In the last Forever Evil, we saw the Crime Syndicate had essentially taken over the world, and Lex Luthor wasn’t too happy about that. Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming up next?
Geoff Johns: In issue number two we’ll delve a little more into the Crime Syndicate as a group and individually, so we’ll get to know Ultra Man, Johnny Quick, Power Ring, and the others. Each one of them has a very different opinion on what they should be doing here on earth. We’ll reveal a little bit more about why they’re here and why they left their earth, and we’ll also start to unpeel another story.
Looks like Lex Luther’s being set up as our good guy. Are we going to see some of the other villains following that path?
GJ: Lex is definitely the protagonist of this series. It’s a journey for him that will have some pretty big repercussions moving forward. He doesn’t necessarily want to rule the world like this. He doesn’t like what the Crime Syndicate are doing. This isn’t okay for business; it isn’t okay for life. He’s taken it upon himself that if Superman’s not around, he’s going to step up. Do you watch like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones?
Yeah, of course.
GJ: They have the best villains. They’re so vile and there’s very little redeeming qualities to some of these guys. Introducing the Crime Syndicate is an opportunity to create villains who, because they come from a place where their brains are just wired differently, the culture’s different, and there’s no level of compassion. Strength is valued over anything else. These guys all think very, very differently than we do, so it’s an opportunity to really go to the core of villain and make them truly reprehensible and evil.
Who’s your favorite villain to write for? If you can pick one.
GJ: It’s hard to say. I love Captain Cold. I have him on my door at the office. He’s grounded, he doesn’t want to rule the world, he’s not necessarily driven by ego, which a lot of villains are. Sinestro I obviously have written for a long time and find him very compelling, because he’s just a step away from being a good guy… And I really love Catwoman because she has such confidence to her. She lives in this world and finds it so ridiculous—all these big guys puffing around in costumes and capes. She has a lot of fun with that. I can’t really pick a favorite!
I love reading all of these guys. The villains are my favorite parts of the DC Universe.
GJ: The DC Universe has the best villains in fiction, right? I don’t think there’s any group of villains collectively or anywhere else that come close to DC’s. Joker, Cat Woman, Lex Luthor, are all staples. A lot of the comic book icons are fiction icons. They’re up there with Moriarty, and they have more stories told about them than any other villains in history.
Do any of these guys ever take a day off from wrecking havoc and sit around and watch Mad Men or anything like that?
GJ: Oh yeah, definitely. Captain Cold’s definitely a hockey fan. He goes to games on his days off. I think the Rogues actually have alarm clocks, all wake up at six and go to a regular job and meet for coffee. I think all these guys have to have a life outside of this. Particularly Lex Luthor, we explore him a little bit outside of being Lex and the suit. There will be one particular character that he connects with that will actually force him to open up like we’ve never seen Lex open up before. That’s the point of this series, to pry open some of these villains, get deeper than we usually do. We’re going to get pretty dark these next few months.
Can you tell us who Lex is going to open up to?
GJ: I don’t want to yet because it’s going to be a good one. But it’s a relationship that gets established and is going to continue to grow through Forever Evil and beyond it. There’s a lot of plans for these villains, and there’s stuff in Forever Evil that kicks off the next year of stories and everything else.
GJ: David Finch [the artist] also adds so much personality and depth to these villains. We talked for a long time about who The Crime Syndicate is, individually and as a group. The personality he’s able to bring forth, among all the gritty details and action, is great. David’s artwork is perfect for villains.