KEITH GIFFEN on JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000's Origin - 'I Told You It Wasn't Clones'

Justice League 3000
Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

Keith Giffen warned Newsarama readers that the Justice League 3000 were not created through cloning.

And in last week's issue #4, readers finally got their first clue about the real origin of the futuristic team — they are parasites.

So what does that mean?

We talked to Giffen briefly — who creates Justice League 3000 each month with co-writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Howard Porter — and he gave us some insight into how the latest discovery about the origin of the Justice League will influence the series going forward.

Newsarama: Keith, we just saw this description of the Justice League 3000 as parasites...

Credit: DC Comics

Keith Giffen: Yeah, I don't think we've ever had superheroes where, the way they were created, they are parasites. They kill the host body to live.

That's a dark place. When you think, here's a guy who's Superman, but in order to become Superman, his genetic structure had to override his host body's genetic structure, effectively destroying the host body to renew it as him.

It's just my way of going, "See! I told you it wasn't clones!"

Nrama: But like you said, Keith, this is a dark origin for the Justice League. Does the fact that they're "parasites" influence their attitudes or their genetic make-up somehow? And what happens now that they know?

Giffen: It's going to have an impact. A lot of stuff is going to have an impact that's coming along, so I'm trying to keep these issues going at a pretty healthy pace. I try to have every issue have a little punch to it.

We explain enough of the process by which they were created in #4 that people can understand that it was a dark place to go, but we don't explain it 100 percent, because I don't believe in just laying it all out there so everyone can just obsess over how to pick it apart. I'm not interested in doing that.

Credit: DC Comics

So yeah, finding this out will shake some characters up a bit, especially Superman. It's hard to be the arrogant douchebag — "I'm Superman!!" — when you know that you used to be, like, Fred Smith. And you basically, genetically murdered Fred Smith in order to take over his body.

It's not their fault, though. They had no say in the matter. But they are the end result of the process.

Nrama: So this is why Ariel was running away from CADMUS.

Giffen: Yeah, she was running because she invented the process and didn't want to implement it. She could be a real whistle blower.

Nrama: She calls it "murder." Do you really think of it in that way? That they're killing people?

Giffen: Yes. Yes. Yes. It's like, here: If I came to you and said, look, Vaneta, I want to inject you with Wonder Woman DNA, and you'll get Wonder Woman's powers and you'll be the new Wonder Woman; and you went, "Sure!"

Credit: DC Comics

And I injected you with it, but just neglected to tell you that when your DNA bonds with the Wonder Woman DNA, it will override your genetic code, so when your cells start replicating, they won't be replicating Vaneta cells anymore; they'll be replicating Wonder Woman cells.

They knew this. You find out that Ariel saw what it did to lab animals. You know, like if you inject a frog DNA into a mouse and it turns into a frog, that's pretty scary.

So she ran.

Nrama: And the twins, Terry and Teri, kept her research going.

Giffen: Yes. But it's incomplete. And you have to wonder, are the twins that horrible? And you'll find out in a future issue exactly why they did it. And you can make up your own minds as to whether they're horrible people or not.

Nrama: Well, then, you were right when you warned us. They're really not clones!

Giffen: I warned everybody! I warned everybody in interviews with this! I told you guys it would go to a dark place! I said, "It's not what you think it is! It's not clones!"

Credit: DC Comics

Of course, the same people who complained that it was clones are now complaining that it's darker than they like. It's like the people who look at the five Batman books and say, "Why don't they do something different with Batman?" And then when we do something different, they say, "That's not Batman!" And I go, you know? Just don't buy the book. Really. If you're going to adopt that attitude, do yourself a favor.

If this isn't your cup of tea, OK. No problem. Maybe Forever People will be your cup of tea. I'll catch you on the downside. No hard feelings.

Nrama: Let's get back to this idea of a parasite. The Flash and Firestorm died, and now they're back, so…

Giffen: Yeah, they're back, which means, "Oh my God! They did it again! "

Nrama: I liked how you messed with Flash's hair color. A bit of the bwa-ha-ha. But it's looking like they'll continue to create heroes, if not to create resurrect dead ones, then to create new ones.

Giffen: Pretty much so, yeah. Unless somebody stops them or changes the process.

You know, the perfect way to do it would be, I inject you with Wonder Woman DNA, you get her powers, but you're still Vaneta. That's what they were shooting for.

Credit: DC Comics

But unfortunately, so much knowledge and so much science was lost in the Great Disaster that, in a way, it's almost like giving a revolver to a chimpanzee - eventually, he'll figure out how to shoot it, but probably not what to shoot at.

So people have found out that I wasn't lying about the fact that I was going to be kind of deceptive early on, and now people can make their choice. But at least all the cloning talk will stop. I read the Spider-Clone Saga. I don't want my name attached to something like that.

Nrama: OK! OK! We get it — they aren't clones. Then to finish up, Keith, what can we look forward to in the coming issues? Now that we know the secret of their origin, are there more surprises around the corner?

Giffen: I will tell you one thing. In issue #8, the status quo of this book changes, and by issue #12, it won't be the same Justice League as you saw in Justice League 3000 #1.

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