As Forever Evil begins in September, Sterling Gates will not only be telling the definitive history of the event's main villains, but he's getting the chance to explore one of his favorite lesser-known female rogues.
On Justice League #23.3: Secret Society, Gates is working with his frequent collaborator Geoff Johns (who's also the architect of Forever Evil). But Gates is going solo as he writes Killer Frost's story in Justice League of America #7.2: Killer Frost. And according to the writer, Killer Frost has a role in Johns' Forever Evil mini-series, so her one-shot will expand that story.
Gates, who's also the writer on the ongoing comic Justice League of America's Vibe, will also be co-writing with Johns on Justice League of America #7.4: Black Adam (see our separate interview about that anti-hero's role in Forever Evil).
Newsarama talked to Gates about all his September issues, what story he's telling about the Secret Society, and how his video game experience is helping fuel his love for Killer Frost.
Newsarama: Let's talk about your issue of Secret Society. It sounds like they have this global intent, presumably to rule the world. But it sounds like your issue is more about what's been going on behind the scenes with the Secret Society leading up to Forever Evil?
Gates: That story looks at how the Society leverages themselves into the position of power that they're in in Forever Evil #1. It's essentially the "Secret Origin of the Secret Society."
For current readers of Justice League and Justice League of America, they'll recognize the man on the cover with Amazo and Copperhead. We're going to get into that character in this issue — and I can't reveal who he is just yet — as well as explore the core members of the Society and what they're doing.
Nrama: OK, let's talk about Killer Frost. It's surprising to see this character get a comic.
Gates: Killer Frost is a very new character to the New 52 universe. She's only been used a couple times in Dan Jurgens' wonderful [Fury of] Firestorm run. I'm a Firestorm fan, I always really liked how weird his rogues gallery was. Typhoon, Black Bison, all these strange guys. My editor on Vibe, Brian Cunningham, emailed me and asked if I'd be interested in exploring the new Killer Frost in an origin story one-shot. I immediately said yes, and then I spoke to Geoff about his plans for her in Forever Evil. Once I knew what Geoff was doing, I broke the story so the one-shot is about Killer Frost's origins as well as dealing with her story in Forever Evil.
Nrama: So besides being a Firestorm fan, you're also a fan of Killer Frost in particular?
Gates: Absolutely. And the more I talk about her with people at DC, the more I discover she's got a lot of fans up there. I love the fact that she's in the Injustice video game. I was completely stoked to play an online match with her the other day and just wipe the floor with this poor guy over Xbox Live. It's really great to see her pop up in other media like that.
Killer Frost isn't a well-known character, per se, but Firestorm fans will be happy with the spin we're doing on her origin, and I think people who have never read a story with her will really enjoy what we're cooking up. It's pretty cool.
Nrama: Without Firestorm around, she's got a challenge, right?
Gates: Without giving too much away, the story is in two interweaving parts. The main thrust takes place now, dealing with her reaction to the Society's news that the Justice League are gone. She's highly interested in Firestorm and his fusion matrix, but it's not clear in the New 52 version of the character as to why she's so interested in it. We're going to explore that and intercut it with her secret origin. I really wanted to explore her desires and plans for Firestorm in a modern setting with a modern mindset, as well as addressing how she became the villain she is today.
It's a very different type of story from Black Adam or Secret Society because Black Adam is very much tied into Forever Evil and Justice League, and Secret Society is a backstory of Forever Evil #1. But Killer Frost is setting up things that will play out across Forever Evil.
Nrama: Does the fact that you're doing three issues in September mean we'll see more work from you at DC? I know you're working on Vibe already.
Gates: I'd absolutely love to do more with DC. I've really, really enjoyed working on Vibe. My editors Brian [Cunningham] and Kate [Stewart] have been fantastic to work with on all this stuff, nothing but encouraging. I've heard talk of people having a hard time at DC, but I've had a really great experience with them these last few months.