With all of the events of DC’s Dark Nights: Metal now laid out, are you ready for the next outer space wave by Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson, and James Tynion? The architects of DC’s biggest cosmic event in years are dovetailing Metal into Justice League: No Justice during the weeks of May and into the summer. Each creator will take on a separate Justice League title, as they'll all try to navigate the new world of the Dark Multiverse. Snyder will be working on Justice League with artists Jimmy Cheung and Jorge Jiménez while two new Justice League titles are also being launched.
Justice League Odyssey will be written by Williamson, with art by Stjepan Sejic, and the team will be led by Cyborg and include heroes Green Lantern (Jessica Cruz), Azrael, Teen Titans’ Starfire, and Darkseid. Meanwhile, Justice League Dark is being written by Tynion IV and drawn by Alvaro Martinez, and places Wonder Woman at the leadership role of a team made up of Swamp Thing, Zatanna, John Constantine, Detective Chimp, and Dr. Fate.
SYFY WIRE caught up with Snyder to talk about the reasoning behind the new Justice League titles, what each hopes to accomplish, and what Snyder has cooking outside of his DCU cosmic romps.
With the announcement of two new Justice League books, it feels like you’re keeping the DC Metal band together with James Tynion IV writing JL: Dark and Joshua Williamson writing Odyssey. Would you say that's true?
That’s everything we want to do, make you feel like not only is the party going, but It just keeps better and better and better. You might feel tired and want to go home, and we’re like, no, that [Metal] was just the opening act, now we’re going for the real concert. The idea with what they’re planning with these books is to take the spirit of Metal, the idea that you want to honor the past, show how we love the characters, but take them to places no one expected. So Justice League Dark and Justice League Odyssey, I think you can tell with the lineups, and the ethos of both of those books, to carry that same spirit forward.
As much as we’re trying to keep the party going, we’re also trying to expand it, so we’re working with the Benson sisters, Julie and Shawna, who are amazing and doing Green Arrow. We’re working with Brian Edward Hill, who’s working on Detective Comics. We can’t announce what he’s doing with us yet, but he’s going to be doing a book that’s coming out of No Justice, that also builds out of the stuff he’s doing in Detective. We’re working with Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch on Hawkman. So the idea is to expand it and just keep it going where it feels connective, but everybody has their own area and the story doesn’t feel silo-ed.
You don’t feel anymore like Justice League feels like it’s in a vacuum or Green Arrow is just completely disconnected from other things. This is not disparaging at all of what’s been going on in the current runs of these books at all. I think people have attempted to do that in great ways, on the books themselves, but having a coordinated effort, where creators can get together, I’m in a position now at DC Comics to do those summits and have that partnership with creators like [Christopher] Priest and others to be able to set things upcoming. It’s about keeping the party going, but expanding it.
You’ve been immersed in this summit-type collaborative and creative process for two years now. Have you discovered this to be your best kind of working environment, at least when it comes to the DCU?
I really do. I never thought I could do stories with the kind of cosmic scope that I’m doing now. When I was on Batman, I just thought that wasn’t my thing. I loved them growing up, but I don’t have that skill set. Geoff [Johns] has that skill set, Grant [Morrison] has that skill set, or Jim Starlin has that skill. It’s not me. But I took a year doing All-Star Batman, and it was kind of my baby and I did all sorts of stuff I’m proud of, but because it wasn’t in the double-shift grind, it gave me a chance to use that year to research and go back to the stuff I love. Infinity Gauntlet, Secret Invasion, Crisis on Infinite Earths, big events that were cosmic but yet at the same time character-based.
I realized, I am going to try it, and so Metal was my attempt to go beyond my own comfort zone and risk totally screwing it up. Luckily people have responded well; Justice League is just an exponential elevation of all of that. Justice League goes bigger and farther than Metal. When you read Metal #6, you’ll see, we’re opening up the DCU, cracking it open, and it’s infinitely bigger than you thought. More wondrous, more terrifying, and these new books are needed to explore those new realms created.
So besides the rosters and creative teams, what are the newly announced Justice League books going to explore?
They’re all very different. We wanted it to feel like there’s not enough books to cover the crazy that’s coming at the end of Metal.
With Justice League Odyssey, it’s really like "Justice League Deep Space." What happens at the end of No Justice, without spoiling anything, an area of space, a sector, is created that no one expected to suddenly exist. It’s wildly huge and dangerous and full of new threats and allies, and Justice League needs a team to explore it. So who better to do that than Cyborg? He’s proven himself, leveled up, and deserves his own team. Him, Jessica Cruz, Azrael, Darkseid, it’s going to be such a fun book. I’m really thrilled with what Josh has planned for it. The idea is to keep it really cosmic, like a space western. If you ever wanted to explore the weirdest corners of the DCU space, the cosmic Grant-ian, Kirby-esque crazy? That’s where you go.
If you want dark, supernatural, horror magic—we haven’t had a lot of books about that in the DCU—Justice League Dark is all about that, where James is redefining what magic is. Wonder Woman is leading that team with a huge cast with Swamp Thing and Dr. Fate, who is one of the most powerful, magical characters we have, all up against the biggest threat they’ve ever faced. Each thing is really separate, but you will see Justice League Dark in Justice League. You will see Cyborg is in Justice League, Wonder Woman is in Justice League. They all operate out of the Hall of Justice, in their own ways. The idea is to keep them feeling connective and shared, give everybody their room to do their opus.
What do you have in store for Jimmy Cheung and Jorge Jiménez on Justice League?
Ohhhh. I could never post anything, because it was such a surprise, but I spoke to Jimmy months ago and I asked him, "What do you want to draw?" Because here’s my story: It encompasses the entire DCU, everything from the source wall, the core of the Earth, and back. I wanted it to be Promethean big, where it essentially feels like the Justice League is up against the biggest mysteries of our Universe, and they feel tiny. So I said, "It can expand to Kamandi too." And he stopped me and said, "I want to draw all of it." I said, "Let’s go. I’m warning you: This script is going to be packed." It’s been such a great experience, because everything I’ve written, he’s up for. I keep asking him, "Are you sure? Are you sure? I know it’s really dense."
So we want you picking up the book to feel like you’re getting so much more for your money than you asked for. I feel like Justice League has to be that. It has to be the book that says, "You’re leading the charge into the new area of the DCU that nobody would expect. It’s more connective, more epic, more crazy than anything you saw coming." Jimmy is just an unbelievable partner. I love him, he’s been great, he’s such a trouper. And Jorge is awesome too. I love this rhythm we’re in right now. I’ve already written Issue #7, I’m seven issues in, I’ve written three for Jimmy and four to five issues for Jorge, who is a ball of energy and enthusiasm. He’s young, electric, and crazy handsome [laughs].
Creatively, you're working on such a large scale in the DCU, how much time do you still have left for smaller, more focused, creator-owned books?
As a writer, I feel deeply uncomfortable when I’m only in one area. The most depressed I ever got while working for DC Comics, and I had the best projects in the world, I was working on Zero Year and Superman: Unchained, but I had given up creator-owned comics for a while because it was in between The Wake and other things. Only having giant cosmic epic superhero stuff, I don’t feel like I have a treehouse to go to that’s just mine, so I always need that to balance it out. There will always be something on the shelves or stuff I’m working on that’s deeply intimate, and my own stuff that balances out the crazy cosmic.
So I’m working on Wytches 2 with Jock that will be out in the fall, and then I’m also working on [a new chapter of] American Vampire, as a part of the second wave of Vertigo this year. Rafa[el Albuquerque] and I are working on it, and yeah, soon you'll hear the announcement of the logistics of when it comes out and what it is, but it’s 100 percent in the cards. I want to have that scope as a writer. If I’m not pushing myself to do things that are exciting to me, and say look, I gotta do something smaller and more intimate, and stuff that’s bigger and more cosmic than anything I’ve ever done, what’s the point, right?