At DC Comics' relaunch party in Times Square last night, we caught up with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, the creative team behind DC Comics' brand new Justice League comic. With Justice League hitting the stands today, io9 asked the creators about the issue's big reveals. Spoilers on!
What prior incarnations of the Justice League inspired you when assembling this team?
Geoff Johns: I love Grant Morrison's run, and I grew up on Keith Giffen's run. I'm trying to find a balance between the humor and humanity of Giffen's run and the epic action of Grant's run, but do our own spin. I want to make the book a lot of fun to read.
You've been writing Green Lantern for years, but in the first issue of Justice League, we see a very arrogant Hal Jordan bested by Batman. How was it going back and writing Green Lantern as a bit of a novice?
GJ: I love it! He's annoying as hell. I love that personality combined with Batman. It's really fun to turn the clock back on these characters. You do see a hint of his reputation when he apologizes to Batman. But he really thinks that his green ring is unstoppable, and Batman's not sure what he thinks of people with powers.
One of the biggest changes in Justice League is that you explicitly connect the transformation of Cyborg to the history of the Justice League. How did that decision come around?
GJ: Vic Stone is one of our better characters and most 21st century characters. You'll see his story unfold in Justice League. We're upping the ante on Cyborg, and he's very thematic given the amount of powerful digital technology we use everyday. He'll act as the communication guy between the entire team.
Aquaman's got a key position in this new Justice League, and you'll also be writing his new book. Why Aquaman, and why now?
GJ: One of the things I really wanted to play up was addressing all the perceptions of Aquaman right away. If I ask you what Aquaman does, what do you say?
He talks with fish.
GJ: Exactly. In the first issue of Aquaman, he's definitely a bad-ass, but the world at large doesn't necessarily believe that.
The first issue of Justice League ends with the first meeting of Batman and Superman. That's a tall order for any writer.
GJ: Can you remember the first time Batman and Superman ever met? That's what we're trying to do — make these memories stick so that you remember when Flash and Superman met, when Wonder Woman and Green Lantern met. This is a story where their meetings and their personalities mean more than anything else.
Next up, we spoke with Justice League artist and DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee. During our conversation, I also made my pitch for the return of a DC character absolutely nobody's asking for.
In Justice League, we get our first look at some Darkseid's minions, and they have a very Wildstorm look about them. Could we perhaps be seeing some Daemonite action?
Jim Lee: With the Parademons, we wanted to make them look not human at all — they're aliens and that's something that had to be played up. They might look one way with organic muscle and then transform. When you're dealing with Apokolips, you have to really make it scary. Maybe there are some similarities [with the Daemonites], but it wasn't intentional. Or was it? I don't know!
Speaking of which, what's Darkseid going to look like when his mug shows up?
JL: The take on Darkseid is very different, the way he talks and interacts. He's not as garrulous. Basically he will look different, but we do something eerier and more alien than before. He does maintain that majestic epicness that Darkseid is known for.
You're rolling out 52 titles this month, but we'll also be seeing other titles gradually make their appearance, like James Robinson's Shade. What's the vetting process for these titles? I'm asking because I have a helluva pitch for reframing Prez as a social media superstar.
JL: I could see that! We're actually doing more stuff with social media with those characters who are reporters in the DC Universe. We're already working on the next wave of books for the next year, mid-season replacements I guess. There are a lot of characters and concepts that we touch upon that we want to get to.
Given that every title's release is synchronized, are we going to see a change in how line-wide events and crossovers are organized?
JL: One thing that we didn't want it to do was feel like an event where readers were forced to buy X number of books to understand what was really going on. We really told the creative teams to do their take on the different characters without crossing over too much. There is crossing over, but it's fairly limited. We want these books to stand on their own.
What comics are inspiring you aesthetically these days?
JL: I've been really enjoying Kenneth Rocafort's art on Red Hood and the Outlaws. Travel Foreman on Animal Man is making the book very intricate and creepy, it really stands out to me visually. Also, David Finch's Batman and Rags Morales' Action Comics, which has a really modern-yet-retro feel that captures the personality of Clark Kent.