Ongoing PANDORA Writer On Crossing Over with TRINITY WAR


PANDORA #1 cover

DC is giving a new, female anti-hero named Pandora her own book in June — and when the comic's writer promises that this lady will have a huge influence on the greater DCU, it's probably true. After all, she already accomplished a complete reboot of DC's comic book universe.

What's next for Pandora? Readers will find out as DC launches Trinity of Sin: Pandora by writer Ray Fawkes and artist Daniel Sampere in June. The book is billed as a compliment to Phantom Stranger, which will be retitled Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger that month. (We can only imagine that Trinity of Sin: The Question will be announced next.)

It's all presumably building toward Trinity War, the promised 2013 Geoff Johns-written event that was first teased in DC's Free Comic Book Day issue in May 2012.

This is the first solo ongoing title for Fawkes, who is already co-writing Constantine and Justice League Dark with Jeff Lemire. The writer had previously been best known for his work on One Soul for Oni.

Fawkes revealed to Newsarama that he's working closely with Johns on crossover between Trinity War and Pandora along with Lemire, suggesting that his titles - Green Arrow, Constantine and Justice League Dark - may also tie-in closely to the Justice League-centric event.

So what's Pandora going to be about? Does this mean we might see a return to the pre-New 52 universe, since she can apparently reboot worlds? As DC provided Newsarama with the exclusive first look at the Ryan Sook cover for Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1, we talked to Ray Fawkes to find out more.

Newsarama: Ray, how did the Pandora gig come about?

Ray Fawkes: There's no mysterious secret to this one - I was asked to pitch on the title, I got happily to work, tried something maybe a bit left field with the pitch, and they went for it.

Nrama: So then what attracted you to the project?

Fawkes: The mystery of the character, first of all - Pandora's been everywhere in the New 52 DC Universe, and yet we know very little about her. Given the chance to take a ghostly presence and turn her into a living, breathing character was a great challenge and a great draw.

Beyond that, the project also represented an opportunity to bring a dangerous female presence to the New 52 - one who is literally the object of ill-placed blame for every bad thing that's ever happened, mythically speaking, and is associated, in legend, with the "wickedness" of women in general. The ludicrous unfairness of that charge, and the defiance of the character subjected to it seemed like such a compelling story seed that I could hardly resist.

Nrama: So “defiance” is a key to who Pandora is?

Fawkes: As I mentioned, Pandora is a victim of history's greatest frame - she's blamed, unjustly, for every bad thing that's ever happened in the world, and more specifically, in the "world of men". She's wracked with pain, condemned to eternal life and eternal shame, and she knows she doesn't deserve it. So she's worldly, she's tough as hell, and more than anything, she's angry. She's consumed by a dream of vengeance and release - and if I'm being perfectly honest here, I believe she deserves them both.

Nrama: What are her powers/power level if she can merge universes and/or timelines?

Fawkes: Read the book and see. I don't want to give this away - the mystery of Pandora's capabilities and the quest to understand what she's capable of has a lot to do with the ongoing story of her title.

Nrama: She was introduced as somewhat of a villain but then later exonerated by the old Wizard. Is Pandora hero in the classic sense?

Fawkes: I would say she's an anti-hero, no question. Her tactics are violent and often cruel, but I would argue that she's justified.

Nrama: At what point in her history do you pick up her story?

Fawkes: Right now. Thousands and thousands of years after her curse took effect, over the course of which she's slowly burned away all the guilt and shame she could carry, leaving only a white-hot rage. I guess you could say the story picks up on the day she takes the safety off of her weapons and strikes out to seize what she's always wanted, no quarter asked and none given.

Nrama: What can you tell us about the rest of the cast in the title?

Fawkes: In a way, the whole of the DC Universe plays a role in the Pandora comic, and she'll be visiting her quest upon well-known heroes and villains both, as well as "ordinary" mortals. There is a supporting cast that will grow around her, but the readers will have to wait and see how that cast develops.

Nrama: Will there be "villains" for Pandora in the traditional sense? How would you describe the challenges/threats she faces?

Fawkes: Yes. Let us not forget that the Seven Deadly Sins - or "all the evils of the world" - are represented by actual spirits in the DC Universe. Pandora is the one who set them loose in our world, if the tales are to be believed, and naturally their story is connected to her own.

In addition, there are characters who *like* that she's the one who shoulders the blame for the sins' release, and there are others who will disagree with her tactics. She'll have no shortage of antagonists, in short.

Nrama: How would you describe the comic overall? Is it adventure, sci-fi, mystery.... ?

Fawkes: Trinity of Sin: Pandora is a violent supernatural action-thriller. Oh hell, I'm just pretentious enough to call it DC's Grand Guignol tragedy.

Nrama: How different is it from what we've seen you do so far, in comics like Justice League Dark or Constantine?

Fawkes: Emotionally speaking, it comes from a completely different place. Justice League Dark is a magical adventure title, and Constantine is about an ongoing battle of wits and survival in a world of deadly power. Trinity of Sin: Pandora is a bloody tale of tragic, legendary revenge.

Nrama: How does the art influence the approach? What does Daniel Sampere's art bring to the comic?

Fawkes: Daniel is one of a rare breed - he manages to combine a sense of beauty and flow with explosive action in a way that amazed me when we worked together on Batgirl. I have no doubt that he will bring both sensibilities to Trinity of Sin: Pandora to majestic effect.

Nrama: Will the series tie in with other comics? Which ones/how?

Fawkes: To a limited extent, Trinity of Sin: Pandora will tie in with comics throughout the New 52 universe, in the past and present. Currently the only plans for a full crossover involve this summer's Trinity War event, though.

Nrama: On that note then, how closely are you working with Geoff Johns? How would you describe that collaboration?

Fawkes: Again, very closely. We've discussed the complete breakdown of the Trinity War event, and Pandora's relationship to it, and we've been bouncing concepts off of each other all along the way. It's a thrill to see his work unfold on the event - and Jeff Lemire's as well - and to show the both of them where I'm going.

Trinity War FCBD tease

It's less a collaboration, though, than a pleasant exchange of ideas - it's great to see what both Geoff and Jeff are thinking, and it's very cool to see their reactions to my piece of the puzzle. Besides the logistics of who-where-when, I'm being left quite free to create my contribution.

Nrama: Will the rest of the DCU (like the JLA) learn of her existence and interact with her?

Fawkes: Oh yes. And it's going to be awful for everyone involved. I'm so sorry...I say, as I cackle in my dark corner of the DCU.

Nrama: Ray, anytime there is an continuity-altering event like a Crisis or Flashpoint, fans are naturally going to question how permanent it is. How should readers regard not only Pandora's continued presence, but her soon-to-be increased presence? Of she caused and holds the key to very existence of the 52, couldn't she be used as a vehicle to undo it someday?

Fawkes: Could she? I think readers are going to be surprised. Of course, the near-constant refrain of "this will all be undone" on the part of certain fans does seem a bit strange to me. Like Pangloss, always wandering around indicating proof that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Why not address the stories on their own merits, rather than speculate on their permanence?

Nrama: Phantom Stranger made it clear that he thinks she went too far in the creation of the New 52 world. Will we learn more about her motivations for doing it?

Fawkes: Pandora would say that the Phantom Stranger is a fool who doesn't know the first thing about her motivations, or the necessity of her actions - real or imagined. Readers will be invited to draw their own conclusions.

Nrama: What's the atmosphere like at DC Comics as we head into the next half of 2013? You guys recently met -- how would you describe what you guys are doing, and what's Pandora’s role in it?

Fawkes: I can only speak for myself and the people I work closely with, but we're thrilled and proud of the moves we're making this year, and we know that there's going to be some great books on the shelves from DC.

Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Trinity of Sin: Pandora?

Fawkes: Only this: here we are, presenting a thoroughly new series about a new character, all with a flavor and theme unique to the line. It could be a book with real permanence and importance, but ultimately that depends on the support of readers. I know there is a contingent of those readers who've been asking for exactly this, and I hope they'll seize the chance to show the support Trinity of Sin: Pandora needs.

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