Geoff Johns shares the secrets of ‘Justice Society of America’ #1 and the last page that has everybody talking!
By Mike Cotton and Ben Morse
Posted December 6, 2006 11:00 PM
This week, “old school” came back in a big way as Justice Society of America #1 brought the original superteam storming back into the DC Universe courtesy of writer Geoff Johns and artist Dale Eaglesham.
With dynamic new members like the explosive Damage and mysterious Starman as well as the shocking reveal of Wildcat’s son and more, the first issue of the new series got people talking—but nothing sparked discussion like the final page with four teaser panels of the year to come featuring sneak peeks at a team-up with Batman and the Justice League, a familiar arm from the future, the possible return of the Golden Age Superman and perhaps most exciting of all, Justice Society of America cover artist and creative consultant Alex Ross painting a glimpse at the Man of Steel from Kingdom Come, the epic future tale he created with writer Mark Waid in 1996.
|We caught up with Johns following the release of issue one to get some further insight into what these tantalizing tidbits mean for the JSA.|
WIZARD: So how did you come up with this idea to preview an entire year’s worth of stories on the final page of the first issue?
GEOFF JOHNS: [It] is actually something [former JSA editor] Steve Wacker and I were talking about when we first began working on the book. I wanted extra pages and to end on a spread, which, ironically, would give me one page, left over. I’d just seen the pilot to [the Showtime series] “Dexter” and at the end they say, “Coming this season on ‘Dexter’…” then had all these great clips of things you want to see. Steve suggested we use that here and I thought it was a great idea. I tried to hit all the big storylines we’re going to tackle and get people excited about what we have coming up.
Going panel by panel, is this first one from the upcoming JLA/JSA crossover?
JOHNS: Yeah, you’ll see this in Justice Society of America #5, which is part two of the crossover, where Batman, Sandman a couple other characters have to break into Arkham Asylum. I think [Justice League of America writer] Brad Meltzer is bar none one of the best writers in comics—he’s so great at humanizing the characters. I’ve tried to build off what he’s going with Justice League of America and make Justice Society of America feel like a real brother book to it. The tension and emotional resonance Brad creates is so strong, I wanted the JSA to match that.
Next up—does that arm belong to the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Legion of Super-Heroes member we think it does?
JOHNS: That’s Dawnstar. You’ll see this [followed up on] very, very soon. All of these [scenes] take place in the first year, but this one is coming very soon. Obviously she mentions having to find Starman so he plays a major role in what’s coming up. We want to hit a couple of really high notes within the first 12 issues.
Now we see Power Girl at the grave of her cousin, the Superman of Earth-2, who died during Infinite Crisis; what’s going on here?
JOHNS: I will say that [Earth-2 Superman] is not a zombie and that is not a dream. Power Girl is going to come into play in a big way in the second half of the year. This scene will play out around issue #7 or #8. I don’t want to say much more about it because it’s very important to [Power Girl] and it’s going to change her character dramatically. It’s a pretty big reveal.
We know Alex Ross is the cover artist and a creative consultant on the book and that he also did the initial layout for this page…
|How did he end up painting this last panel and what does it have to do with Kingdom Come?|
JOHNS: Originally Dale [Eaglesham] actually drew this panel. We were having some discussions since Alex is coming on to co-plot an arc during the first year and said, “Alex, this is your world, this is your take on Superman, this is your character—what about painting a panel?” He was all for it. It gives it more weight and you automatically know what it is: it’s not just Superman with a black “S,” that literally is Superman from Kingdom Come. I don’t want to get too much more in-depth, but yes, you will see Kingdom Come characters in Justice Society of America. You know at least one you’ll see [from this page]. There is a reason that Alex is so heavily involved later on in the year.
Wrapping up, coming out of issue one how do you feel about this series?
JOHNS: I’m beyond jazzed and I hope the first issue shows it. [The Justice Society] is my favorite superhero team in comics and I’ve been waiting a long time to get back to it. I’ve been gone about a year and I’ve tried to put everything I know into this. I’ve put everything I’ve learned working with Grant [Morrison], Mark [Waid] and Greg [Rucka] on 52 into this book. I’ve tried to make my comics better. I loved JSA and I’m proud of that book, but I want Justice Society of America to be even better, otherwise there’s no point in doing it.