Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Comic Book Resources Geoff Johns interview on Justice League of America

will_in_chicago dropped a link in the comments to a CBR interview with Geoff Johns on Justice League of America, which I'll now excerpt with snarky comments under the previously unreleased Dave Finch cover to #2 that I didn't even bother to host myself. I say again, Finch pleases me by ignoring the New 52 seashell temples on J'Onn J'Onzz, but it's too bad his chest emblem is now one of those non-skid shower flower stickers. It reminds me of how John Byrne never saw the Superman shield as a big "S" in a diamond as a kid, but rather two fishes passing one another, yet still somehow managed to draw one of the most perfect versions of the icon. You literally only have to draw a short series of intersecting lines in a circle on the Martian Manhunter's chest, and Finch is pulling reference off the Bed Bath & Beyond website instead.

Anyway, Geoff Johns, right? Boilerplate mostly, which is what you'd expect once a corporation pays you six figures a year to keep any well considered and market tested "controversy" in the books rather than the news. "Why, of course this spin-off book has its own identity and mission!" Just because we have supersonic jets and teleportation at our disposal doesn't mean we don't need a designated branch on another coast or in Europe or whatever, right? Splitting a team up based on political leanings is perfectly valid, innit? Sometimes, these publicly applauded heroes needs their own covert task force to do dirty work, don't you realize? Look, it's 2013, and we all know a Defenders or an Outsiders is never going to sell like "Mighty New Dark Justice League," so let's just be adults about our money issues.

Next, Johns defends seemingly wasting everyone's oh so precious time bringing back Vibe by alluding to the probably that he'll be built up like Gwen Stacy in the last issue of Marvels so Johns can punch your heart in the stomach when he gets killed off again. This hopefully will not be the case, since it would be rather unappealing to ruin the favorite character of Scipio Garling by turning him into a feet of clay Marvel type, the antithesis of Vibe 1.0, only to then do away with what is still DC's most prominent and recognizable Latino character at the point in history when Latinos have been revealed to be powerful enough to elect the first black president of the United States. If you're going to bring the dude back, you've got to take him all the way forward.

Johns did offer his thoughts on J'Onn J'Onzz, which I personally have been waiting for since taking a long, languid, creamy crap all over co-writer Matt Kindt's.

"For me, Martian Manhunter is one of the most powerful and most mysterious characters in the DC Universe, and his place on the team is going to reflect that. You'll know where he's coming from and what he's doing there at the start of issue #1. As we see what his role on the team is and really what his true role in the DCU is -- how far-reaching his connections are and what he's been up to. You'll see that he's kind of a one-man Illuminati. In the back-up stories, I wanted to reflect his role in the lead story and give a little more insight into what Martian Manhunter's been doing. Matt and I have worked to connect those to the main story, and since Manhunter's such and integral character to the book, it made sense that those would play off the main story.

It fleshes out a character like Martian Manhunter who really deserves it. I thought John Ostrander did a terrific job with the short series he did with Tom Mandrake after he did "The Spectre." There was some terrific stuff there, but there's still a lot of mining left for a character like Martian Manhunter. The psychology of who he is, what he's doing and why is fascinating to explore. There are layers to that from his own personal viewpoint and the things he's learned on earth. He's kind of a chess player, but he's a chess player with a soul -- with a conscience and a heart. Sometimes he's going to act a certain way just to get things done, but he believes what he's doing is right."
Aside from name-dropping the John Ostrander series I alone disliked in a manner that made me think of three years as rather too long to be considered brief by any reasonable measure of modern comics, I can't disagree with the man or his intended direction. I'm still hopeful my pet theory about Martian Manhunter having initiated the League's formation in some fashion could happen, as he apparently found some way to get in on oodles of classic matches...
"...For a time, he was on the Justice League. He battled Starro and all these other guys, and then there was a huge falling out. They've been on the outs ever since. We'll discover what that was, what happened and why. They'll meet again in the upcoming year -- that was set up a long time ago."
By "a long time ago" I'm sure he meant "around the time Jim Lee reworked his pages to match the New 52 costumes and we had to retrofit Martian Manhunter into a continuity that was not in place when the plan was for this to simply roll out of Brightest Day and begin the revival of the New Gods. There's a bunch of stuff about Stargirl, other members of the team, and the creative process, which you can read here. I did. Not missing much.


will_in_chicago said...

I am curious to see how this will play out. I do understand the skepticism, but I hope that the new title ends up better than Stormwatch for J'Onn.

I would hope that none of the characters including Vibe are being set up nearly to fall. As for J'Onn, I suspect that he is aware of quiet a few secrets and threats and have been preparing for them. Heck, he may have back up plans that have been in place when Batman was in diapers. Indeed, that may have been his whole point of joining Stormwatch and the Justice League. I wonder what it is that he thought the League was unready in one issue last year. (Where we saw a flashback of J'Onn defeating the League. Considering much of the writing of Justice League, I felt good seeing the image.)

will_in_chicago said...

I just e-mailed you a little earlier. Geoff Johns comments give me some hope. I would love to see J'Onn defeat Kal El using a combination of brains and brawn. (There is a tendency for DC to elevate Superman so much that it becomes comical.)

Diabolu Frank said...

In retrospect, J'Onn J'Onzz was completely inconsequential in Stormwatch, so barring catastrophe, any single back-up should be more satisfying than that entire run. Somewhere down the line though, we need to see why he was ever there at all.

will_in_chicago said...

I suspect that J'Onn may have joined long before Justice League or just a little afterwards. Obviously, J'Onn was not a publicly known member of the League. We do know now that he did not tell the Engineer what he knew of the League, and seems to have safeguarded their secrets as well. Perhaps J'Onn joined Stormwatch and the League to assess the strengths of their respective members in light of some unknown threat. (In the Earth 2 comic, the god Mercury alluded to a threat greater than Mercury. Perhaps the dead Roman god and a certain J'Onn J'Onnzz know something about a great threat.)

J'Onn helped Stormwatch in some fights, helped mentor Jenny Quantum, but was so overshadowed by the Apollo and Midnighter show that he might as well as have been invisible.

Omega Agent1 said...

Will_ I am cosigning with you on how far they go to elevate Supes. It get's ridiculous.

will_in_chicago said...

Omega Agent, I am reminded of what Richard Pryor was supposed to have told Margot Kidder to say in her romantic scene with Superman in the second Christopher Reeve film -- "Oh Super, Duper, Pooper Man." It was pretty bad in parts of the Silver Age. Kal-El should be an example of an elite category that should include his cousin Kara Zor-El, J'Onn J'Onnzz, Captain Atom, and some others.

will_in_chicago said...

Frank, I just found a new interview from Matt Kindt on the Martian Manhunter --

I will e-mail you the link.

Diabolu Frank said...

OA1, jobbing for Superman against the greater good of the DC Universe is why Marvel Studios rules while DC is still trying to get a Man of Steel movie to fly. Currently, all they've got is Batman and the crushing weight of expectations unmet.

Will, dropping links in the comments works best, as I actively avoid checking my email these days. Too much crud to sift through. Same reason why my social networking accounts are ice cold vestiges of times past.

LissBirds said...

Somehow the title of "DC's Most Mysterious" doesn't line up with the statement, "You'll know where he's coming from and what he's doing there at the start of issue #1."

This also creeps me out: "but he believes what he's doing is right." Overtones of Maxwell Lord there. Since when did J'onn become an Illuminati mysterious (but motivations completely known from issue #1) manipulator of other people's destinies? Chess player with a soul? That means he's going to have to make tough decisions and sacrifice a few "pawns" for the greater good, and we'll get a whole lot of angst over this gut-wrenching decision he had to make. Can't comics just be fun again?

Dammit, put him in a trenchcoat and make him solve weird crimes already.

Diabolu Frank said...

That last line is probably the best possible advise for any new writer on this character. The Spanish translation of the name is "Martian Detective." K.eep I.t S.imple, S.tupid.