BuzzFeed spoke over the phone with Geoff Johns, writer of Justice League and Justice League of America, and Jeff Lemire, who pens Justice League Dark, about their explosive new crossover.
So three Justice Leagues, huh? What is going on here?
Geoff Johns: Actually it’s very easy to define the Justice Leagues. The Justice League is the world’s greatest superheroes. It’s Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, you know — the heroes that are known as the biggest, most recognizable heroes in the world. They save the world on a daily basis. The Justice League of America is a team that is created and recruited by the U.S. government under the guise of being new, young heroes that are protecting our country and our world, but unknown to the members, they have been specifically recruited and are being trained to take down the Justice League when and if the need arises. And this Trinity War is really the event that forces the Justice League of America to become aware of that plan and take on the Justice League.
Jeff Lemire: The Justice League Dark is basically all the magical or paranormal superheroes who tackle all the horror monsters and magical threats the regular superheroes wouldn’t have any capability of dealing with.
Does this mean Justice League is a franchise now? Can I start one?
GJ: Yeah, it’s like Buffalo Wild Wings now, anyone can start one.
JL: But you have to pay Geoff and me directly please. Don’t involve DC.
You said America started the Justice League of America as a sort of plan B to take down the Justice League. But why would they think they need that?
GJ: The Justice League is very uncontrollable and they don’t listen to the United States government. They’re living weapons, and the government wants to be precautious. They don’t know Superman is just some kid who was raised in Kansas, so the trust level isn’t there. They don’t trust what they can’t control, so they form this JLA as a Justice League they CAN control. They don’t necessarily want to go to war with the original League, but they certainly want a safety net just in case. Case in point, in the new Justice League issue, Superman and Wonder Woman go into a country they shouldn’t go into to save people’s lives, and it causes an international stir with people blaming America for what they did and Batman telling Superman and Wonder Woman, “Look, when you two are together, you represent the Justice League. You can’t do this or you’re going to drag us all into it.”
If it’s a really a fight between these two teams, how does Justice League Dark get involved? Are they like the middle child stuck between two warring siblings?
JL: That’s close. They’re more the outsiders, the freaks, the unwanted stepbrother. A necessary evil. It’s hard to explain the actual plot mechanics of how they get involved without spoiling things, but some of the mysteries around the death in the first issue need their expertise.
Does it have anything to do with Constantine and the House of Mystery from “Justice League Dark #19”?
JL: Yes. Constantine and the House are both involved pretty early on.
GJ: Readers will see Dark is kind of dragged into it unwillingly. There’s a reason they come into the picture, and it’s not just because their name is Justice League Dark. They don’t even like that name.
If they don’t like Justice League Dark, what would they prefer to be called?
JL: They would prefer not to be called a team, or superheroes, or anything like that. They’re a group of people who often find themselves working together. They would scoff at the idea of being a Justice League, yet certain members clearly wish they were in the other Justice League.
GJ: There’s something fun there because Zatanna is part of Justice League Dark, but she’s classically been a Justice League member [before she was kicked out]. When she rejoins the Justice League, she shows up in a new uniform that is more reflective of the superhero side of it, and Jeff wrote a really wonderful exchange between her and Constantine.
Is he the hipster superhero? Too cool for spandex?
JL: That’s exactly what he is.
GJ: Exactly right. He looks down on anything even remotely spandex-like.
JL: Yeah, but he probably wears it under his clothes.
GJ: With a big “C” on his chest.
On top of the Justice Leagues being at war, there are two other players involved: Pandora and Phantom Stranger. How do they fit in here?
GJ: Well, it’s called the Trinity War, and obviously it’s a war among the three Justice Leagues in a way, but also there is something that happens with the “trinity” of Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, but then you have the Trinity of Sin, which is Pandora, Phantom Stranger, and The Question — who is a bit of a mystery — but those characters play a role in this as well. The top line is this a war between the World’s Greatest Heroes, the World’s Most Dangerous Heroes, and the World’s Freakiest Heroes, but the mystery within that is “what does Trinity War mean?” And once that’s revealed, it changes the DC universe in a very big way.
JL: For anyone who’s not familiar with a lot of this stuff, Pandora is a character who has been really present in all the New 52 books since the launch. She’s sort of the center of the catalyst for this whole story; she’s a really key figure.
Is she the Greek Pandora of myth?
How long’s the run?
GJ: It’s six issues, two of each of the Justice League titles. It starts in July and August.
Any chance of Wonder Woman and Superman making it through this story arc with their relationship intact?
GJ: I think the bigger question is will you see any of these characters make it through. The thing about Wonder Woman and Superman is when their relationship ends, it’s going to end badly. There is no good way for this one to end. And then there’s other concerns. When those two start acting out together, people get nervous. Not because they don’t think they’re heroes, but because they have such incredible power, and who could stop those two?