Pandora may have been the woman who caused the New 52 universe to come into existence, but as writer Ray Fawkes ends her solo series over the next few months, he's hoping to bring some of the character's history full circle.
Fawkes, who launched the Trinity of Sin: Pandora series one year ago, will end her series after August's issue #13. But he said Pandora will be showing up in another DC series — something the publisher will be announcing "soon."
And by stating that he "hopes" readers want to keep reading about her — and that there's still time for her story to evolve — the writer sure made it seem like he might be involved in her future.
Since the Pandora character first showed up at DC, she's evolved quite a bit. First, she was some sort of all-powerful being who could form the New 52 universe, appearing in every #1 issue in September 2011. Then she was portrayed as the victim of a cruel sentence that punished her for opening a box.
But under Fawkes' pen, Pandora has been portrayed as a kick-ass female heroine who is loyal to her friends, but steadfast in her battle against evil. And most recently, she gained some new superpowers involving light and hope, as she teamed up with other supernatural characters during the Forever Evil: Blight crossover.
In June, the Pandora series showed yet another evolution of the character. Formerly immortal, it appears that she's now able to die, thanks to an attack from S.H.A.D.E. and Vandal Savage.
Is her immortality truly gone? And why is S.H.A.D.E. attacking her?
Readers will find out more in July's #12, which tells the history of her relationship with her recently killed friend Marcus, and August's #13, which features Andrew Bennett, better known as the title character in I, Vampire.
Currently co-writing Batman Eternal for DC, while also working as solo scribe on their Constantine and Pandora series, Fawkes is a Toronto-based artist and author who started working with DC after his breakout hit and Eisner-nominated book, One Soul.
As he ends Pandora in a couple more issues, Newsarama talked to Fawkes to find out more about Pandora's past, present and future, now that her solo series is ending.
Newsarama: Well, Ray, things aren't looking so good for Pandora at the end of this issue…Assuming she can find some way out of being killed, it seems like a real turning point for her as a character, not only because she's apparently mortal, but also because she's lost Marcus and is beginning a new career with this light-powered armor. Would you agree that the current circumstances serve as a turning point for the character?
Ray Fawkes: Yes, absolutely. What’s happening to her right now in Baltimore is one of the most critical moments in her existence. Now that her battle against the Sins appears to be over, she is in the process of redefining herself. Nothing’s ever as simple as it looks, and the simultaneous attacks by S.H.A.D.E. and Vandal Savage will inform her choices as much as every recent triumph and joy has.
Nrama: Looking back, it feels like this series started with Pandora on one mission, but switched quite a bit during the comic's tenure. Was that a case of you and the editors trying to find what worked?
Fawkes: It was a non-uncommon feature of serial storytelling. Often things don’t quite go as planned, for various reasons. There is a “how the sausage is made” aspect to this question, I’m afraid. Any detailed answer would either feel like information that has nothing to do with the actual experience of reading the book or like telling tales out of school. I’m not interested in doing either.
Nrama: These days, Pandora's got a new superpower. Can you explain your motivation and thoughts as you gave Pandora this power of light and hope, and how does it work?
Fawkes: I had always planned to depict Pandora accessing the powers of light and hope somewhere in the series — the myth of Pandora does, after all, claim that when she opened the box and the evils of the world escaped, only hope remained within — and the Forever Evil : Blight crossover event seemed like the perfect opportunity, since J.M. DeMatteis threw the lightning-bolt concept of a living avatar of Evil on the table.
When Pandora wants to, she can unfold her senses and perceive the amalgamated qualities that we define as “goodness” in all sentient creatures (so, altruism, honor, honesty, humility, courage, love, etc. etc.), and tapping into the presence of those qualities strengthens and armors her.
She is literally empowered by the goodness in all beings, when she wants to be — but opening her perceptions in that way also gives her insight into the goodness inherent in whatever she’s fighting.
Nrama: When you launched Pandora, she carried a little baggage because people identified her as the character who caused the New 52 universe to exist. You once told us that you weren't sure she remembered that — or if she was even the same character. Have you answered those questions — is this the same Pandora who created the New 52? And if so, does she remember it?
Fawkes: I haven’t answered those questions yet. If I get my way, I’ll get the chance before this series ends.
For now…let’s let her have a little bit of mystery. Her series has only been around for one year! I believe — and have always believed — that if readers don’t feel invested in Pandora herself, as a character, then revealing the truth behind these mysteries will be a real anti-climax. At best, curiosity would be satisfied, and people would shrug and move on. I don’t want readers to shrug. I want them to feel something.
Nrama: So as you finish the series, are you bringing any of that stuff from Pandora's past into the comic? Will any of it come full circle?
Nrama: How much were you able to wrap up Pandora's story by the time the series ends?
Fawkes: Pandora’s story isn’t ending just because the series is. I already know she’s going to be making her way into another series in the near future, and I have no doubt readers will be seeing her elsewhere in the DC Universe.
I believe I’m able to wrap up the story I wanted to tell with her — but I have no urge to wrap up her entire story… she’s here to stay.
Nrama: Issue #13 looks to be a flashback of sorts, although it seems to also further explain the character's connection to Marcus, who just died. What can you tell us about the issue?
Fawkes: Issue #13 will be about Pandora’s centuries-long relationship with Marcus’ soul, and about her dealings with Giganta and S.H.A.D.E. in the here-and-now.
Nrama: We'll see Andrew Bennett appear in Pandora #14, which is the series' final issue. What does he bring into Pandora's life?
Fawkes: Bloody violence, cruelty and excitement, and another unexpected twist in her evolution!
Nrama: Interesting. You mentioned that you know Pandora is "making her way into another series." So you know where she'll show up next in the DCU?
Fawkes: Yes, absolutely. But I don’t want to give it away. Look for her in an announcement soon.
Nrama: Looking back at your run and what you were able to accomplish, what do you hope readers take away from it?
Fawkes: I hope readers found her compelling as a character, and found that they began to care about her. She’s something very unusual in the New 52 — a brand new female hero, unapologetic, unwavering, and not in the least subordinate to any man. I hope readers like that about her, and want to see more.