it a lot more than Batman, which is killing me! I love being able to draw a character like Batman, but its so great to draw Stargirl, whos smiling... A range of colorful people. Its a lot more muscles to flex, I guess.
GJ: The characters that are selected like Stargirl, and Vibe, and Green Arrow, they have a lot of personality. If you remember the first couple of issues of Justice League, with their larger than life personalities, and the development... This takes it to the fifteenth degree, because were dealing with characters that are... Like, you dont know where Vibe is coming from. Hes recruited to the JLA by his older brother, and he says, Why would they want me? Im just this kid from Detroit. Ive stopped three liquor store robberies, and one was by mistake. His brother looks at him and says, Maybe they see potential in you that you and I dont see. And hes like, Thanks a lot.
So you get these weird characters that are unexpected, and theyre thrust into the forefront of Justice League of America... Youll see why theyre selected, and why this team is going to give the real Justice League a run for its money; because the relationships in this team are going to be incredibly significant. Theres going to be a real learning curve with all the teams, but has the benefit of a true leader in Steve Trevor. Steve Trevor has a heart and soul thats going to bring these characters that, on first glance, might not ever gel - what does Stargirl ever have in common with Catwoman? Hows that going to work?
Geek: Its also probably going to be tough for Steve to lead since he died in Justice League #11, right?
GJ: [Laughs] Exactly.
Geek: Lets talk about the characters a bit... I think I was the most excited to see Stargirl coming back, and you writing her again. Whats the take on her? Is this the same Courtney Whitmore we know and love?
GJ: Yeah, it is! Shes slightly different... She is the opposite of Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes. She is this real, All-American, wholesome superhero from Hollywood that is a phenomenon out in Los Angeles. She got her start on Hollywood Boulevard, she is incredibly altruistic, and idealistic. She is probably the one hero that goes against everything that the Paris Hilton generation is. Thats where she comes from, so she brings a different voice, a different perspective to the team.
Shes younger, probably seventeen or eighteen years old. Shes very exuberant, positive, optimistic... Youll learn a little bit more about her background and why she became Stargirl, and how shes connected to another superhero named Starman... Pat Duggan will be in there. Its very true to the original origins of Stargirl, but I think shes even more relevant now. And I love that if she has an article on TMZ? Its only positive.
Geek: On the other end of the spectrum, the character I was most surprised to see in there was Catwoman. How does she end up in the mix?
GJ: Catwoman is a very different perspective, and is brought in for a very different reason. She stays because they have something that she wants... And its not at all what youd expect. Its not a big diamond, its not a get out of jail free card, its something shes been searching for thats going to lead to a whole exploration of a side of Selina Kyle we havent yet seen.
But she is going to have a lot of fun on the team, she is going to be the Veronica to Stargirls Betty, if you will, and she has a new dynamic because we havent really seen her interact much with all these characters. Some of them not at all, like Vibe, and Stargirl... Theres not a lot of interaction between her and Martian Manhunter, and I dont think shes ever interacted with Steve Trevor that I can remember. Catwoman has a very different reason for being on the team.
Geek: Whos the Archie then? Is Martian Manhunter the Archie stuck in the middle of Catwomans Veronica, and Stargirls Betty?
GJ: Oh no, Martian Manhunter isnt the Archie. You saw how David draws Martian Manhunter, hes as imposing as they come. If theres an Archie, its probably Steve. And Reggie is definitely Oliver Queen.
Geek: Im trying to figure out whos Jughead then.
GJ: Thats Vibe. Thats easy. [Laughs] We could do this all day, I mean, Hawkmans Moose...
Geek: [Laughs] Okay, so what can you tell us about where you going to be sending these guys in the first couple of issues?
GJ: Its funny, the book feels very much like JSA, because theres a lot of character interaction, a lot of characters that arent necessarily the A-List, which is always really fun to work with... I love working with non A-List characters. And having David draw those, they become A-List. So if you look at Davids art, and this has influenced the book tremendously, he has this great power to his figures, this very great superhero art...
But if you look at The Dark Knight, he also has these fantastic emotions, and getting emotion out of the characters, really seeing these characters on a journey together; the book is going to have a tone that is JSA, the original Ostrander Suicide Squad, which was very character driven, and again utilized characters we dont necessarily see together a lot. Those are the two biggest influences on where the book is going.
And then theres things were going to do, like Martian Manhunter, we really want to set him up as one of the most, not just powerful, but also influential characters in the DC Universe, and you dont even know it - theres a lot to be revealed about that. So the book really has a lot of layers, and the first arc will have them tackling something that... All they know is that the word on the street is that its called The Secret Society of Super Villains. This will be an exercise in team building, and working together, and how different personalities have to rise to that occasion.
Geek: Youre still going to be writing Justice League ongoing, at the same time as JLA, correct?
Geek: So whats the coordination between those titles, and potentially Justice League Dark going to be like?
GJ: Brian Cunningham is the Editor, and he edits all of those, so all three of the books - and I talk to Jeff Lemire a ton, Jeff is a fantastic writer - but all three of those books will be set in the same universe, and things will be tying into one another. Weve got some plans for that, but I dont want to get too ahead of ourselves yet, though.
One of the main goals for JLA when we launch this is to establish a cohesive team, and the relationships for that team, before we go into any big stories or crossovers, or anything like that.
Geek: So I hesitate to ask this then, but with three Justice League teams, if they were to go to war, that might be some sort of... Trinity War, you might call it?
GJ: It could be, but youre a little off. Hows that for an answer?
Geek: Pretty good, Ill take it! [Laughs] Just to start wrapping up here a bit, David, what are you looking forward to on the art end of things?
DF: I love the fact that its not every single most popular character in the company, its characters that dont really have the same kind of exposure some of them? So it really gives us a chance to define those characters, and put our stamp on them. Thats really exciting to me. The chance to take them, make them larger than life, but also we get real, and grounded, and as believable as we can make it. Everything Ive seen so far, its going to be a lot of fun.
GJ: I love characters that are more obscure. On Justice League, Shazam will be joining, and the team dynamics will be changing quite a bit on that team, but this is going to be such a great opportunity to work on characters like Katana, who I think is such a great asset, and getting deeper into characters like Vibe... Reintroducing Stargirl... Seeing the new Green Lantern with Green Arrow, and revisiting that relationship with Green Arrow and Hawkman, because we think we know it, we think theyre always at odds... And we want to turn it on its head a little bit, and delve into it more, and see what makes those two characters tick, to find out theres something in common they both have despite their differences.
So creating dynamics between these characters, and really making it a character driven, intense, intriguing book... One of the words I have on the outline for the series is intrigue. What I mean by that is I always want you to wonder why. Why is this happening, what is their motivation, what are they after, what do they need, what do they want? I just look forward to writing a book that harkens to some of my favorite team books, and mystery books... And hopefully its something that you wont know what to expect, and when you get it youll think its what it should be, but you never could have imagined it.
And theres a big twist in the first issue that I dont want to spoil, but it will explain exactly whats happening, and what the team is doing, and everything else.
Justice League of America launches from DC Comics in 2013!