The "Dark" might be facing some even darker days ahead. According to co-writer Ray Fawkes, some of the characters in Justice League Dark will not be returning from the team's current adventure.
And the team's status quo will be dramatically shifted as a result.
In a storyline titled "Death of Magic," which continues with this week's issue #16, the JLD team is stuck in a place where their powers have been severely altered — in a different, twisted way for each hero. And although the storyline finishes up in Justice League Dark #18, Fawkes told Newsarama that issue also sees some significant changes for the characters.
Fawkes has been getting a lot of attention from DC fans since he began co-writing Justice League Dark with Jeff Lemire late last year. The two are also going to be working together on Constantine when it launches in March, and Fawkes will be going solo to write two issues of Batgirl starting with issue #17.
On Justice League Dark, Fawkes and Lemire have already revealed that the team may change according to the storyline's threat, as Constantine chooses different heroes to help. The comic is also tying into the rest of the DCU during 2013 — with members being specifically shown involved in "Trinity War" teasers.Newsarama talked with Fawkes to find out more about the JLD changes coming up after "Death of Magic," and what readers can expect from this creative team's approach.
Newsarama: Ray, the world where the Justice League Dark team currently finds themselves has caused some drastic changes. As comic book readers, we tend to assume this sort of thing is temporary, for just one storyline. Is that a fair assumption? Or is there a possibility this status might stick with this team?
Ray Fawkes: Make no assumptions. Some of these characters will not return from the world.
Nrama: Oh my.
Fawkes: Yeah. What can I say that's more ominous that that? [Laughs.] But it's true. Some of the characters will not be returning from this world. And readers should make no assumptions about it.
But let's say some of the characters do return. What happens to them here is going to change them. What's happening to them here is traumatic. These are characters that are used to operating within certain parameters and inside of certain rules. And they've transferred to this world, and now everything has changed for them. Everything is upside down. Nothing makes any sense. And that's got to be profound for somebody who's used to being, perhaps, a superhuman, where the normal rules of the living world don't apply.To be a normal person in the DC Universe must occasionally be terrifying, right? Like, you're walking around, doing your everyday thing, and then all of the sudden some sorcerer shows up and casts a spell over the whole city, and now you're a skeleton warrior, right? Well, that just happened to the Justice League Dark. They just showed up somewhere, and everything went haywire. And they're never going to forget what happened to them here.
Nrama: There's even indication through solicitations that the end of this story arc will have changes not only in the individual characters, but the overall direction for the book. Do you have something in mind that changes the tone of the book at all? Or their mission?
Fawkes: When Jeff and I first sat together to start working on this arc and to start looking at how we wanted the story to progress from there, before we even started to talk about the story, we wanted to boil down into a single phrase what we were thinking here. And we ended up saying, "All bets are off."
There will be surprises; there will be shocks. Things will not progress as expected for a number of characters. And so we wanted to start with this transition into this world where that phrase would essentially be "spoken" to the Justice League Dark. "All bets are off; everything is different."When this story is over, that theme will continue.
Nrama: It's interesting to think about you two sitting down together and coming up with your theme. Can you describe the roles you each play when you co-write a comic like Justice League Dark? Or maybe break it down to describe what you bring to the table in the collaboration?
Fawkes: Jeff and I, I guess we synergize really well. We're on a really similar wavelength. But we have very different approaches to things. What we bring to the table is our own personalities and our own quirks. What comes out of it is this very, I think, well-worked-together mesh. Once we've thrown our ideas into the pot, we can get along really well in figuring out what we like and what we don't like.
Jeff brings a certain, I think, admirable humanity to the characters, and a very strong emotional core to every story that he writes. It's great to see. I think I bring a little bit more — I don't really know. Maybe you should ask Jeff what my strengths are. I don't know.
We're both Canadians; we don't like talking about our own strengths.
I know I bring a different voice, and it's been a lot of fun for me and Jeff to integrate our two voices and come up with a unified whole.
Nrama: You guys are working with Mikel Janin on this book. What does he bring to the whole dynamic of the team?
Fawkes: He is crazy good. What he brings to the book? You know, we can throw anything at Mikel and he will come back with something that looks like it's been put together on an epic scale. It's wild. If you've seen, if you've read the latest issue of Justice League Dark, he essentially created a whole world. You're seeing wild and bizarre characters. And at first, I thought he would hate us for this story arc, because we kept throwing challenges at him. But then he would come back with these pages and I realized, no, he's down with this. He obviously loves it, and it's a creative exercise for him. So that aspect of his work is amazing.And I have always loved the expressiveness of his characters' faces. I think one of my favorite panels ever in a comic book is a recent issue of Justice League Dark where Mikel has Zatanna and John flashing back to Zatara's death, and the look on Zatanna's face was — it was unbelievable.
So we often try to get Mikel to give us some wild expressions, and he's totally not disappointing us.
Nrama: You have The Flash coming up in a future issue. Is this further tying together the Justice League Dark with the Justice League?
Fawkes: Yes. And it's totally fun. Like I said before, all bets are off. Anybody can show up in this book. Who knows? Maybe this time it's the Flash; maybe next time it's a supervillain; or maybe it's some crazy entity from outer space. Who knows?
Justice League Dark will encounter all kinds of wild characters and they will work with anyone who's willing to help them.
Nrama: Then to finish up, what are some of the relationships and characters who are going to get a focus going forward in Justice League Dark?
Fawkes: Well, readers are aware of the fact Justice League Dark work together out of some kind of necessity, but they don't necessarily love each other. And we're definitely going to see a bit of fracturing along those lines. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give away where this story leads. But there is going to be a little bit of trouble among the teammates. We may even see some of them fighting on opposite sides of the battle. I don't want to say who and where, but we're having some fun with what these characters think of each other, and what that leads to when they're asked to put their money where their mouth is.FACEBOOK and TWITTER!