When DC Comics launched the New 52 universe, the mystical, magical side of the DCU was one of its greatest benefactors. Not only was the new title, Justice League Dark launched, but DC later launched several solo supernatural titles.
Ray Fawkes is currently writing two of those titles — Constantine and Trinity of Sin: Pandora — and they're immersed in an action-packed crossover called "Forever Evil: Blight," tying in to DC's current, high-profile event. In the latest development, the heroes have stumbled upon a giant machine called Project Thaumaton, which is harnessing the powers of supernatural characters to fight the still-mysterious entity that destroyed Earth 3.
Although "Blight" has affected several different supernatural characters, the event has brought about some huge changes for John Constantine and Pandora.
For John, the event has forced him to acknowledge the strength of his feelings for Zatanna, while he gathers a new team of mystics to hunt for her.
And Pandora's evolution is even more drastic, as the character has gained new powers and a whole new outlook on her life and purpose.
Forever Evil: Blight, which is on part 14 of its 18 chapters, wraps up in March. But the effect of what's happened to John and Pandora should greatly influence where their titles go next. Newsarama talked to Fawkes to find out more about how "Blight" has changed the two characters, and why, in the coming months, readers can expect them both to attempt to pull off the greatest feats of their lives.
Newsarama: Ray, last week's issue of the "Blight" storyline revealed where Zatanna is — in this huge machine where mystics have been imprisoned like batteries. How would you describe this thing, and what's its purpose?
Ray Fawkes: The facility that Zatanna — and almost every other mystic on Earth, including most of the Justice League Dark — is imprisoned in is part of a massive enterprise called "Project Thaumaton," a horrifying experiment designed to capture mystic energy and convert all the wonder and potential of magic into one thing: a weapon.
?Nrama: Where did the name "Project Thaumaton" come from?
Fawkes: I believe that was J.M. DeMatteis' invention. We were looking for a name that conveyed the commingling of magic and science, batted a few ideas back and forth, and he came up with one that worked perfectly!
?Nrama: So explain what this machine is meant to do to the mystics?
Fawkes: The same thing it did to Zatanna — it's harnessing their energies, neutralizing their ability to resist, and preparing them to be fired like nukes, if necessary. Readers have seen the Nightmare Nurse endure a test firing in Trinity of Sin: Pandora #8. She'll remember that feeling forever...
?Nrama: Before we get to the latest development with Pandora and the Justice League Dark, let's talk about how you've managed to fit this story within Forever Evil. Why are Necro and Faust trying so hard to control the power of these mystics? Is this really driven by the Crime Syndicate?
Fawkes: Even the Crime Syndicate is afraid of something, and the mystics of the DC Universe hold a lot of raw power in their minds and bodies. Making it impossible for them to resist the Syndicate and then converting them into a weapon to help fight whatever might threaten the Syndicate. Readers of Forever Evil will learn what it is our villains are actually afraid of soon enough!
?Nrama: Yeah, the entity that destroyed Earth 3 will, assumedly, be revealed in next week's Forever Evil #6. But your story is also very personal, because you've shown how John Constantine has been so desperate to find Zatanna. Is it just part of his personality that when he wants to do something, he'll do just about anything to make it happen? Or is the motivation really guided by love?
Fawkes: That's a question that we're going to be exploring in detail in both Justice League Dark and Constantine in the future — in this crossover and beyond. John really does love Zatanna, but are his feelings for her driving him to extremes he normally wouldn't go to? Or is it just a convenient excuse to unleash the way he's always wanted to?
?Nrama: This story has also given you the chance to show Constantine traveling to heaven — and talking directly with the "voice of God," which was an obviously uncomfortable experience for him. What was it like writing that scene, and what do you think it reveals about Constantine as a character?
Fawkes: It was one of my favorite scenes with Constantine so far, largely because I think it reveals so much about him. John moves through a world that constantly underestimates him, and he both encourages that and takes advantage of it. For the first time, he faced a power that couldn't be tricked, and yet addressed him with compassion and respect. It forces John to seriously question his beliefs and his behavior — even if he doesn't want to admit it.
It's also very probably the closest John will ever get to Heaven, and the only time he'll ever see it. Emotionally speaking...wow.
?Nrama: OK, let's switch to the other title you're writing as part of this crossover — Trinity of Sin: Pandora. Pandora's journey during this storyline have really changed her status, as she not only seems to have destroyed the deadly sins, but she's got new set of powers. How would you describe her purpose and direction now?
Fawkes: Pandora has seen the sum total of human goodness embodied in the light she can now call upon as a shield and a weapon, and it's completely changing her outlook. It seems that she's in perfect position to find a new purpose, and the story of "Blight" and what follows is all about her discovering that purpose and getting to work.
?Nrama: The last thing we saw in "Blight" was an escape by Pandora with a couple other characters, but she realized that she left the other members of the Justice League Dark behind. As she tries to get back to the other mystics, and Project Thaumaton seems to be on its last leg, how would you describe what the Justice League Dark — and specifically John and Pandora — face for the next couple months?
Fawkes: John and Pandora both endure intense personal trials and seize triumphs that will color the rest of their existence on Earth. In the time that follows "Forever Evil: Blight," you're going to see them leap into the next stage of their lives, armed with new knowledge and carrying new wounds.
Pandora is going to try to save the whole of living reality in a way that's never been seen before in the DC Universe. John is going to travel the world putting together the pieces to set his greatest trick in motion.
?Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about either Constantine or Pandora?
Fawkes: Only this: Thank you for coming along for the ride with both of these great characters! Just wait'll you see what comes next, because I promise it's not what you expect!